Unless you are able to control the weather or have a crystal ball that informs you of when your chronic illnesses will flare, there is no way to know how you will feel one day to the next. If you are someone who bases their happiness on being able to do what you want, an unexpected flare will darken your memories and make you feel worthless. However, it is possible to experience a flare, have nothing go as planned, and still feel emotionally pleased with how it played out. I had grand plans for this past Thanksgiving weekend and very little went as planned. Yet, I still dominated it and here is how:
First up on my agenda was to spend Thanksgiving day at Disneyland with my family. Spending the holiday in the park has become a tradition because it is really the easiest for me, no matter how I physically feel. I don’t have to partake in small talk if I don’t want to. There’s no need to wear myself down with pre-dinner cooking or cleaning and I am able to keep my pain level down while my family pushes my wheelchair around the parks. Since my muscle injury has been recovering quite nicely, I figured I would reward myself for staying off of the rides for the past few months and allow myself to go on a couple of slow and mild attractions. I planned and prepared with my chronic illnesses in mind, but nothing could have prepared my body for the beating it was about to receive from an unexpected heatwave.
We hit the peak of the heatwave on Thanksgiving day. The night prior my muscles began rebelling and I experienced muscle spasms like I hadn’t in quite a while. On Thanksgiving morning I awoke to a body that felt as stiff as a board. I could visibly see the spasms and tremors taking place throughout my legs and arms. In addition, I felt like two rods had been inserted into my neck on either side. I couldn’t turn my head without excruciating pain. Armed with my chronic care bag filled with items to address my pain, I forged on determined not to allow Mother Nature ruin my holiday.
My day was spent caring for my body while waiting for my family as they went on their favorite rides. Even though it was 93 degrees, I placed a heat wrap on my lower back to keep those muscles relaxed. My goal for the day shifted from going on one or two rides, to relaxing my neck muscles and reducing the pain from it. I combatted this pain with a combination of applying CBD oil and running PEMF treatments with my Oska Pulse. Although I wasn’t able to go on any rides, I was able to take a short stroll throughout the Redwood Creek Challenge in California Adventure and I enjoyed the holiday décor and music throughout both parks. The best part of my day was going home in less pain than what I was experiencing in the morning.
I was thrilled to wake up Friday morning without a trace of pain in my neck and thought that there may be hope of being able to keep the rest of my weekend plans. However, a head full of snot had other plans. Past experience has taught me that if I push myself when I am sick, even if only with a basic head cold without fever or infection, I will run myself down and end up even sicker. Friday was spent in bed with hopes of feeling well enough to keep my plans to check out the Festival of Trees in Riverside on Saturday. Those plans had to be cancelled. Even though I had less drainage than the day before, I couldn’t stand or sit without feeling dizzy.
Dominating our chronic lives is not about doing everything we want, it’s about being pleased and finding joy in what we could do. My holiday wasn’t a failure or a bust. I was able to continue my Thanksgiving day tradition, I just didn’t do all of the things that I used to or wanted to. Having to cancel the rest of my weekend’s plans didn’t mean that my illnesses won and I lost. I dominated it by caring for my body. If I had chosen to push through I would have ended up sicker which would have guaranteed that I would be stuck in bed for the rest of the holiday season. Missing one weekend’s events isn’t the worst thing to happen, spending it in the hospital because I chose to fight my body would. It is now Sunday afternoon, I am not fully back to where I was prior to the heat related flare and cold, but I am much stronger and on the mend.
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