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My Worries for Christmas Day as Someone With a Chronic Illness

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I was planning on taking a little writing break but I started musing about Christmas this morning and here we are again!

As Christmas fast approaches I imagine most of us in the chronic illness community are musing about what we want to realistically achieve over the next two weeks.

For those of us with chronic illness it can be an incredibly overwhelming time. Just trying to be happy for others, when your body is screaming at you, is enough to make you want to run and hide.

Even if, like me, you have a super quiet Christmas for two planned, there are still concerns. Will I be able to function on the day? Will I manage to stay out of hospital?

No amount of pacing or planning can ensure my body will do the right thing. I will pace though and my husband and I have removed all expectations. We will go with the flow and it doesn’t matter if it turns out to be a struggling day, does it? Does it?

Hmmm… let’s be honest… it does matter. I’d be kidding myself to say it doesn’t. It matters a lot to me. I want my husband and I to enjoy Christmas dinner at the very least. He sacrifices so much without any complaining so I want him to enjoy turkey with the trimmings.

I want to feel as pain-free as possible on the day so I can enjoy opening presents and chatting with family on the phone. I’d like the energy to look forward to phone calls.

I want to have some energy in reserve to really enjoy the Christmas DVD we’ve chosen to watch on Christmas night. I don’t want to be wishing it would be over because I can’t find a comfortable position for my broken bones.

Then there are the things I miss. I miss not being able to travel to see my family for Christmas. They are so close but so far and that’s really hard. I miss not getting to a Carol Service and Christmas Eve/Day Church Service. I miss not being able to go to large shopping malls and enjoy the Christmas atmosphere.

Even for those of us who don’t have mental illness, the lead-up to Christmas can be a melancholy time. It’s important to acknowledge all those feelings. They are real, important and very, very normal for those with chronic illness.

If you are feeling a little melancholy… you are not alone. My hope and prayer for us all is that whether surrounded by loved ones or home alone, we will have a merry little “chronic” Christmas Day, no matter what that may look like.

Follow Sam on her Facebook support forum, Medical Musings with Friends.

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Photo via Tom Merton on Getty Images

Originally published: December 11, 2017
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