We have been so blessed to have had a busy Fall and beginning of Winter. Our Josh and Lauren got married in October at beautiful mountain lodge in Montana and family and friends came from all over the world (literally) to join in this wonderful celebration! It was a whirlwind of fun, love, laughter and getting to know our new extended family and visiting with lots of loved ones. We then brought one of our dearest friends (who we call our sister) home with us and the visiting continued with here and her mother.
My sister Leonie came for a visit and after almost 37 years apart, we had so much to catch up on! We celebrated Thanksgiving together with most of our kids, all the grandkids, and cousin, took her to see the Christmas lights in Coeurd'Alene, Idaho, and went shopping for some things that she needed for her upcoming trip to China. It was a long awaited and prayed for trip for both her and I and one that I will always treasure.
Jeff hurt his knee again and we made yet another trip to the doctor only to find out that it was really bad with lots of damage and most likely needs surgery. He has an appointment for an MRI in January and then goes to an orthopedic surgeon to see if they can fix it or if he is going to need total knee replacement surgery (the doctor is already leaning towards the latter). He got really stressed about the possibility of upcoming surgery and having to take all the recovery time off of work. He does not want to let his employer down. This led to lots of stress here at home for both he and I and trying to come up with a plan for the possible loss of income during that time period and trying to cut costs now so we can come up with the money for the surgery somehow. Since we are a single income family (his), this really is a huge cause of concern.
We also have been busy getting ready for Christmas and doing lots of baking and candy making. We did cut back on things like sending out cards this year and our gifts to others are finally being sent out this week (Happy New Year!). We did our first round of Christmas over the weekend and will do another this week with Jaysn, Rachel and Steven since they were not able to join us for round one with Steven having been ill. I so enjoy Christmas with our family!
With all the things above, we have spent quite a bit of money, time and energy, which is to be expected. For a healthy person, this would all take it's toll on you, but for someone with a chronic illness, this is overwhelming and can lead to all sorts of complications, setbacks and issues.
Eating lots of goodies and different foods had definitely ramped up my IBS. Oh my goodness. These past 3 months my poor body has not known how to handle all of this so it has rebelled big time. Pepto Bismal has been my friend and I have even taken it "preemtively" just to be on the safe side when I know we are going to be having things that may upset my stomach. Bloating, gas, upset stomach and sticking close to home just in case...neeed I go on? Yuck! I have also gained weight due to all the calorie rich goodies. Not good. I am trying to make things here at home for Jeff and I that I know are easy on both our tummies as much as possible and eat healthier in general.
Sleep is something that continues to be an issue. I either cannnot sleep or I get to the point where the not sleeping has reached a critical point and I crash and cannot stay awake. At those times I end up napping, which I know my body needs, but it ends up throwing me back into the not being able to sleep at night cycle. This is my "normal" year round, but it gets so much worse during busy times of the year and the holiday season.
The body aches and brain fog also kick into high gear. I can't think straight or find the right words more often than not. My body hurts so badly that I am near tears frequently and all my senses are hightened. I find myself needing to retreat from the world and stay in a quiet and dark room because sounds and bright lights are overwhelming. This leads to depression, which is not fun. I know that people see me enjoying being with friends and family, and I really do enjoy and need that, but what they don't see is the aftermath and the leading up to it when I am totally spent, in pain, and exhausted.
I do try to pace myself so that I can enjoy those special times with those I love most in the world. I refuse to give those times up because honestly, that is what brings me joy and keeps me going. Anyone who knows anything about me knows that the most important thing in my life is my family...they are our treasures here on earth and how precious they all are to us!
I have a few commitments in January that I will be keeping, but everything else will be put on hold. I need the time to just let down, relax and recover for a bit. My health will always be a struggle for me, but I need to get back to a slower pace and try to find a balance once again. Our family all knows this and they have been wonderfully supportive of both Jeff and I. Our kids, wanting to take some financial pressure off of Jeff and I, bought us a ton of wood pellets for our stove and delivered them to us over the weekend. This is something that we needed and with the added medical costs coming in for Jeff's knee, meant that financially it was going to be a stretch to meet all of our bills. I will admit that I got all teared up when I found out they were doing this for us. What a blessing they and the pellets are. That should get us through another 2-3 months, depending on how cold the weather gets.
Yes, being chronically ill makes it hard to enjoy the holidays and happenings at times and yes, I pay dearly for doing so but I refuse to let this stop me from participating in all that I am able to. There is a huge price to pay for me but it is worth it.