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2019 Wraps Up

calendar

I almost forgot about the December linky! This month has been flying by and I don’t want to miss the Chronic Illness Linky. A Chronic Voice has come up with some great prompts for us to respond to as 2019 wraps up.

2019 Wraps Up

Traveling

Many of us are traveling in December. I will be riding in a car for 1500 miles this month. And, yes this is going to be awful! Pain will be intense and swelling will occur. I dread that part of December the most. Because my children are spread far and wide, we’re making the trips to visit them.

Bonding

December will be another chance to bond with my new grandchild. Having a young grandchild makes me eager to spend as much time with him as possible. We’ve bonded a lot when I traveled there early in November, but he will probably need time to adjust to my being there again. He’s still so young, that I don’t know how much he’ll remember me.

Warming

Christmas is such a warm holiday. We think of warm lights, warm drinks, and warm feelings and relationships. Living in the midwest has been very cold, as far as the temperatures go. We’ve been having brisk winds and snow this month. As we travel south we expect to be met by warming temperatures. It appears that we’ll have a fall-like holiday there, because the temperatures are in the 50’s and 60’s.

December Advent Calendar

Coping

Honestly, December has been a tough time so far. I’m taking antibiotics for a sinus infection. This has brought on some anxious feelings. I wondered why I was feeling this way, and then read that it can be a (rare) side-effect. If anyone will get a rare side- effect of a drug, it will be me!

I’ve been coping by just stopping everything and resting. This has stopped me from getting some things accomplished. But, sitting and breathing has helped a little. Hubby and I also have prayed more together and I’m thankful that God hears and cares about my physical and emotional well-being.

Ending

Wow! I don’t know exactly how this year will end, but I know it’s been a crazy year! This year I: broke my arm and had surgery, moved 1000 miles across the country, and had worsening Sjogren’s Syndrome. So much more happened in my life this year. All of the year’s experiences have molded me in one way or another.

I’m thankful for God’s grace that helped me deal with everything this year. I feel closer to Him at the ending of the year and that makes the year’s challenges important. As 2019 comes to an end, I look forward to 2020!

@2019, copyright Lisa Ehrman

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Exhausting And Worth It

Exhausting
road

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.

coffee cup

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.

Exhausting

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

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How To Prepare For Travels With Chronic Illness

gps
map
Disclosure: Sponsored post.

After many days of questioning my ability to go, I’ve decided to make a trip this weekend. Any time a trip is considered, there has to be time spent evaluating my ability to complete it. Chronic illness has me in a place that makes travel so difficult and painful.

The only trips I don’t consider are doctor appointments. They are required trips. This trip is to accompany my child to a university where he is being courted as a graduate student. There will be one other trip in the future to another university. My purpose in going is to offer moral support and tour the campus.I’ve struggled with all the pros and cons of this visit, after convincing myself recently that I shouldn’t miss out on life. Sometimes I feel the need to tough it out and just endure the pain so that I can enjoy the good things in life. I’ve also considered the fact that my presence will just slow down my companions and be a negative influence.Traveling to a place that requires a lot of walking means that I need to pack my wheelchair. This is all so frustrating. I can walk, but not long distances. I don’t want to be in a wheelchair because of my vanity. Packing the wheelchair takes up a lot of room in our car and means that I’ll be in the way.

I know that all of these thoughts are not helpful and many of these fears are just plain wrong. But, these warring thoughts have been filling my mind. I guess that the more times I use the wheelchair, in order to travel with my family, it will get easier.

If things go well, it will be easier next time to not second-guess myself and my decisions to enjoy trips. Chronic illness brings with it so many adjustments.

gps

Here are some ways to prepare for traveling with chronic illness:

  1. Plan – The more I can anticipate everything associated with the trip, the easier it is to plan. Planning takes time, but it prevents me from forgetting things that I’ll need. With chronic illness, it’s not possible to be as carefree with my time. I’m looking at the itinerary, maps of the campus, distances to various buildings, hotels, and restaurants
  2. Packing – I’m planning a complete wardrobe by checking the weather forecast and plan to dress in layers. Packing an extra outfit is also important. Outerwear will include gloves, hats, and umbrellas. Planning for meals is needed because of my food allergies. Taking snacks and drinks will be good, as well as a blanket. The most important thing I’ll pack is my bag of prescription medications. I will fill my daily pill package, but will also pack my original pill containers. It’s a good thing to take my list of doctors and their phone numbers. Any time I travel, I wear my medicalert bracelet. In case of an accident, my bracelet allows medical professionals access to my medical conditions and the drugs that I’m prescribed.
  3. Be ready to say NO – Even with all the planning and packing, things can change. Be ready to say “No” to anything that you feel will be too painful or cause too much fatigue. Have a Plan B in case your pain becomes too great. By having a campus map, I can see where the lounge areas and coffee shops are located. These areas will be good stops for resting. If all else fails, I can go back to the car and rest.

I look forward to the trip and dread it at the same time. As I begin packing, my heart will pray that my presence will be positive. I pray that my pain will not soar and my vision will be clear. Now, I must go pack.

@2019, copyright Lisa Ehrman

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My Moving Adventure

The last week has been grueling with last-minute packing, loading, and driving 1,000 miles in a Penske truck. Now that we’ve moved everything into our new home, it’s a mess! We’re all sore, swollen, and exhausted!

Moving Adventure

Because I can’t lift anything, I was just a passenger on our long journey. I’ve never been this far west and moving in a 26 foot truck isn’t the way to be a sight-seer. We did see many beautiful sights along the way. We also fought the traffic, bad roads, and strange hotels. We’re thankful that we made it safely and no one was injured.

My feet and ankles are severely swollen and that has stopped me from unpacking. I’ve unpacked about 10 boxes in the last two days. Our home needs a good cleaning, but for now we’re trying to get the washer and dryer in our small laundry closet. We have yet to find any clean bath towels. We’ve been using paper towels and hand towels. If I don’t find them today I’ll need to make a trip to Walmart.

Last night the internet was hooked up and so we have television. It’s great to be able to use the internet and watch a little Wimbledon this morning. We seem to live in a quiet and friendly neighborhood. Archie has been very nervous and has stayed right next to me. He’s such an anxiety-filled dog!

I’m very thankful to be here with my family, but I can tell that it’s going to take a long while to have this place feel like home. There is so much to adjust to and I’ll be meeting my first new doctor in a couple of weeks. I’ll have to depend on God to help me and strengthen me, physically and emotionally. This truly is an adventure!

@2019,copyright Lisa Ehrman