Oops, I did it again. I traveled to visit family and overdid it for an entire week. I spent 2 entire days in the car and 5 days playing with my grandson on the floor. This exhausting trip wasn’t a mistake, though. I knew what I was getting myself into. Letting myself become exhausted was worth it.
As most of you with chronic illness know, there are times that we just throw our bodies into an adventure, knowing that we will pay. Life doesn’t promise to be easy, and some things are worth the extra effort. It took so much energy and effort to put my body out there and take off on this trip. But, my desire to visit my loved ones outweighed the pain that would follow.
Chronic pain, acute pain, and complete exhaustion are the results of overdoing it. We put on a smile to hide our pain, but the smile isn’t fake. Enjoying a family visit is true enjoyment. Time with my children is a true blessing. I would go through all the pain to make these priceless memories happen.
We made the 10 hour drive last week. I prepared by packing comfortable clothes and my supportive shoes. Unfortunately, I took my shoes off in the car and broke my toe. All of my medicines, lidocaine gels, heating pads, and special diet foods were packed for the adventure. We travel frugally and don’t stop for expensive meals. So, we made sure to have healthy snacks in the car.
When traveling, it isn’t as easy as being at home. I wasn’t able to take everything that I count on for resting: my fan, my recliner, my water filter, and my frozen food. When my Small Fiber Neuropathy “attacks” happen, the fan really helps. My recliner is so comfortable and takes the pressure off of my back when it’s having sharp pains.
Having a water filter makes it easy for me to drink lots of water each day, without having to pay for bottled water. My freezer is stocked with organic meat and vegetables to help me cook healthy meals. We all know that traveling is not the best way to eat healthy meals. I always end up eating junk food and too much salt.
The good news is that I stayed on my sugar-free diet and have now lost a total of 5 pounds. I know it isn’t much, but it’s a good start. I’ve now adjusted to the sugar-free meal plan and don’t crave sugar anymore. I can’t tell that I feel any better, but I’ll continue to keep sugar out of my diet.
Playing on the floor with a 10 month old baby is a joy! It’s also much better for a young person than someone like me. My body hated me afterward, but the smiles from this sweet child were worth it. My sciatica really flared and I needed to work on my stretches and take anti-inflammatories. I also came down with laryngitis and a sore throat.
Now is the time to accept my fate and work toward recovering from the exhausting week. To get back to my normal I’ll need to take lots of time to rest and get extra sleep. It will be important to take any needed medication and use all the helpful tools I can find. Ice, heat, patches, gels, creams, and gentle exercises will be my friends.
It doesn’t do any good to fret or blame myself. There is no guilt in pretending to feel better than you really are feeling. It’s part of my chronic illness life. That doesn’t mean that I lie, because I do tell my family how I feel. But, sometimes the smiling comes easily and naturally. It’s alright to cry afterward if you need to.
I thank God that I have family that loves me and a grandchild. Being a grandparent is awesome! With Christmas coming soon, it will be such a blast to be with family again. Exhaustion will again be expected, but so will smiles.
@2019, copyright Lisa Ehrman