A Chronic Illness Christmas

A Chronic illness christmas

Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the house, not a creature was stirring…except for me, at 2am, realizing that something I ate on Christmas Eve had caused a flare up.

My second this month.

Every time I tried to fall back asleep it would only be minutes before my gut would wake me up again. I had finally gotten comfortable enough to go back to sleep around 7am when my family decided it was time to wake up for presents, and then we could go about our business.

This was the first time I had a moderate flare up at home and my parents saw first hand what I looked like when my digestive system decided it was time for a revolution. It mainly looked like an ashen face, nausea, and sleeping through Heidi, The Bishop’s Wife, and Christmas in Conneticut. Christmas breakfast was a homemade popover eaten over the span of 6 hours, a bottle of Gatorade and some tortilla chips, and dinner was Hawaiian rolls and more tortilla chips. With another Gatorade to wash it down. (Hydration is important, y’all)

If you follow my Instagram you might have noticed I get sick a lot. Weirdly enough, this is a new thing for me. I have never gotten sick this often, it was only recently that it’s started to happen a few months apart (and in this past month’s case, a week and a half). I’ve tried to be careful with what I eat, eating low FODMAP and avoiding trigger foods (one of which is, unfortunately, hummus… :c). Unfortunately, it looks like I need to limit alcohol even more than I already do, and really watch my sugar intake.

People who have chronic illnesses apparent since childhood probably know all of what I’m feeling right now. Maybe they’re saying, ‘welcome to the club, suck it up’, or they’re nodding and saying ‘yep, I’ve been there, friend’. This isn’t my first Christmas affected by GI issues, but it was the one that really sent me over the top in the fatigue department.

I don’t know if it’s denial, or maybe just forgetfulness, that caused the flare up I had on Christmas. All I know is that there were a lot of tears shed, guilt felt as I had to sleep while my family ate Christmas dinner, and a lot of the pity party ‘I’m so sick of being sick’ feelings that I’m sure many people aren’t strangers to.

This being my second flare up in a month, it might be time to seek out opinions from medical professionals, and by being open about it here I’m really hoping to help you guys feel less alone and maybe seek out professional opinions of your own.

Christmas can already be a major source of stress for people who have issues with family, or no family to go home to at all. I can only imagine what it must be like to have a chronic illness and that kind of stress combined, considering stress can be a major trigger for chronic illnesses. The best thing you and I can do, beans, is working to reduce stress with exercise, mindfulness, and in some cases avoiding the things that cause you stress. Taking care of yourself should always be a top priority, even during the holidays. Remember, you need to look after yourself just as much as you should look after others.

Overall, looking past the disease, it was a beautiful Christmas. I went to Church for the first time in a very long time, and was lucky to give and receive lovely gifts and spend time with my family. Molly enjoyed having a cuddle buddy all day, especially since I was wrapped up in blankets trying to keep warm.

I hope you all had a Merry Christmas and I’ll look forward to hearing all about your New Year’s!

Let me know your favorite part about your holiday via Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook!