Each month I join up with Sheryl from A Chronic Voice for some writing prompts aimed at living life with a chronic illness. This months writing prompts are Travelling, Bonding, Warming, Coping, Ending.
I don’t do much travelling around this time of year. My family are all close by, and the only ones who are not come to visit us. This will be on December 14th.
In November, I only left the house three times, and one of those outings was an hospital appointment! The other I was only out for an hour, and the final outing was on the very last day when we went to the local Christmas Tree lights festival. (Anyone who follows me on Social Media will have seen me saying that I’ve only been out twice in November, but that’s brain fog for you, I completely forgot about the other time.)
I will be going out more this month (Fingers crossed) but not really travelling much. I have booked our holiday for next year though. It’s still in the UK but I love a seaside holiday. I have also realised that as my kids get older these families will become a thing of the past. I still remember when my eldest kids became to old to come on holiday with us. I even remember when I got too old to go on holiday with my Mum. I feel sad, but maybe it will give me an opportunity for more travel seeing as it will cost less paying for so many children. Let’s just hope I stay healthy enough.
We have had a week of a sickness bug running it’s way through the family and suddenly I have had children again and plenty of bonding. In particular, my Little Man. Instead of wanting to be glued to a laptop or phone or other device, with his headphones on and seemingly in another world, he has spent time talking to me and we even cuddled up together on the settee one day and watched a movie together. I think we all need this special time, either as a family or just two of us. I also got to watch a movie with my husband which rarely happens. He’s generally more interested in watching the sports channel upstairs, sometimes life is too hectic for this kind of bonding.
In past years Christmas was always a time of bonding as my Nan, who was the glue of our family, would bring us all together for the holiday. She left us many years ago now and the family drifted further and further apart. In fact I barely see any of my cousins, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews and so on. I don’t even see one of my brother’s. So it’s just Graham’s Mum and brothers and my eldest brother and his wife. It seems so distant, those days of a house full of relatives, when the furniture would be moved around to fit them in and the chairs from the kitchen dotted around the living room.
These days the only bonding I get with my extended family is through sending Christmas cards. And sometimes I don’t even manage this.
I suffer so much from cold weather, even at home I find myself covered in blankets and layers of clothes just trying to keep warm and the pain at bay. Sometimes, you just have venture out though and that’s when the warmer clothes come in handy.
In no particular order, the things that make me feel warm in December are;
- Hot chocolate with cream and marshmallows (And maybe a tot of Baileys)
- Christmas Carols, I love them and know all the words
- Believing in Father Christmas, the kids might be getting older but I will always believe in him as it gives me a warm fuzzy feeling.
- Christmas bells, we are lucky to live near a carrillion which plays the most wonderful Christmas music on a Saturday afternoon.
- Christmas feel good movies. I can watch them all, no matter how corny.
- Christmas decorations, trees and lights. I get a warm fuzzy feeling just looking at them.
- A lovely real fire. We don’t have one, we don’t even have a chimney (But it’s okay, Father Christmas has a magic key) but I can put the You Tube video of a real fire on my TV and put my feet up in front of it. There is no heat but it still makes me feel warm.
- Christmas food..yummy, everything from chocolate to brussell sprouts. I love Christmas dinner with all the trimmings, and all the treats and deserts that are okay to indulge in over Christmas.
And there is nothing nicer than coming home after a cold outing to a lovely warm house, or cuddling up on the sofa with a blanket, or getting into a lovely warm bed. There are so many ways to feel warm.
This is a big one for me this month. I stopped my treatment, on advice from my consultant, nearly three months ago. So it’s probably completely out of my system now. It’s been hard and I’ve almost phoned the hospital on many occasions to ask them to give me my treatment (my consultant said I could do this any time.) But, on the other hand, I’ve coped better than I thought I would, and although I’ve gone backwards on many things, I’ve also noticed that some of the side effects are starting to disappear.
That’s one of the problems with a rare chronic illness like Stiff Person Syndrome, no-one really knows what will make it better, and everyone who has it reacts differently to treatments. So coping is the best I can do.
As for the season’s festivities, I cope with them by taking everything slowly. There was a time where I’d be in a tiz if my decorations were not put up on December 1st, but we have a lot on in the following week so I doubt my husband will be able to get the decorations out for me any time soon. We will also have to move furniture, something I can’t do. The Christmas shopping is mostly done online, so that’s how I cope with that. Along with very careful planning.
The end of the year, such a bittersweet time, especially as you get older. I often wonder if this will be my last year on this earth, will I even make it through another year. I often wonder how I will make through a night so this is not an isolated feeling. Some people say they are glad to see the back of the year, especially when things have not been so good. But I always look back and think of all the positive acheivements I’ve made. The bad times don’t just disappear, but it’s much nicer thinking about the good times, and there is always more than you think.
In past times the period between Christmas Day and the New Year has brought much sadness, grief and pain. It’s a difficult time for us as a family and we realise that all we have is each other, so we try to spend the time quietly, bonding with each other and coping in our own way.
I was admitted to hospital on New Years Day 2016 which is when my chronic illness journey began. So this year it will be four years sick.
Thanks for reading. I’m linking up with Sheryl here and you can click through to see other bloggers interperete the same prompts.