“Let’s Go Fly A Kite”….Dreaming Dreams Despite Disability

If you love the original Mary Poppins movie, you will be very familiar with one of the songs sung by Dick Van Dyke, “Let’s Go Fly A Kite”

I’ve been singing it over the past few days as the lyrics and melody are so uplifting:

With tuppence for paper and strings,
You can have your own set of wings
With your feet on the ground
You’re a bird in a flight
With your fist holding tight
To the string of your kite

Oh oh oh
Let’s go fly a kite
Up to the highest height
Let’s go fly a kite and send it soaring
Up through the atmosphere
Up where the air is clear
Oh, let’s go fly a kite

When you send it flyin’ up there
All at once you’re lighter than air
You can dance on the breeze
Over ‘ouses and trees
With your fist ‘olding tight
To the string of your kite

Songwriters: Richard Sherman / Robert Sherman   Let’s Go Fly a Kite lyrics © Walt Disney Music Company

Wouldn’t It Be Lovely

Sometimes we need to dream dreams despite our disabilities.

Sometimes we need to close our eyes and imagine the wind in our hair as we run through a park, flying a kite.

Imagine skipping. Imagine dancing. Imagine walking in the rain.

As I imagine these lovely things a smile fills my face. I’m not sad. I’m simply daring to dream. It’s like watching a happy movie, I just happen to be the leading lady!

20181217_195710_0001.png

So Let’s Go Fly That Kite….Figuratively Speaking

A new year is fast approaching. I have no idea what lies ahead. I don’t know what my body will throw at me from hour to hour. Trying to map out plans for a new year would be setting me up for failure and disappointment.

So, this year I’m going to “fly a kite”. I’m going to dream a little and set some goals that work with my disability. Goals that can happen or not happen…..it really won’t matter.

Dream A Little Dream With Me

So here goes….I’m dreaming of

  • A White Christmas
  • Rainy Days and Rainbows
  • A Book Deal
  • An Escape to The Country (Love that show)
  • Tea With the Queen…or Prince Harry and Meghan would be even better!
  • An audience with Barak Obama

And a little closer to reality;

  • Quality time with family and friends
  • Reaching out to support more people with chronic illness, through my online forum and blog
  • A holiday, close to home, with my husband
  • Embracing new beginnings as my husband and I explore ways to further accommodate my health needs.

Dare To Dream

I so hope as you think ahead to the New Year, you take some time to dare to dream. Have fun with some pipe dreams and then take a moment to think of a few key things you would like on your “reality” list.

I know living with chronic disease is limiting and the thought of looking ahead can seem dismal. I get you may feel like there’s no point.

The point is, if you allow yourself to “fly a kite” for a moment, it can help relax your mind. With a relaxed mind you can have some fun dreaming dreams despite disability.

Who knows, you might even find you are inspired and determined to set a couple of realistic, high level goals….Goals that really could happen.

So let’s go fly a kite!

Love

Sam xx

 

If you’re looking for genuine support, care, understanding & friendship, you are so welcome to join my closed Facebook support forum, Medical Musings with Friends . It’s a safe place to connect with others living with chronic & complex diseases, who truly understand the daily challenges. A warm welcome awaits.

I’m a Contributor at “The Mighty”. You can check out my published articles at My Author Page

I also write @ Blogs by Christian Women

 

Please click here to read our Privacy Policy

awards_Community_(2)

WEGO Health Award 2018 Nominee

 

 

 

Loving “Moments” of Life

I would have thought that being disabled, and pretty much housebound, life would go slowly. I’d have thought each day would drag and each hour would leave me wondering how to fill my time.

Ha…How Wrong Was I !!

I can’t believe 2018 is nearly over.

What have I done with my year? What makes a chronic illness existence so busy.

As I pondered that question I realised the answer lies in how I spend my moments, not necessarily my days.

I’ve adjusted to my new life by filling it with moments of purpose. In many regards I am working as hard as I was when I was actively employed enjoying a successful career.

My online forum has replaced my old work life. My days are full of beautiful people and amazing conversations, in a virtual sense rather than in the workplace. I have an admin team to care for and 1600 plus forum members to provide a much needed service to.

On top of that I blog, write, manage my health and help my husband care for our home. My health takes up a lot of time with appointments, procedures and surgeries and just overall pacing of all basic physical activities.

Put all that together and hours, days, weeks, months and quite clearly a whole year, just fly by.

20181209_211800_0001.png

Loving Life

As crazy as this may sound, I’m loving life.

I say crazy because I’m sure many people must think I should be curled up in a ball, rocking back and forth in a corner. I have considered it on really bad days but it’s just not me.

Broken bones due to my crippling bone disease, Rheumatoid Arthritis and associated autoimmune issues, extreme fatigue and a stoma don’t bode well for a “loving life” campaign. But that’s just my flesh and bones. It’s not my soul. It’s not what really matters.

My heart still beats and my brain still works and I am so so grateful for that. Yes, life can be hard and many days out of the 365 per year are not pretty, but moments in those days are.

Moment by Moment

Moments when the pain meds kick in enough to let me write or be active on my forum. Moments when I can do something nice with or for my husband.

They are the moments that are strung together to make the year go fast. They are the moments that complete me. They are the moments that make me love life. They are the moments that cause me to push on and not give up.

This is life. This is my life. I only get one and it needs to matter.

Troubles Are Momentary Too

2 Corinthians 4:17 (NIV)

For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.

When living with chronic disease it can so easily feel as if our flares and high pain levels are unrelenting. Believe me I often feel like that. The pain is real, the disability is real.

However, the excruciating pain I suffer comes in waves. The pain is always high but I’ve adjusted to a moderate level of pain where I can function, in my restrictive way.

The excruciating pain lasts for moments. Sometimes too many moments strung together, but moments nonetheless.

If I think about my days in terms of moments, I can focus on the fact I will get moments when moderate pain allows me to write, to laugh, to listen, to participate in life to some degree.

The moments of severe pain and darkness will be outweighed by the lighter moments….every single time.

What About Days When There Are No Light Moments?

Yes, they do happen but they are rare. Even when I’ve been in hospital, post major surgery, there has still been something to make me smile. A caring nurse, seeing my husband walk through the door with a real coffee in hand or a decent cup of tea, these moments stand out to me.

These little moments of relief manage to squeeze their way into the dark days. We just have to look for them and hold onto them. They offer us hope that bigger, brighter moments are just around the corner.

If you really are feeling completely overwhelmed by your disabled and chronic illness life, it’s so important to seek help.

Professional counsellors can help provide coping techniques and skills to assist you live your best life possible.

It’s not about living in denial or being delusion about the reality of the hard moments. By acknowledging those, we can learn to use them to absolutely savour the good moments.

Life then becomes precious, every single day.

I sometimes think I’m more alive now than when I was healthy, living a crazy rat race existence. I just ran from moment to moment and day to day in my old life and much of it is a blur as I look back.

New Year Moments

As a new year approaches I won’t be making any great resolutions or setting any concrete plans. I have some rough idea of events and tasks which require some effort and thought, but timeframes need to be flexible.

I know there will be tough moments followed by good moments and that’s enough for me.

Afterall, life is like that in both sickness and in health. None of us are immune from the highs and the lows.

How we choose to live with them and through them, makes all the difference.

I know what I’m going to choose. I choose to live for moments of happiness, creativity, community, love and moderate pain. I choose to hold on to hope for bright moments to follow tough ones.

Rather than expecting a perfect life filled with halcyon days, I choose to love and cherish the moments of my life where I can engage with some of the activities I enjoy.

What will you choose?

Sam xx

If you’re looking for genuine support, care, understanding & friendship, you are so welcome to join my closed Facebook support forum, Medical Musings with Friends . It’s a safe place to connect with others living with chronic & complex diseases, who truly understand the daily challenges. A warm welcome awaits.

I’m a Contributor at “The Mighty”. You can check out my published articles at My Author Page

I also write @ Blogs by Christian Women

 

Please click here to read our Privacy Policy

awards_Community_(2)

WEGO Health Award 2018 Nominee

 

 

 

 

Have Yourself A Merry Little “Chronic” Christmas

As Christmas Day fast approaches I imagine most of us, in the chronic illness community, are musing about what we want to realistically achieve over the holiday period.

For those of us with Chronic Disease it can be an incredibly overwhelming time. Just trying to be happy for others, when your body is screaming at you, is enough to make you want to run and hide.

Even if, like me, you have a super quiet Christmas for two planned, there are still concerns. Will I be able to function on the day? Will I manage to stay out of hospital?

No amount of pacing or planning can ensure my body will do the right thing. I will pace though and my husband and I have removed all expectations. We will go with the flow and it doesn’t matter if it turns out to be a struggling day does it? Does it?

Does It Matter If You Can’t Handle Christmas?

Hmmm…..let’s be honest….it does matter. I’d be kidding myself to say it doesn’t. It matters a lot to me. I want my husband and I to enjoy Christmas dinner at the very least. He sacrifices so much without any complaining so I want him to enjoy turkey with the trimmings.

I want to feel as pain free as possible on the day so I can enjoy opening presents and chatting to family on the phone. I’d like the energy to look forward to phone calls.

I want to have some energy in reserve to really enjoy the Christmas DVD we’ve chosen to watch on Christmas night. I don’t want to be wishing it would be over because I can’t find a comfortable position for my broken bones.

I don’t want to be dealing with a stoma blockage because I’ve eaten something on the “naughty list” in the lead up to Christmas.

20181126_153102_0001.png

The Things I Miss

Then there’s the things I miss. I miss not being able to travel to see my Dad and his wife for Christmas. They are so close, only a 2 hour drive away, but it’s so far when you have a broken body.

I miss not getting to a Carol Service and Christmas Eve/Day Church Service. I miss not being able to go to large shopping malls and enjoy the Christmas atmosphere.

Even for those of us who don’t suffer mental illness, the lead up to Christmas can be a melancholy time. It’s important to acknowledge all those feelings. They are real, important and very, very normal for the chronic illness sufferer.

Feeling a Little Melancholy Is OK!

If you are feeling a little melancholy…….you are not alone.

I will have a lovely Christmas but it will not necessarily be a season of constant joy. It will have moments of delight, moments of extreme fatigue, moments of excruciating pain and then moments of relaxation and rest.

This is the reality for those of us with chronic illness.

Moments full of comfort and love with my husband will always be the highlight for me.

Click here if you’d like a glimpse into my tentative plans for a Merry Little Chronic Christmas.

My hope and prayer for you all is, whether surrounded by loved ones or home alone, you will have moments of a “Merry Little Christmas Day”, no matter what it looks like.

Happy Christmas to all my readers and thank you so much for following my musings throughout the year.

Lots of love

Sam xx 💗💗

 

If you’re looking for genuine support, care, understanding & friendship, you are so welcome to join my closed Facebook support forum, Medical Musings with Friends . It’s a safe place to connect with others living with chronic & complex diseases, who truly understand the daily challenges. A warm welcome awaits.

I’m a Contributor at “The Mighty”. You can check out my published articles at My Author Page

I also write @ Blogs by Christian Women

 

Please click here to read our Privacy Policy

 

WEGO Health Award 2018 Nominee

 

My Writing Year In Review

As Christmas and year end comes around, I’m in a reflective mood.

It’s been a great year for me from a writing perspective. I’ve enjoyed networking with other bloggers within the chronic illness blogging community.

I’ve also connected this year outside of the chronic illness world, with lovely Christian women through Grace Girls and the Salt and Light linkup group.

I’ve enjoyed sharing my story with others. Hopefully through my own experience of living with a chronic, debilitating disease, I’ve been able to impart some tips showing ways to live the best life possible, despite the restrictions and challenges of pain and disability.

As far as my blog is concerned, I thought I’d round off the year by sharing with you the 5 top posts, according to my readers.

20181212_105913_0000

So Without Further Ado…

Here are the posts my readers likefld the best throughout 2018:

Musings And Plans

Chronic Illness Catastrophe Days

I Should, I Better, I Have To….No You Really Don’t

Embracing Chronic Illness In A Deliberate Way

Finding A Peaceful Kind Of Happiness In A Chronic Illness Life

Plus Two Of My Personal Favourites

These last two are special to me. The first one acknowledges my beautiful husband and his care for me.

The second one is on the subject of healing and how this can be found, not necessarily in a physical sense, but in finding strength to live well with your chronic disease.

Remember To Care For Our Carers…..They Are Hurting Too

Healing Comes In Many Forms…..Even With A Broken Body

The Most Popular “Mighty” Article

I’ve been writing for The Mighty for nearly two years now. Over that time I’ve written over 40 articles, many of them originate from a blog post.

At the beginning of the year I wrote a love letter to my amazing husband which was published by The Mighty. They continue to share it on their Facebook page and each time they do, the response is overwhelming.

This will always be my most favourite written piece and I couldn’t round off the year without sharing it here:

To The Amazing Husband Behind This Chronically Ill Wife

Thank You So Much

I want to thank you, my readers, for your love, encouragement and support during 2018. I have so enjoyed reading your comments and making new friends along the way.

I wish you and your loved ones a very happy and relaxed Christmas and I look forward to sharing more with you in 2019 💗

Take care

Sam xx

If you’re looking for genuine support, care, understanding & friendship, you are so welcome to join my closed Facebook support forum, Medical Musings with Friends . It’s a safe place to connect with others living with chronic & complex diseases, who truly understand the daily challenges. A warm welcome awaits.

I’m also a Contributor at “The Mighty”. You can check out my published articles at My Author Page

I also write @ Blogs by Christian Women

I’m a member of  the Chronic Illness Bloggers Network,  the  Grace Girls Facebook Group and Salt and Light Linkup Group

If you would like to read a little more about my journey, here’s the link to My Story

Please click here to read our Privacy Policy

awards_Community_(2)

WEGO Health Award 2018 Nominee

Don’t Forget The Beautiful Season of Advent

In the hustle and bustle of preparing for Christmas I love the Advent season. This is the season the Christian church celebrates in the lead up to Christmas. It’s the start of the Church year and Advent Sunday marks the four Sunday’s before Christmas Day.

It’s a season of reflection and expectation. Advent is latin for “Coming.”

Hope

On each of the four Sundays of Advent, a candle on the advent wreath is lit. The first candle symbolises Hope.

Christmas celebrates the coming of Jesus as a new born baby in the most amazing circumstances. The Christmas story is full of hope. Hope for a brighter future, hope for times of peace, joy and love.

I can’t think of a better focus for the start of Advent. We all need the hope that Jesus offers.

“A feeling of expectation and desire for a particular thing to happen.” Oxford Dictionary 

While we might be enjoying a feeling of expectation about Christmas coming, good food, presents and catching up with family and friends, the candle of hope represents so much more.

20181126_180438_0001.png

Peace

On the second Sunday of Advent Christians around the world continue to prepare for the joy ahead of celebrating the birth of Jesus on Christmas Day. The second candle represents peace. The words below come from a beautiful carol, ” I heard the bells on Christmas Day”

It has a lovely melody and stirring words. It’s another of my Christmas Day solo pieces in years gone by.  Just reading the words conjures up wonderful memories of my Dad playing the organ for me, while I rehearsed at home in preparation for the Carol Service. Special times!

I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play,
and wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along
The unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Till ringing, singing on its way,
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime,
A chant sublime
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Then from each black, accursed mouth
The cannon thundered in the South,
And with the sound
The carols drowned
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

It was as if an earthquake rent
The hearth-stones of a continent,
And made forlorn
The households born
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And in despair I bowed my head;
“There is no peace on earth,” I said;
“For hate is strong,
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!”

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
“God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men.”

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Joy

On the 3rd Sunday in Advent, the candle lit on the advent wreath represents Joy.

When we think of chronic disease and pain it can be hard to imagine feeling a sense of joy. The Christmas message isn’t talking about a frivolous passing joy that comes from enjoying a moment. It’s talking about a deep joy that comes from knowing that God cares for us and despite how bad our circumstances are now, there is hope for a brighter future.

“The angels sang a message of JOY! “…the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”     (Luke 2:7-9)

Love

On the fourth Sunday of Advent we light the candle representing love.

What an amazing gift of love that God should send His Son to give us hope, peace, joy and love. What amazing love that this baby born on Christmas Day, was sent to save us from our sins and give us the hope of eternal life.

What amazing examples Jesus showed us, while he walked on earth, of how to love others. Loving our neighbours as ourselves. Showing grace and mercy to those we don’t understand, those in need, those who need love.

This is the essence and beauty of the Christmas message. This is what makes the Advent season so special. It’s four weeks of expectation, anticipation and it helps us understand why Christmas Day is so worth celebrating.

Happy Advent…

with love xx

 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”    (John 3:16)

If you’re looking for genuine support, care, understanding & friendship, you are so welcome to join my closed Facebook support forum, Medical Musings with Friends . It’s a safe place to connect with others living with chronic & complex diseases, who truly understand the daily challenges. A warm welcome awaits.

I’m a Contributor at “The Mighty”. You can check out my published articles at My Author Page

I also write @ Blogs by Christian Women

 

Please click here to read our Privacy Policy

awards_Community_(2)

WEGO Health Award 2018 Nominee

 

 

Dealing With Disease And Disappointments

Disappointments come to us all. They are part of life. As hard as they are to endure they can make the special moments in life seem even more precious. They also often teach us valuable life lessons.

Despite that knowledge, we still need to live through life’s disappointments. We need to find ways to survive them.

While no one is immune from disappointments, when you live with a chronic disease they can sometimes feel like the absolute last straw.

The Disappointment Scale

I’m not going to pretend I have any amazing solutions to dealing with disappointments. I have however, definitely had quite a bit of experience with my chronic illness creating chaos and unexpected life changing twists and turns.

I’m in the middle of a series of disappointing circumstances at the moment. Sometimes they seem like a gift that keeps on giving and not the welcome kind.

Disappointments tend to have a scale in my world.  They are either minor, moderate or major.

Let me give you an example of where my current disappointments sit on my scale;

  • Mild – Unable to help my husband decorate for Christmas because I’m recovering from back surgery.
  • Moderate – Unable to spend a lot of time with our family recently when they visited from interstate. Again because of recovering from spinal surgery and the pain of my bone disease.
  • Major – We have to sell our home in the New Year as my medical expenses continue to spiral due to my chronic illness.

Categorising disappointments does a couple of things.

Firstly, it identifies them which helps me understand why I might be feeling a bit melancholy.

Secondly, it helps me begin to work on a change of mindset in relation to my disappointments.

Thirdly, it creates a call to action, where needed, to begin embracing changes required.

20181128_170911_0001

Turning Disappointments Into Opportunities

Now not all disappointments will become an opportunity for change in a physical sense.

They can be used to change how we think about a situation though and that provides opportunity for personal growth.

So here is how I’m approaching my 3 disappointments. Keep in mind I have to work at this and so will you with your own scenarios. You can’t just flick a switch and all disappointments will magically be gone.

So, my responses to each disappointment are:

  • Mild – I’m so grateful I have my husband to decorate. We are keeping it all simple this year so I can help him with a table top tree. I’ll be able to reach it without damaging my back or hindering surgery recovery. I keep reminding myself in the big scheme of things this is a very minor disappointment. I can let it go.
  • Moderate – I so wanted to spend more time with our family. It’s hard to shake this disappointment off. I need to hold onto the memories of the special times we did spend together. The love and laughter that filled our home when they visited still remains and when I think of that a huge smile fills my heart. Moments may be small but they can be full of so much quality and that’s what counts. Changing my mindset to one of thankfulness for those precious moments, does make a moderate looming disappointment become milder. That’s progress which is what matters when dealing with unavoidable disappointments.
  • Major – This one is not easy. I’m not super attached to the bricks and mortar of our home but the thought of physically moving is awful. I’m not opposed to renting, which is what we will need to do, but the thought of a lease not being renewed after 6 or 12 months and further moves ahead….it petrifies me. Physically I’m just not capable. My body needs security yet the irony is it’s my body that is forcing us into this situation. Ongoing medical bills, needing a low set home and space to move around with mobility equipment more easily, are all real needs that are creating this major disappointment.

Tackling A Major Disappointment Head On

I’ve looked at my major disappointment of needing to sell our home from every angle. If I analyse it any further I’m sure I’ll go mad!!

There is no other solution but to accept it. I will feel emotional pain with this disappointment. It’s a normal healthy response to a life changing decision, forced on my husband and I, due to chronic disease. It’s not easy to swallow.

But it’s not impossible.

Moving towards it little by little begins to make it my new reality. We’ve picked the listing month to put our home on the market. We’ve found an agent we like, trust and who will ensure my health and disability are accommodated throughout the selling process. We have a huge sense of relief about that.

We have a rough idea of where we will rent, the cost, the type of home and availability. We are praying we will find a landlord who is open to long term tenants.

Every now and again we think about buying another home but our budget doesn’t stretch to a house that accommodates our needs, so we have to accept that door is closed.

I must admit I keep peeking in the “closed door” just to make sure but I keep getting the same answer.

Acceptance Alongside Disappointment

As we begin to walk through our disappointment, by acknowledging it and looking at ways to deal with it, acceptance will come alongside and begin to provide clarity of thought and new direction.

It almost becomes a partnership. The hurt and disappointment eventually turns to the hope and opportunities that change can bring.

Chronic Illness will always bring us unexpected and unwanted packages. How we deal with these can make a difference to both our physical and mental well being. Allowing disappointments to linger for longer than necessary can so quickly drag us down.

If you are experiencing a season of disappointments I hope my “Disappointment Scale” of mild, moderate and major, helps you work through how best to approach life’s challenges.

Feel the pain, acknowledge the consequences of the disappointment and begin to look for ways to think differently about the situation. Where possible make plans to take action to implement necessary changes.

Disease may make disappointments more difficult but, with a change of mindset and a base plan, I so hope you find it’s not impossible to deal with them when they arise.

Take care

Sam xx

If you’re looking for genuine support, care, understanding & friendship, a place to share your seasonal changes & challenges,  you are so welcome to join my closed Facebook support forum, Medical Musings with Friends . It’s a safe place to connect with others living with chronic & complex diseases, who truly understand the daily challenges. A warm welcome awaits.

I’m also a Contributor at “The Mighty”. You can check out my published articles at My Author Page

I also write @ Blogs by Christian Women

I’m a member of  the Chronic Illness Bloggers Network and the  Grace Girls Facebook Group

Please click here to read our Privacy Policy

This post was shared at the Salt and Light Linkup Group

awards_Community_(2)

WEGO Health Award 2018 Nominee

 

It’s “Chronically” Close To Christmas!!

It’s on its way! There is no stopping it! Christmas is coming!

That thought will either excite you or leave you trembling with trepidation. There may be an in between reaction but generally the Christmas/ Holiday Season and the lead up to the big day, is forefront of mind by mid November.

For those of us with chronic illness we tend to approach the season with a little dread mixed in with joyful anticipation.

We simply can’t keep up with expectations of others, or the expectations we used to put on ourselves in our healthier days.

Times have changed.

A Trip Down Memory Lane – Christmas Past

I love Christmas. First and foremost I love the reason for the season. I love that we are celebrating the birth of Jesus.

My Christmas pasts were filled with preparing Sunday School classes for the Christmas Eve Nativity play. Choir rehearsals for Carols in the Park. Helping my husband prepare Orders of Service for all the Christmas services so that those who attended, who weren’t usual church goers, wouldn’t feel lost and could participate and relax.

I had rehearsals to attend for my annual Christmas Eve Service solo performance of “It came upon a midnight clear”.

In between all that I was Christmas shopping, wrapping presents, decking the halls, baking our Christmas cake. I was also working full-time and involved in numerous Christmas celebrations at work.

Every year we would decorate the Banking department I managed. We’d put on Christmas treats throughout December for the 350 staff. Morning teas, afternoon teas, team parties, you name it…we did it!

I set up a department Christmas choir at work and complete with singers, guitarists, a violinist, bass player and trumpeter, we moved through each level of my departments building, spreading Christmas cheer  through song, like the Victorian Christmas carollers of old. So much fun!

20181118_181557_0001

On Christmas Day I would head to church in the morning with my husband. After the service we headed together into my work, where we would hand out Christmas gifts to the staff on duty. We’d help set up a Christmas buffet lunch for everyone to enjoy and then we jumped in the car for a 2 hour drive to spend Christmas with my family.

It was full on. It was focused on giving and celebrating. It was joyous and rewarding on so many levels.

My New Way Of Celebrating – Christmas Present

Fast forward to today and those wonderful memories remind me that so much has changed. My love of Christmas remains. My joy in celebrating the birth of Jesus is even deeper.

My body, chronic disease and disability however prevent me from participating in those wonderful Christmas past activities.

So that could sound like the end of a very sad story. It’s not though. While I loved that full on Christmas celebration, I equally love the quieter relaxed Christmas that is my new norm.

I remind myself how blessed I am to have experienced such joy sharing Christmas so actively with so many, for so many years.

I remind myself how blessed I am now to have a wonderful husband to spend a quiet romantic “Christmas for two” with.

If I had expectations of myself that were unrealistic, this season would be awful. I’d either push myself beyond my capabilities and end up sick or in hospital, or I’d just feel miserable thinking of all I can’t do.

This is my 5th Christmas season with my bone disease. The first two Christmas seasons following my leg break were an adjustment period. I grieved my Christmas pasts. I missed not being able to go to church. I missed family and friends. My beautiful step family came from interstate on the second Christmas post my leg break and that was so special. It helped me have the best of both worlds that year. We had a quiet Christmas Day as they arrived Boxing Day. It was a lovely new memory created within my new limitations. It was such a timely visit as it helped me adjust my Christmas Expectations further, from old life to new life. It was a gentle bridge.

Last year I really embraced our “Christmas for Two”. It was one of the most special times Peter and I have ever had. We had no set expectations. We decorated the tree, we bought beautiful food, I set a table for two with all the trimmings, we listened to Carols, opened way too many presents ( I went a little overboard on online shopping) and we watched a Christmas movie in the evening.

20161224_100039.jpg

There was no set agenda. If we ate at 3pm it didn’t matter. If we didn’t get dressed up it didn’t matter.

If I was really unwell or struggling with pain, it didn’t matter. Expectations were non-existent. All that mattered was that we were together, relaxing and celebrating in whatever way we could.

All that mattered was that Christmas Day, the most wonderful day of the year had arrived.

This Christmas – Another Adjustment Period

This Christmas will require even more adjustment to the way we celebrate.

I’ve just had major spinal surgery and I’m struggling to move and function with the days normal essentials, let alone add in celebrations.

We have a plan though. Everything will be scaled back even more than last year. It has to be. We did consider canceling Christmas altogether but quickly reminded ourselves the reason for the season is not the tinsel and trimmings. It’s to celebrate the birth of Jesus and the gift of eternal life that He brings.

With that in mind and the fact that I love the tinsel and the trimmings, we will just approach everything on a mini scale.

Our fibre optic table top tree will be just as pretty as our gorgeous larger one and so much easier to enjoy decorating. I’ll be able to help without ending up in hospital so that’s a bonus! Our nativity scene will be the focus.

We are going to listen to carols and watch as many Christmas shows as we like.

We will have a Christmas dinner but will eat it in the lounge room in comfort while watching a movie or Christmas Special. We’ll keep it all very simple with easy to prepare festive food.

All I Want For Christmas

I need peace and quiet and no pressure. Isn’t that really what Christmas is all about? Peace on earth, goodwill to men?

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. Luke 2 v 14  KJV

Time to heal, time to adjust, time to relax in peace. Time to reflect on what lies ahead.

That’s all I want for Christmas this year and I am so looking forward to it.

Mary and Joseph had a very uncertain and tumultuous time ahead of them that first Christmas. They needed to find a home. They needed to protect their baby from harm’s way.

Life doesn’t always run smoothly and the perfect Christmas card picture isn’t a true reflection of the real meaning of Christmas.

Whether you have chronic illness or not, sometimes stopping and questioning how you can simplify Christmas, can be quite the epiphany.

Now is a great time to set your realistic Christmas expectations. You can then head into this “most wonderful time of the year”, relaxed and ready to enjoy a very special and achievable Christmas…..one that’s just right for you!

Take care

Sam xx

If you’re looking for genuine support, care, understanding & friendship, you are so welcome to join my closed Facebook support forum, Medical Musings with Friends . It’s a safe place to connect with others living with chronic & complex diseases, who truly understand the daily challenges. A warm welcome awaits.

I’m a Contributor at “The Mighty”. You can check out my published articles at My Author Page

I also write @ Blogs by Christian Women

 

Please click here to read our Privacy Policy

awards_Community_(2)

WEGO Health Award 2018 Nominee