Yesterday I returned home after spending five days at Disneyland. This was a big deal for me as I haven’t spent five consecutive days in the park since 2009! Since then my longest stretch in the park has been three days. Typically I go for a day and occasionally two in a row. As this trip approached I was anxious, wondering if my body would be able to handle a full week of being beat up from rides. However I wasn’t about to let my fear stop me from trying.
I had a rough weekend prior to starting this stay. Although I was excited about meeting up with my best friend and her family at the hotel on Sunday night, I was also ready to climb into bed. As always before a first day in the park, I hardly slept a wink. Ever since my first visit in 1984, I have never been able to sleep that first night. Even now that I live nearby and have an annual pass, the excitement of knowing I am going continues to prevent me from sleeping that first night. Sometimes I wish I could sleep, but then I think how sad it will be if that magical excitement ever went away. That night the only person that had a good night’s sleep was the four year old in our group! Monday morning everyone except my friend’s grandson, felt like zombies. However we had a great morning in the park. By lunchtime I felt myself fading. I had a choice to make, go back to the room to rest or push myself. If I had chosen to push myself, I risked not being able to enjoy the rest of the week, so with it being our first day I decided to go back to the hotel. Thankfully I made the right decision. By resting Monday afternoon I was more than ready to hit the parks and rides full force on Tuesday morning.
Tuesday was spent going on one fast ride after another! Later in the afternoon, my friend expressed concern that I was pushing myself too far. I assured her that I knew the consequences and that because her and I had planned to sit on Main Street for most of Wednesday to hold spots for our families to watch the Christmas Parade, Paint the Night, and the Fireworks, I would be okay. That evening I fell fast asleep.
I went on a few rides Wednesday morning, then after lunch my friend and I spend the rest of the day camping out on Main Street. I finally called it a night approx. an hour before Paint The Night. I was physically beat, cold, and tired. I would have powered through if it weren’t for the fact that I had already seen it several times. Because we had so many in our group, there were enough people to take turns to keep my friend company while holding the viewing spot. However I wasn’t the only one who didn’t make it through the all the shows, my friend, her husband, and grandson also returned to the hotel before Paint the Night.
On Thursday we were treated to lower crowds and I was feeling better than I had in the days prior. We rode more rides in that one day than I have ever done in one day in the past. Friday morning was just as lovely! However by 3pm that day, the crowds became extremely heavy and my pain level had escalated. At this point I knew I was done, so I headed back to the hotel. By 7pm a few more members of our party joined me and by 8pm we were all enjoying dinner together.
I don’t normally push my body like this as I know that the downtime needed to recover will be lengthy. However, sometimes it is worth it and this was one of those moments. My best friend lives in another state and although we text daily and talk on the phone weekly, we typically only physically see each other once or twice a year. I also went on a ride that I normally avoid because of the increased pain it causes. While I enjoy Goofy’s Sky School, this ride hurts my body. I rode this to prove to my friend that if she could handle that ride, she would love California Screaming. Well, she still wasn’t convinced and I am still suffering from the additional pain. This ride displaced something in my lower back and hip, making it impossible to put pressure on my right leg. I am hoping that a few days of rest, ice, heat and massage, will help put everything back into place.
While I couldn’t convince my friend to ride California Screaming, I did persuade her to face her fears by getting her to go on Mickey’s Fun Wheel. I am so proud of her! I know she is terrified of Ferris wheels, but she tried it!!! Will she go on it again? NO. And that’s okay, I am just so proud of her for giving it a try. Next year it will be my mission to get her on California Screaming. For anyone who fears this roller coaster I would like to put your mind at ease. California Screaming is a much smoother ride than Space Mountain, Thunder Mountain, The Matterhorn, or Goofy’s Sky School. To be honest it was fear of the loop that had kept me from enjoying this attraction for so many years, but I find that by keeping my eyes closed it doesn’t bother me.
My best friend wasn’t the only one to face fears this past week. Everyone in our party tried rides that they feared and afterwards most declared those rides to be their favorites.
In the past I used to allow my chronic pain and the fear of the pain that would follow pushing limits to keep me from enjoying life. Over time I have learned to accept that there will always be a physical price for everything I do. I know that pushing myself on a daily basis often will result in months of being bed ridden and going no where. With that in mind I pick and choose when and where I will push myself, knowing and accepting that there will be additional pain afterwards. Today, two days post trip, I am in bed with additional muscle pain, especially in my calves since I use my legs instead of my arms to brace myself on fast rides, but I am smiling because the memories of the days prior were totally worth pushing past my limits.
So this holiday season do yourself a favor, recognize your limits and be choosy when deciding when to push them, accept the downtime that will follow, and cherish the memories made!
Wishing you a day filled with Pixie Dust and gentle hugs,
Tagged: arthritis, California, California Adventure, chronic illness, chronic pain, degenerative disc disease, Disneyland, facing fears, fibro, fibromyalgia, invisible disabilities, mental-health, MS, pain pals, psoriatic arthritis, pushing limits, roller coaster, spoonie, spoonies, vacation, wheelchair