The holidays are coming! If you gone to Home Depot or Lowe's, Christmas is most definitely here! My favorite Hallmark season! People with a chronic illness do not always look forward to the holidays. It is a lot of pressure to sit, stand, talk, pay attention, eat, pretend everything is fine. Why? I still don't understand why we put so much pressure on ourselves. I made mistakes when I was first diagnosed with Lupus. I put everyone else's time and effort above my own mental and physical self. Add my always fun denial and I was good to go.
My first Thanksgiving after my diagnosis, I stayed home alone. My kids were small and I did not want them to miss out on holidays because of my nightmare. So I convinced Richard to take the kids and go over to my sister's home in NY. I spent the evening lying on the couch watching Hallmark and It's a Wonderful Life. I cried and slept until my beautiful family came back.
Those days are very isolating with being left behind or not being able to keep up. The entire family wants what is best for you. However, you don't know exactly what is needed? Alone time or everyone huddled around you in prayer? So the holidays will come in waves...schools starts...Halloween...Thanksgiving...Christmas...New Year's and any birthdays, anniversaries, birth announcements and anything else in between. Oh, it is exhausting for anyone!
We spent Christmas at my NJ sister's home. She always had wonderful food, great matching decorative plates, cakes and cookies that would make Willy Wonka grin. There is a moment before the veil of exhaustion and pain consumes you that you know...ok I am done. This done is not like everyone else's done. You can not get another coffee and keep going. It is a finale.
Once I start to feel it...I have to go. What should happen is...Kids get your coats. Richard grab the kids shit! Let's go! It is the cattle round-up. Of course, I did not do that.
I sat in the expansive living room with the family while everyone enjoyed the tv and wine. I sat next to table with the aquarium. I always enjoyed that one spot in my sister's home. The sound of the water filtering, watching the fish go in circles because that is what they do.
A headache started, my vision went blurry, my hands began to swell and I sat. The swelling continued in my hands and feet and then they went numb. I called to Richard. Do we stay or do we go? I could not walk to the door. I could not even stand up. My legs went numb, my torso lost feeling and then finally my arms. The non-superhero transformation was complete. I was paralyzed from the neck down. My full body paralysis ranged from 1 hour to 8 hours. So it was anyone's guess how long a particular spell would last. I wanted to just go cry and sleep. Richard drove the car into my sister's backyard. He and my brother-in-law carried me out and adjusted me into the passenger's seat. I was dead weight and it is terrifying.
My fellow Lupies do enjoy the holidays, whatever and however that looks like to you. They are all fun and very exhausting. Take a moment. When the finale arrives just wave goodbye and say thank you! Happy Holidays!