Saturday, November 25, 2017

Birthdays With Chronic Illness + Chronic Pain | "Feel Better on Your Special Day!"

When people wish me a "Happy Birthday," it never fails that many people will say "I hope you feel better on your special day" or something like that. I don't fault them at all for wishing me well on my birthday in fact, I'm glad they do! My conundrum comes when I need to reply.

Should I be I honest and reply to the poor unsuspecting person who said "I hope you are feeling better!" with saying "Actually, it was a horrible day. I celebrated by tossing my cookies and ate nothing -not even regular food- the whole day.  I fell because I'm still relearning how to walk balance-wise and it hurt! And I was crawling out of my skin because my pain level was so high. I was actually writhing. George and I scratched even the lowest key celebration ideas and it resembled more of a really hellish regular day than anything like a birthday."

In reality I say, "Thank you! I hope you are doing well!" or maybe something specific to what they said. Why don't I respond to what they say about hoping I have a good day? I mean, they mentioned it, not me! Why do I have this need to protect THEM instead of being heard for what I suffered through?

I don't really have the answer. I actually do this quite a lot. I didn't really tell anyone except my family that I would be completely alone for Thanksgiving this year which was a heart wrenching decision. George went out of town to be with family and I stayed behind because of my health. And my health prevented me from telling people I know locally who probably would've invited me to their Turkey Day tables. And because my diet is more restrictive than ever, I wouldn't have been able to accept left-overs.

The best answer I have as to why I sometimes hide reality of my life with others is because experience has told me that it is easier if I don't mention it. I'm painfully honest on my vlog, but my explanation for that is that you have to choose to watch my vlog, you can't help but see your feed on social media. Make sense?

Early on in my chronic illness journey, I was always torn when people would ask me how I was. As I'm an open book. I would always answer by talking about my health and I'd notice people were often uncomfortable. My counselor at the time recommended that I think of the question, "How are you?" as being more superficial and if they wanted to ask deeper, they would. So, I adhere to that as it is a good rule of thumb. But again, I can't do that on social media.

Vlogging changed the game for me because those who are interested in my health have had their eyes peeled WIDE open to what has been my reality for a while. And I am so glad for the change. And now, if anyone who asked me about my birthday also watches my Wahle Warrior Vlog, they will now know that my birthday was pretty hellish this year.

Thanksgiving Travel Plans | Belated Birthday Celebration With Chronic Illness {11-19-2017}


On this Wahle Warriors Vlog, George and I discussed our upcoming travel plans for Thanksgiving and we based the decision for me not going on my health but also on how much stress it would put on George. As my caregiver, he does SO MANY THINGS. And if you watch my vlog regularly, you see that. It was clear to me that his need to have respite from me and all things disabling chronic illnesses was GREATER than my need to go to see his family. (I was ready to go no matter what the consequences to my health.)

And by the way, it is okay and good to be honest about this. I don't take George's need for a break personally. He is greatly affected by my health physically and emotionally and sometimes respite it is what he needs. I don't take it personally because my health affects me too and I get it. My health is not me, it is my health - a separate entity. I wish I could have a break from it too! (It also helps that I was a respite care worker, taking kids with behavioral challenges on outings to give their parents a break. The kids weren't bad - they just had challenges that they couldn't control.) In truth, I wanted to go to Thanksgiving with George. But more than going, I wanted  George to be able to relax and be fully present on the trip.

Additionally, last Christmas we missed going to George's family for Christmas because I was going through the worst of my recovery of re-learning how to walk balance-wise. Christmas day was actually the worst day vertigo and disequilibrium-wise. And as I was hypersensitive, I couldn't even tolerate George being in the room. His entire Christmas vacation that he had taken off of work intending to be with his family, he stayed to take care of me (bringing me food + walking me to the toilet) but the rest of the time he was painfully alone. It broke both of our hearts.

So many reasons for him to go this year. We didn't actually talk that much about our Thanksgiving decision on camera, which is why I thought I'd share more about it here. In the video above, you can see our fun make-up celebration for my birthday! It was SO much fun!

QUESTION OF THE DAY: How has chronic illness or chronic pain affected or not affected your birthday? Answer below or on the video's comments!

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Hold onto Hope, Love this Day & Remember YOU are NOT alone!
-Kelly

Instagram: KellyFlyWithHope

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