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Tag Archives: christmas

I made it thru the holidays without catching this common disease

 

 

 

 

 

 

It isn’t unusual for people (healthy or chronically ill) to push themselves to do more than they normally would throughout the holiday season. For those battling a chronic illness and living with chronic pain, this season is often filled with anxiety and disappointment. Our need to please everyone or to accept and attend every invitation becomes a form of self sabotage. No matter how well we looked after our health the rest of the year, many of us come down with a case of holiday amnesia.

*Disclosure: This post includes affiliate links. Meaning that at no additional cost to you, I receive a commission when you make a purchase through my links. The proceeds earned fund the giveaways I host in my Facebook Groups.

Spending time with my family was more important than decorating my home this year.

What’s holiday amnesia?

It’s a sickness that fools us into thinking we can do everything we did before becoming chronically ill and then some! It deceives us into believing that we are worthless if we’re unable to fulfill our unrealistic expectations.

Holiday amnesia could have stolen moments like this……

Vaccinating myself

You may remember a few years back when I began protecting myself from this disease by declaring it the year of Christmas. It was great! The plan was to leave all my decorations, including the tree, up through the following Christmas. The point was to not feel rushed or to have to give up outings in order to decorate when the season began. And it worked so well, that I did it for a few years!

All decor had to be put away when we moved in 2017. Not wanting to lose time or energy that Christmas, I only put out our tree and quickly put it away afterwards.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This year I had planned on doing the same, but……. So this year I caught me a nasty case of bronchitis on Thanksgiving. I didn’t start feeling human or like I should even be around people until the 15th! I still haven’t fully healed, but I’m getting closer. With so much planned around Christmas itself I had a choice to make: decorate and risk canceling plans like I did earlier in the month or don’t.

I chose to NOT decorate this year. To be honest it didn’t really bother me. Why? Well, spending time at not one, but two theme parks that were in full Christmas mode helped. Spending Christmas day at Disneyland was another factor.

I take that back…. I did put this out to serve as our Christmas tree this year.

Which brings me to today……

Today, the day after Christmas will be spent getting ready to continue celebrating with friends and family until the new year. I don’t have to worry about taking down my tree or decorations or if doing so will result in having to cancel plans.  I have not turned into Scrooge nor have I lost my Christmas spirit, all I did was get real about what was important and trust me decorations are NOT the reason for the season…….

Hubby and I relaxing after a fun filled day at Disneyland.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Will I do this again? I can’t say no, but I will try not to repeat it. My plan for Christmas 2019 is to decorate in September or October.

Did you catch holiday amnesia? If you did, relax and think about what you can do differently next year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Six Ways to Dominate Christmas With a Chronic Illness

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For many years I dreaded Christmas.  It wasn’t  that I hated the holiday, but that I loathed how physically draining keeping up with traditions and extra commitments were.  Thankfully I was able to rekindle my love for Christmas a few years ago by making some changes.  Fall back in love with the season and dominate your holiday by following these tips!

Disclosure: I am NOT a medical professional and I am not issuing medical advice. This post contains some affiliate links. Meaning that, at no additional cost to you, I earn a commission from sales. The proceeds offset the expense of operating this site and fund the giveaways for my Facebook groups.

1. Make New Memories

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Are you wearing yourself out trying to recreate past Christmas memories?  Do you exhaust yourself trying to decorate, bake, and entertain like you did in the past?  That’s exactly what I did before accepting that my chronic illnesses had changed my life.  It was unfair to expect myself to be able to keep up with the pace that I had in the past.  To reclaim the holiday I zeroed in on which traditions were the most important for me to keep. Later I incorporated new activities that better fit into my chronic life.  Letting go of Christmas past isn’t a form of giving up.  Instead it is a sign that you have accepted that life has changed and so have you.  Embrace your memories and never give up on creating new ones!

2. Limit Commitments

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Are you feeling overwhelmed by the amount of invitations you are receiving for holiday parties or activities?  The key to dominating the Christmas season is to limit your commitments.  I know you want to do everything and attend every gathering, but you need to be realistic.  If your chronic illness hasn’t allowed you to take part in one or more events per month, you are deluding yourself if you think you will be able to do more than that during the holidays.  The first reason is that if your illness isn’t fond of colder weather you will be feeling worse than you did during the summer months.  Secondly, the Christmas season involves more than gathering with friends and family.  There’s shopping, baking, and decorating that also needs to be done.  Keep your illness and limitations in mind when accepting invitations.  Give yourself time to rest beforehand and afterwards.  Do what you can and enjoy the heck out of every moment!

3. Watch What You Eat and Drink

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Think twice before indulging in holiday foods or beverages.  Your favorite treats could steal your  joy faster than the Grinch stole Christmas from the Whoville! Most holiday menus include sugary and fatty foods.  I won’t tell you to replace your favorite pie with a bowl of salad, but instead I suggest that you limit how much you eat.  Alcohol is often a trigger for many chronic illnesses, so be careful to not to get caught up in the spirit of the season.  If you find yourself giving into temptation, try only allowing yourself a few bites or sips. While not all flares are avoidable, there is no reason to suffer from one triggered by food unless you are willing to pay the price.

4. Shop Online

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Why waste precious energy by standing in long lines or driving all over town when you could order your gifts online?  Give yourself the gift of more stamina by paying a few extra dollars to have your presents wrapped and/or shipped directly to the recipient.  Wouldn’t you rather use the time and energy spent wrapping presents, or going to stores and the post office celebrating with friends and family?

5. Less Is More

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My family used to compare me to Clark Griswold from National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.  There wasn’t one inch of my home, inside or out, that wasn’t decorated.  While I am no longer a contender for winning most decorated home anymore, I do have more time and energy to do other things that I want.  If decking the halls like you used to do is inflicting unnecessary pain, it’s time to cut back.  Limit how much you put up by choosing your favorite decorations and don’t forget, what goes up must come down!

6. Take Care Of Yourself

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It is not uncommon to spend an extraordinary amount of time trying to make the holidays special for our friends and family that we forget to care for ourselves.  Listen to your body and take time to rest when your body demands it, pace yourself, eat healthy, exercise, and enjoy the simple things.  You’ll surely spend Christmas day in bed if you forget to take care of yourself.

This year’s Christmas may not be like last years or the year before, but that won’t make it any less festive or special.  Embrace what you can do and let go of what you can’t.

My new eBook Make Pain Your Bitch: How to Dominate Your Chronic Life will help you dominate your entire life, not just one season! Order your copy today!

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The holidays can be an emotionally trying time for some.  If you are struggling, but don’t have time to see a therapist check out OnlineTherapy.com.  Their qualified therapists are there for you everyday, not just once or twice a week!

Give yourself and the one’s that you love the gift of drug free pain relief from Oska Pulse.  Click here to learn more and use promo code DIVA to save $55.

Join Spoon Rest, a Facebook group for the chronically ill dedicated to empowering and supporting each other while sharing a laugh.

Join The Disabled Diva’s Alternative Chronic Pain Fighting Forum, a Facebook group for those who are seeking information or already treating their chronic pain with alternative treatments.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dominate the Holidays with These Energy Saving Gift Ideas

Having one or more chronic illnesses and getting through the holiday season can feel like a recipe for disaster.  However, with a little planning and creativity, we can get through it without pushing ourselves too far.  Here are a few gift ideas that your friends, family, and body will love!

*This post contains affiliate links

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1. Gift Cards

Gift cards make fantastic gifts when your energy level is non-existent.  Many can be purchased and delivered online, which will save you from having to go out to purchase or send them.  You can also take your gift up a notch by going to stores that you were already going to be going to for your basic needs.  For example, for a Pizza Hut Gift Card, you could purchase napkins and paper plates with holiday prints.  Boost your gift of a Red Box code by placing it along with popcorn, flavored seasonings, and candy into a large plastic bowl.

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This idea won’t only save you energy during the holidays, but it will also save you money! Give coupons to your friends and family that offer a service like house, pet, or baby sitting! Personally I wouldn’t offer baby sitting as that would be more exhausting than purchasing a gift, but if that is something you would like to do go for it!! These gifts are far more valuable than you might realize.  Watching and caring for a friend’s house and/or pet while they are on vacation saves them a large chunk of change and puts their mind to ease knowing someone who cares for them is on the job.

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3. Host a DIY decorating party

Give the gift of a handmade ornament or a gingerbread house.  But instead of you making the gifts, host a party and have your friends create their own masterpieces! There are a slew of gingerbread decorating kits on Amazon to make prepping easy. For ornaments you may want to purchase kits that have everything you need to make a particular ornament or a bunch of different items to give your guests options.

Whatever gifts you choose to give, remember that wearing yourself down to the point of not being able to function is not what the season is about.  Be good to yourself as well as those you love!

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Wishing you and yours and Merry Christmas and Happy Holiday season!

The Disabled Diva

Never miss a post! Subscribe to my email list.
The holidays can be an emotionally trying time for some.  If you are struggling, but don’t have time to see a therapist check out OnlineTherapy.com.  Their qualified therapists are there for you every day, not just once or twice a week!
Give yourself and the one’s that you love the gift of drug free pain relief from Oska Pulse.  Click here to learn more and use promo code DIVA to save $55.
Join Spoon Rest, a Facebook group for the chronically ill dedicated to empowering and supporting each other while sharing a laugh.
Join The Disabled Diva’s Alternative Chronic Pain Fighting Forum, a Facebook group for those who are seeking information or already treating their chronic pain with alternative treatments.

My eBook

Make Pain Your Bitch: How to Dominate Your Chronic Life

will help you dominate your entire life, not just one season!

Order your copy today!

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‘Tis the Season to Thrive

Click here to order your copy today!

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Disclosure: This post contains and is supported by affiliate links

So many articles about the holidays talk about surviving the holidays. My wish for you (and myself) is thriving, not just surviving, throughout the holiday season. The holidays create perfect conditions for a craptastic shitstorm of awfulness. Tight budgets, family gatherings, loneliness, stress, cold weather, shorter days, sicknesses, traffic, sweet treats and rich foods everywhere…. Fear not! We hold a lot of power in our choices; we can avoid much of this awfulness!

A definite way to avoid some of those “holiday blahs” is sticking to your normal routine for balanced nutrition and regular exercise. This is especially important if you have a chronic illness that flares due to inactivity or overindulging. Limiting your intake of sugar, simple carbs, and alcohol will help tremendously, but also pay special attention to foods that you know make you feel bad. Limit your portion size of those things, or skip them altogether! Having a second piece of your aunt’s pecan pie when you know that your body doesn’t like the ingredients is just not worth it. Have a reasonable serving, and then you can look forward to having it again next year.

If you know that your body will regret sitting in a lump at your holiday gatherings, have a plan to stay in motion. Playing an active game, a short family walk, or even just setting a timer so that you get up and walk occasionally will make a difference. I know your schedule is packed, but do everything you can throughout the holiday season to carve out time for self-care in the form of movement for your body. A brief walk to start your morning, yoga at lunch, or a trip to the gym after work will pay dividends during this crazy season due to exercise’s positive impact on our psyche and immune system.

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Speaking of our psyche, are the holidays are hard for you emotionally? I get stressed and anxious thinking of everything that needs to be done, money, and obligations. It’s also a busy time of year due to my husband’s work schedule. Want to know a secret? I used to HATE Christmas and other holidays. I still struggle with this and am working on it as I create new memories with my kids. Growing up in the family that I did, holidays, especially Christmas, were bittersweet. Holidays meant extra yelling and shaming. It meant pretending to be a happy, normal family at church and family gatherings. There are some Christmas songs that I still can’t listen to and holidays foods that I can’t make or even see without feeling sick and anxious. Perhaps you still have difficult family members in your life that make the holidays less-than-joyful. Choose how you budget your emotional energy. Maybe this means declining an invite or coming up with a plan to limit how long you are around them. You have the right to set boundaries to preserve your emotional health!

Do you always feel bluer than normal around the holidays, no matter how good things are going? It might be SAD—Seasonal Affective Disorder, also called seasonal depression. There are many ways you can ease the symptoms, including light therapy, herbal products, medication, exercise, and vitamin D supplements.

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Lastly, don’t fixate on what you can’t do. Embrace the joy you can choose to find in what you CAN do. Comparing yourself to others (even if that “other person” is a past version of yourself) will only put you in a funk. Be proud of what you can do in spite of your challenges. Things don’t have to be perfect to be good. You don’t have to make a fancy meal, have your house decked out with decorations, go to every event, or bake cookies for everyone. Do what you can with what you have. I wish you a joyful holiday season in which you THRIVE!

Click here to read more from Donna

Cynthia’s new eBook Make Pain Your Bitch: How to Dominate Your Chronic Life will help you dominate your entire life, not just one season! When you purchase via the link on this page you get my exclusive price of only $5 !  Click here to order your copy today!

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Never miss a post! Subscribe to our email list.

Give yourself and the one’s that you love the gift of drug free pain relief from Oska Pulse.  Click here to learn more and use promo code DIVA to save $55.
Join Spoon Rest, a Facebook group for the chronically ill dedicated to empowering and supporting each other while sharing a laugh.
Join The Disabled Diva’s Alternative Chronic Pain Fighting Forum, a Facebook group for those who are seeking information or already treating their chronic pain with alternative treatments.

How to Have a Chronically Cheery Holiday Season

How to Have a Chronically Cheery Holiday Season

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Once upon a time there was a chronically ill woman who struggled to smile or find joy during the holiday season.  Each year she wished to be healed.  Instead of enjoying the merriment of the season, she was only able to focus on all the things that she wasn’t able to do.  The sadness and frustration of not being able to keep up the pace she had prior to becoming ill consumed.  Her storm cloud of despair was always looming over her head. She was always on the verge of tears, even when she was able to partake in a favorite holiday festivity.

Then a few years ago she realized that if she didn’t redirect her focus or stop trying to recreate the holiday to be what it used to be, she would never enjoy the season.  Instead of counting all the festivities that she wasn’t able to participate in, she focused on what she was able to do.  She limited the amount of commitments she made.  She stopped feeling guilty for having to cancel plans whenever her body forced her to stay in bed.  Most importantly she learned to find joy in the simple moments of the season.  Instead of fretting over not having the strength to bake cookies from scratch with her daughter, she discovered that making them from a mix or picking out a tray of cookies from a bakery could be just as much fun if she allowed it to be. 

Are you keeping a scorecard or are you accepting each moment for what it is?  Are the memories of how things used to be keeping you from making new memories?  My Christmas wish for you is that you are able to let go of the past and embrace the present.  How will you remember this holiday season?

Check out my eBook: Make Pain Your Bitch: How to Dominate Your Chronic Life

Want to know the secret to why I love waking up each morning? It has everything to do with my pain management plan. Click here to check it out!

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The Year of Christmas

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**UPDATE**

October, 31, 2016

While my friends and family are stressing over trying to figure out when they are going to have either or both the time or energy to put up their trees and decorate for Christmas, I am relaxed and ready to partake in loads of holiday fun!  The year of Christmas has turned into the years of Christmas and don’t be surprised if it turns into the Decade of Christmas.  It truly doesn’t bother me to have Christmas decorations and my tree up all the time.  The only downside is that every picture taken inside out home looks like it was taken at Christmas, which makes figuring out exactly when something took place a little difficult if I don’t label and date photo folders.  However, that takes a lot less energy than putting up and taking down my holiday décor each year.  In addition to being sicker than I have ever been at the beginning of the holiday season, I also have many outings planned for the month of November.  There is no way that I would be physically able to decorate my home at the end of the month even if I forgo all my outings.  Instead, year round Christmas is allowing me to enjoy the company of friends and family and to soak up as much holiday joy from Disneyland as I want without worrying about the additional pain that will occur.

What are some things you do or no longer do to save your energy and sanity during the holiday season?

*****Update*****

November 10, 2015

For all those people who laughed when I shared that I would not be taking down my Christmas tree or décor for the year, guess who is laughing now??!!!  ME!! I am grinning ear to ear because I don’t have to find the energy or waste my precious energy to decorate my house.  In the past I would typically wait for a burst of energy to hit in between Halloween and Thanksgiving to prepare my home for Christmas.  No matter what, I would always be exhausted afterwards and/or have to sacrifice other activities  since decorating my home would leave physically wiped out for days or weeks.  But NOT this year!!!!  My house is ready and so am I! There will be no canceling of any plans this holiday season due decorating exhaustion!!!

I have to admit, I was worried that I would get sick of seeing my Christmas tree and décor year round.  However that was never an issue.  Other than scooting my tree from the living room to the dining room, all other décor remained in their places.  In September I rearranged my living room furniture and returned the tree to this room as it would no longer block the window that it did before.  Through out the year I would occasionally turn on the twinkling lights, but for the most part I really didn’t pay much attention to my décor.  One reason is that unlike my full house transformations of Christmases past, my décor is more minimalistic.  Another reason is because I spend most of my time at home in my bedroom as it provides my body with the most comfort.  And finally because I spend most of my “good” days away from home, I never became sick of seeing my holiday decorations.

The thing that surprised me the most was that not one person that came into my home outside of the Christmas season had anything negative to say.  In fact it usually brought a smile to their faces! And who cares if the teased about it after they left, doesn’t bother me.

On New Year’s day the year of Christmas will be coming to an end.  Then I have a decision to make….. Take it down and go back to worrying about decorating next fall or let Christmas continue for another year….. I have hinted to my family that I am considering turning this into the Decade of Christmas! Believe it or not, they are on board!!!!  Maybe I’ll unpack more décor and expand the presence of Christmas throughout my home….  We shall see…..   All I know is that I have no regrets! I avoided two instances of being physically worn out for days and weeks by not taking it down and not having to put it back up!

Maybe you are not ready for a year long Christmas, but there is something that everyone can learn from mine.  And that is to not worry about living like everybody else! There is no law stating that you have to have the inside of your home decorated or undecorated by any date.  Give your body a break and do what is best for you!  Maybe that means not decorating at all.  Only you can decide.  Chronic illnesses cause so much havoc in our lives, so why would we want to add to the number of days down when we don’t have to.

Wishing you all a Christmas filled with smiles and gentle hugs,

The Disabled Diva

***Previous Update***

My household unanimously voted that this would indeed be the Year of Christmas.  Today, April 7, 2015 marks the longest amount of time that I have ever left my Christmas tree and décor up.  So far we have celebrated New Years, my daughter’s birthday, Valentine’s Day, and Easter with twinkling lights and Christmas décor.  The funny thing is that I am still not sick of seeing my tree or decorations!!  In fact I find that I am enjoying them more and more as each day and month passes!!!!  I did make one change.  When the weather warmed up I needed to scoot my tree away from the window that I love to have open when the temps are beautiful.  My tree was making it difficult to open the window so I pushed it into our dining area.  Because I have a great room where the living, dining and kitchen are all visible to each other my tree is still visible no matter where I am sitting. And do you know what I am looking forward to the most?  Not having to put my body through the pain of decorating for Christmas as we near Thanksgiving!  Knowing that I won’t be knocked down for days or weeks from decorating I have already started making plans that I would not normally have the energy for if I had to overhaul my home for the holiday.  Instead of dreading November and December, I am looking forward to spending Thanksgiving day at Disneyland as well as spending an entire week there with my best friend and her family in December.  So far this has been one of my best years ever, and I feel confident in believing that this year’s holiday season will be the best ever as well!  Be sure to check back later as I will update you through the year on how the Year of Christmas is going and whether or not I want to set fire to my Christmas tree!****

Original post:

Many years ago I would transform my home from one holiday to the next in a calculated and timely manner.  As pain took over my body the set transformation dates as well as the transformations stopped.  For the past five years I have only decorated for Christmas.  I have also teased that some year I am just going to leave Christmas up for the entire year.

Well, I think this may be the year.  So far the longest I have ever left my Christmas tree up for was until Valentines Day.  I had had surgery right after Christmas and was not up to the task until then.  Most years I am ready to take the tree down before New Years Day.  But not this year.  In fact, my wanting to keep the tree up has nothing to do with how I am physically feeling.  You see, this Christmas season was the first in many, many years that I wasn’t confined to my bed or couch.  I was on the go and when I wasn’t I was resting in bed.  I didn’t really have a chance to just relax and enjoy looking at the twinkling lights and ornaments.

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It may sound silly, but this was the first week that I have really taken the time to sit and enjoy the beauty of my tree since I put it up in November.  I once knew a lady that would just slide her fully decorated tree into her guest room so she didn’t have to mess with taking it down and putting it up each year.  I don’t have a guest room, so unless I move it to my bedroom…….  Hmmmm now that is an idea!!!!  I wonder if I could sell my husband on this……

Anyways, does it really matter when or if I take my tree down?  NO!  Don’t let the stress of worrying about what others will think keep you from enjoying your good days!

May your days be filled with twinkling lights and gentle hugs,

The Disabled Diva

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Just in time for Christmas

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Wouldn’t it be great if we knew when a flare was going to hit and how long it was going to last?  But that’s not the reality that my chronically ill friends and I live with. As I write this we are 11 days from Christmas and my spine is throbbing with pain. I should be stressed out that I’ve yet to go Christmas shopping, haven’t done any baking, or written any Christmas cards, but I’m not. In a way its become my new normal. I can’t and won’t let it get me down because I was fortunate to have two months with relatively low pain levels.
During those months I enjoyed a total of eight days at Disneyland with friends and family, had a lovely Thanksgiving day with friends, and was able to drive myself to the store way more than usual.  Because I know my best friend will be reading this I want to be clear that the return of my severe spine pain has nothing to do with the time we spent together. In fact it is just the nature of the beast. Every now and then I am blessed with a reprieve of the constant throbbing bone pain. This reprieve can last from as little as a few days or as long as a few months. The same time table goes for the pain itself with the exception of its length, it can last as long as nine months. In the beginning I believed that there was something I could do to keep it low or away. Well I was wrong.
So here it is and as usual I have no idea how long it will last. It’s time to switch gears and to start delegating the important tasks. Christmas cards will most likely not be going out this year. My Prince Charming will have to take care of buying the gifts. And my princess will be in charge of baking.
I want to be clear about my expectations…. I don’t expect my husband to shop like I do, many will be receiving gift cards. As for the baking I don’t care about family favorites, whatever my daughter chooses to make us is fine with me.
Thankfully we decorated the inside of the house early and I don’t really care how long into the new year it stays up.
I may have to cancel some of the commitments that I have coming up, but this is nothing new.
I will have a fabulous Christmas regardless of what gets done. I may have no control over when a flare up hits or how long it lasts but I do have the choice of how it affects my attitude.

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This holiday season it is my wish that your pain doesn’t take away your joy.

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Gentle hugs,
The Disabled Diva

 

 

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