Tag Archives: planning

How to plan the best summer vacation despite your chronic illness

How to plan the best summer vacation despite your chronic illness









Does the thought of taking a summer vacation get you excited or does it send chills down your spine?  I loved traveling before I became chronically ill.  In addition to yearly Disneyland vacations, I loved exploring new areas in other states or within the ones that I lived in.  Weekend road trips without a destination were my favorites.

Soon after chronic pain became a part of my daily life I began to loathe traveling. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to go exploring, instead it became too painful. Not only did my excursions increase my pain while away, it would take weeks and sometimes months to recover from them once I returned home. Not wanting to spend most of my time recovering I opted to stop traveling.

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Weekly Recap 1/5/2019






Weekly recap:

Say Goodbye to 2018
My New Year’s Wish For You!
Quit or Modify? The Choice is Yours!
Two Things You Must Know About Planning
The Disabled Diva’s Winter Workout Challenge












Two Things You Must Know About Planning








Whether you have a chronic illness or not, life requires planning.  Without it all we are doing is sitting on our thumbs waiting for life to happen.  While spontaneity can be fun, it won’t help you succeed.  Speaking of succeeding, did you know that planning can help you succeed in your personal and professional life, even if you have a chronic illness like fibromyalgia or psoriatic arthritis.  To help you succeed, here are two very important things you must know about planning:

Number One: Planning can make you more reliable

This is a biggie for those of us diagnosed with a chronic disease.  Autoimmune diseases and other unpredictable illnesses are monsters that have the capability of turning the most reliable person into a complete flake.  Before becoming chronically ill, I rarely cancelled anything I committed to.  That all changed after my third chronic diagnosis.  One of the reasons I became the cancellation queen was because I was filling my calendar the way I did before becoming sick.  Another reasons is that I just said yes to everything without considering if I would have enough time or energy to actually follow through.

*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.

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I resolved this issue with careful planning.  It took a few years of trial and error, mainly because I still had to come to terms with the fact that living with multiple chronic illnesses would never be the same as the life I had before, but I finally found my groove.  What I mean by that is by following the advice in my eBook Make Pain Your Bitch: How to Dominate Your Chronic Life, I was able to plan with my symptoms and pain in mind.  For example, after living with my illnesses for as long as I had, I knew approximately how much time I needed to recover after a big outing.  I also knew that planning anything to close to that event would not end well.  So to ensure that I could attend, well as much as I could as we all know that most autoimmune diseases, chronic illnesses, and cancers can have a mind of their own, I blocked out a few days (more if I wasn’t feeling as well as I’d prefer) before the event and then anywhere from 2-7 days following the event to recover.  By doing this, I was able to plan smarter and could even explain to someone why I was declining their invite.


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Number Two: Plans change!

Yep, that’s right, our health status and pain levels aren’t the only things that can change without warning, our plans can too.  With that in mind, I always makes plans that include backup plans! I began this practice after I started blocking out dates on my calendar, because I became frustrated that my plans went up in smoke after I took the time to rest beforehand.  Sometimes my backup plans are actual plans. For example, if dinner plans with friends didn’t pan out, I have plans to still go out either by myself, with my husband or children, or someone from the original plans if anyone is still available.


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By allowing enough time to prepare my body for an outing and to recover from one, I also free myself to be a bit more flexible.  If something comes up I still have room in my schedule to shift the day that I was going to go out forward or backwards a day or two.

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The best part of seeing my schedule on paper is that afterwards I am able to see how much I was able to do in the past month.  This helps with future planning.  Then of course there is that exciting moment when you discover that all the time you spent planning and listening to your body results in being able to do more than you expected!

Don’t skate through 2019 hoping everything will work out.  Instead get planning and make this your best year yet!





















Packing for your Invisible Traveling Companions

Packing for your Invisible Traveling Companions

I may be able to escape my everyday life by going on vacation, but there is no escaping my chronic conditions. Other than making sure I packed my medication, I rarely gave my conditions any consideration or thought. This led to some disastrous getaways. Thankfully I began viewing my illnesses differently a few years ago and it has made for some wonderfully memorable trips.

Extra passengers

Finally accepting that I couldn’t escape my illnesses, I began thinking of them as extra passengers. I even named them: Fibro Fannie, Polly PsA, and Agatha Adhesion. This trio is with me wherever I go. It is much like traveling with my children. They get antsy, irritable, and have temper tantrums. Like when my children were young it is imperative that I bring along items to comfort and calm them.

*This post contains affiliate links. Meaning that at no additional cost to you, I earn a commission when a purchase is made from my links. The proceeds offset the expense of operating this blog and funds the giveaways in my Facebook groups. This post was originally written in 2016 and parts have been updated in 2019.

More than the bare necessities

Imagine taking a road trip with your little ones and bringing nothing with you to entertain them or to comfort them. In addition to bringing their favorite videos, coloring books, blankets, pillows, and/or stuffed animals I also brought items that they would need for accidents. I kept extra clothing and a first aid kit in an easy to access bag. Thankfully I rarely needed to open that bag, but I was prepared just in case.

When packing for a trip with my temperamental trio I go beyond the bare necessities of caring for them. Besides my medication I bring items that provide my body comfort. Having things like my heating pad or icepack in my hotel room makes getting through a surprise flare a better experience than if I hadn’t brought them. Being prepared for the worst has also made it possible to get through my flare faster than if I or my human traveling companions had to find a store to purchase what I needed after the fact.


Be prepared

Before you begin packing, think of all the items you use to comfort yourself throughout a flare and write them down. Next go through that list and check the items that you will be able to bring along. Even though you may not be able to bring everything, you can see if those items or services you use are available at your vacation destination. For example, you can’t bring along your masseuse, but you can book your stay at a hotel/resort that offers massages. My husband teases me about the amount of luggage I bring on our trips, but he understands the importance of packing for my conditions. Sometimes I never have to use any of the extra items packed and other times I have used them all.

Here are some of the items I bring on vacation in addition to my medication and Oska Pulse:

For my body: 

To entertain me if I end up having to spend time alone at the hotel:

These items do more than keep me occupied when awake for hours, but unable to go anywhere, they also serve as a distraction.

Instead of only focusing on all the fun things you want to do on your next getaway, take time to think of the worst tantrums that your invisible passengers could throw and plan accordingly.

Related posts: Unrealistic Vacation Expectations and Tips for Choosing a Vacation Destination

























Spring Cleaning Your Chronic Life: Cleansing Your Calendar








Spring Cleaning Your Chronic Life: Cleansing Your Calendar


Do you find yourself having to cancel or reschedule dates/appointments more than usual because of pain and exhaustion?  Are you committing and scheduling like you did before your chronic illness?  The reality is that no matter how carefully you plan, if you aren’t planning with consideration for your diseases your number of cancellations will only continue to grow.

Extra padding

One of the reasons I have been able to increase the amount of commitments I have made is that I schedule them with each of my conditions in mind.  For every date I scribble into my planner I pad it by blocking out a few days before and after.  Commitments that are going to require an extraordinary amount of physical/mental commitment are granted larger amounts of time.  Following this one simple rule has minimized how often I cancel, because it gives my body time to rest up beforehand as well as time to recover.  I mark these dates on my calendar so with a quick glance I know not to make plans on those days.  These blocked out dates don’t always mean that I won’t do anything on them; if I am feeling up to it I may go out to dinner or a movie.  Those outings are usually last minute invites that sometimes work out.  Blocking out dates keeps me from planning too many physically taxing activities too close together.

*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.

spc planner

Minimize commitments

I had to get over my need to please everyone and accepting every invite that came my way.  A choice had to be made, either I stopped making plans with everyone or I needed to limit the amount I made.  The degree of minimization depends on my physical status.  When my psoriatic arthritis is remission or when my endometriosis is behaving I allow myself to plan more than when all of my conditions have declared war.  Be warned that friends and family may not understand this in the beginning.  Many of mine felt that I was choosing someone else over them or that I was distancing myself from them.  This of course was not true and after a while they could see how this also benefitted them as I was able to follow through on what I had planned. 

Do what you can

Decluttering your calendar won’t guarantee that you will be able to fulfill every date you make, because let’s face it our illnesses have a mind and secret schedule of their own.  However, I have found the more I cater to them by planning with them in mind the more they allow me to go out and play.  You can’t please everyone and your body at the same time and since we have to live in our bodies doesn’t it make sense that they should come first?  I doubt my loved ones would want me to end up bed ridden for months or in the hospital just because I didn’t want to disappoint them.  Are you over committing? Start documenting how long it takes your body to recover from an outing and begin using that as a guide if you are new to padding your calendar.














Unpack Your Unrealistic Vacation Expectations

unpack your unrealistic vacation expectations









Unpack Your Unrealistic Vacation Expectations

Living with multiple chronic conditions has changed many things in my life, including what I expect from a vacation. Psoriatic arthritis, fibromyalgia, and endometriosis often create havoc before, during, and after each trip.  I may not be able to escape my conditions for a week, but I can still have a fabulous getaway by having realistic expectations.  Here are five unrealistic vacation expectations and how I turned them around.

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Realistic Expectations

Realistic Expectations












What we, the chronically ill and disabled expect from our bodies on a daily basis or while on vacation can make or break our experiences.  It is common for those who are newly diagnosed or for those who have yet to accept that their condition is here to stay to make plans the way we used to when we were well.  Sometimes we get caught up in the excitement of knowing we are going to get away from our daily lives, that we forget that there is no escape from our conditions.  Unfortunately this leads to disappointment and frustration when our bodies fail to allow us to do everything we had hoped to.

*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.

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When making plans it is important to keep our conditions and limitations in mind at all times.   It took me close to 10 years to accept my conditions and to begin planning my daily life around them and a few more years until I began planning outings and vacations with them in mind.  Here are a few tips to help you plan your next getaway:

  1. If you can barely handle a weekly trip to the grocery store, don’t expect your body to be able to handle outings that require you to stand or walk for more than a few hours at a time. This doesn’t mean that you should totally avoid these types of activities, instead think of ways to make them work for you. This may mean bringing or renting a wheelchair or scooter.
  2. Expect your pain level to be higher at the end of the day and for the days to follow. Back when I was well, I would push myself. I would be sore by the end of the day, but felt fine after a good night’s sleep. With my chronic conditions I not only feel worse by the end of the day, but I begin each following day with a higher level of pain than I did the day before.
  3. Expect to need more pain medication than you normally do. Your average amount of daily medication won’t cut it when you are pushing yourself to do more than you normally do.
  4. Expect to be worn out when you arrive at your destination. Let’s face it, traveling is exhausting. Because of this I have learned to gift myself with a minimum of one days rest. While writing this I am on vacation in Denver, CO. My body and my soul is thrilled that I planned 3 full days without any reason to leave my hotel prior to getting together with family and taking in the sights. Typically one day would have been fine, but the weather forecast made me realize that I would need more. I knew I made the right decision when a day that was forecasted to have light snow turned into a blizzard. While feeling beat up by the weather, I am in better shape than if I had scheduled any outings during those days.
  5. Expect downtime after you return home. Gone are the days of going on vacation and resuming my normal life upon returning home. I try not to schedule any commitments during my first week back home. If I am lucky I won’t need that much time to get back into my daily groove. Sometimes I need longer, especially when I don’t follow my own advice!
  6. Don’t expect to have the same experience as your able bodied friends. Planning a trip based on the experience your able bodied friends had is a recipe for disaster. There is no way you will be able to replicate their experience. Be happy with what you are able to do and NEVER compare your experience with someone who doesn’t have the exact same conditions and/or limitations!











This may sound silly, but when I am planning outings or vacations I visualize my conditions as additional passengers.  By thinking of them as individuals accompanying me, I am better able to plan for their needs.  It’s kind of like planning a trip with an infant or small child.  I think of all the things I do and use on a daily basis to keep them comfortable and from having fits.  Because I use heating pads and ice packs at home, I always travel with portable heating wraps and ice packs.  I am less apt to feel depressed or discouraged with this way of thinking as well.  I shouldn’t feel selfish when planning for and around my conditions, but I do because I feel that I am only thinking of my needs.  Thinking of my conditions as additional guests makes it easier as I always want those accompanying me to have a good time.  When thinking of myself I tend to gloss over what I can or can’t do or think that I will magically be able to push past them.  Yet when I think of them as passengers I can clearly see their (really my) needs.

Do you have any other realistic expectations to add to this list?  I’d love to hear them!











Are you considering or planning a trip to Disneyland?  Be sure to read The Disabled Diva’s Unofficial Accessible Vacation Guide before booking your vacation.  This guide has all the information you will need no matter what your disability.  Don’t waste time trying to figure out Disneyland’s accessible system while in the park download your copy today and enter the park ready to experience the magic that is Disney.






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