Here are some of the most annoying things about getting through the holidays with Lyme disease, ME, or fibromyalgia:
1) If we actually feel well enough to go somewhere, we will probably be allergic to all the food.
2) We may have to ask someone to make us special food. This creates guilt and makes others think we’re high maintenance. Or we may bring our own, allergen-free food. Then there’s anxiety. What if someone eats our one safe dish?! We can’t very well say, “No, that’s just for me,” right?
3) People will ask us how we’re doing. They want to hear “fine.” They do not want to hear, “My doctor upped my meds and I am extremely constipated, and I’m taking a new herb because I apparently still have that parasite that just doesn’t want to leave.”
4) Sugar, sugar, everywhere. Can you say “candida feeding frenzy”?? Sometimes I feel the little candida organisms screaming “FEED ME” whenever someone brings out a cake. No, really, I hear them. They’re loud.
4) Many of us do not have the energy to go buy nice gifts. Or any gifts. And we have no money because we spent everything on acupuncture, massage, and supplements.
5) If we got sick during our childbearing years, a lot of us do not have kids. It can be depressing to watch other people with their families (unless we’re visiting a really, really dysfunctional family, in which case we have that thank-God-I-didn’t-do-that feeling).
6) There’s a good chance we will be trapped for hours in a crappy, pain-causing chair. If we bring any sort of back support pillow, it attracts attention and causes others to discuss 1) their own back/shoulder problems 2) their sister’s scoliosis surgery and resulting OxyContin addiction 3) some treatment they saw on Dr. Oz and remember very vaguely.
Note: If there is no Crappy Chair, some aspect of getting to The Destination might cause pain.
7) Many families do not allow members to talk about health. The whole family is aware, the sick relative may be sitting right there, yet illness is Something That Is Not Discussed. I think this is because of fear and also because of a pervasive “blame the victim” attitude towards chronically ill people, as though we brought our problems on ourselves. People think if they exercise and eat well they won’t get sick. Well, before I got sick, I worked out four times a week, ate a hybrid of the Atkins and South Beach diets, and took supplements. We have far less control over our bodies than we think.
8) We have to figure out how much socializing/activity we can handle without increasing our symptoms. This is hard to calculate. If I take a walk in the snow, will it cause a flareup? If I stay up late chatting, how will I feel for the next few days? If I have a bite of anything sweet, will it feed the Lyme and/or the candida?
This year I’m staying home.