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.

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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

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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.

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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

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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!

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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.

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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

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WEGO Health Award 2018 Nominee

 

Faith, Hope and Love – Merry Christmas

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Oh how I love this time of the year! Carols playing, tree decorating, wrapping presents with beautiful paper & ribbons, christmas cake & pudding and yummy mince pies.

As I think about this season and the memories it conjures up in my mind, I can’t help but contrast my current Christmas to my Christmases past. They were full of a busy church calendar of services, singing in choirs or singing solos at church which all meant nights of rehearsals. Meeting up with family & friends, end of year functions and fitting all of this in while working full time. Despite the hustle and bustle of the season the true meaning of Christmas, faith, hope and love was always with me.

Now, I shop online, sing carols at home, enjoy all things festive with my husband but the hustle and bustle is gone. I am the same person as I was in those past Christmases but I have a very different body. Now I need to lie down at least 3 times a day to allow my legs time to rest and heal. Going out into the hustle and bustle is not a great idea on crutches with an unreliable bone disease,  so any outings are carefully planned & quiet locations sought.

What remains the same is my love of Christmas. Faith, hope and love endures.

Faith in the story of Christmas. That the baby born in Bethlehem was the Son of God. He was born that we might live. He was born to die to save us from our sins and to rise again to go to prepare a place for those who believe in him. Those who are prepared to call him Lord and Saviour.

Hope that because of the Christmas story I have a future that will one day be without pain.

Love, the greatest love story ever told. It truly is the most wonderful time of the year and no matter the restrictions of my body, my heart sings and my soul jumps for joy!

Happy Christmas to all my readers. May you find the Faith, Hope and Love of the true Christmas story xx

A Break of a Different Kind

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I left my Orthopaedic Surgeons office yesterday with a spring in my step which is quite an achievement on two crutches.

I have been given a leave pass. A holiday. A break. A good break, not a leg break 🙂

6 months of no leg xrays, surgery or appointments with my Surgeon. He is giving me a holiday and I am so excited!! I couldn’t have received a better early Christmas present.

My break is still broken but that is not the subject of this blog post, it is purely celebratory. I am facing major surgery on the leg in 6 months but I’m not going to dwell on that.

I am focusing on rest and recreation and getting my body in the best physical shape possible. Good food, good sleep, good rest periods and gentle exercise as able. Perfect!

As Christmas approaches I really am grateful for this reprieve. Advent is a time of preparation. A time to think and ponder about the birth of Christ and what that means to me and to the world in general. I like to think of it as a time to clear away all the rubble of the past year. It is actually the start of the Church year so it is a New Year in many regards. A fresh start.

What better time to receive good news yesterday and be told to take time out to rest and renew.

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