Thanksgiving and Christmas are coming!
I know that people always comment on how fast the holidays get here after the year prior, so I wanted to write a post to provide some resources for navigating the holidays when you have a chronic illness. This way you can be prepared as you move into the holiday season!
Last year, I experienced my first Thanksgiving and Christmas post-diagnosis. Symptoms had come and gone for years prior to diagnosis (and I can actually remember multiple Christmases of not feeling well), but last year was the first time things were debilitating enough to change the way I participated in festivities.
When I started thinking about the holidays, I honestly felt sadder than I did when thinking about my daily way of life. My treatment protocol was intense, but adding dietary restrictions, depression, and low energy levels to the mix caused uncertainty about participating in anything.
While there were certainly some low points for me during the months of November and December of last year, I learned some things about navigating the holidays when you have a chronic illness.
A crisis strikes.
Hope appears lost.
There is pain, discouragement, and feelings of uncertainty.
You’re not sure what to do.
Life with a chronic illness is full of ups and downs. At certain points, the ups don’t reach very high and the downs seem to go deeper than you ever imagined.
Things are hard. There’s no denying that.
But what happens next will determine the the character of your life.
Hello there, sweet reader!
I want you to know that I am so glad you are here!
Since our community has been growing in recent months, I wanted to write a blog post that tells a little bit more of the heart behind the writing on this site.
My name is Emily Lofgren. I’m 26 years old, and I am currently treating Lyme Disease, co-infections, Pyroluria, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, and more. Life with chronic illness has been a hard journey for me. I’ve hard periods of times when I wanted to give up, but there was always this deeper, lasting hope within me as the Holy Spirit worked to keep me aware of His presence.
I am a Christian. I love the Lord and desire for my life to reflect Christ. My goal in writing here is to help others who are facing similar life experiences with chronic illness. I want those who are hurting to know that they are not alone and that the Lord will meet them in the midst of the pain.
A little over a year ago, I released an eBook called Finding Hope Through the Fog. It shares about my struggles with chronic illness and what it meant to turn to God when it felt like things are hopeless. I’d love to give you a free copy!
A life with debilitating chronic illness can be isolating.
I know this firsthand.
If you’re reading this post, you may also understand the isolation that comes when chronic illness keeps you from living what many would consider a “normal life.”
In this rough season of treating Lyme Disease and other chronic health conditions, the majority of my time has been spent in bed.
At some points, I could barely leave my apartment once a week. My boyfriend would come by with groceries or supper to help get me through the time until I had enough strength to make it out again. Occasionally, another friend would stop by to visit or bring a meal.
I had interaction, but it wasn’t often.
Long weeks of being alone can take a toll on a person.
I ran into a friend today.
We bumped into each other at the polling place as I went to cast my vote for school board. She was working the polls as she does each election.
This is a friend I used to work with on occasion in my previous position. I always enjoyed getting the chance to work with her.
Today, she asked me about how I’m doing. It’s a fair question that people ask when they see me around town. They care. They want to know more. But the fear of answering this question sometimes causes me to turn the other way when I spot a neighbor in the grocery store. It also leads me to walk past an acquaintance in a restaurant, avoiding eye contact and hoping they don’t notice me.
Avoidance behaviors can quickly become my everyday existence if I’m not careful. But having to explain my complex health situation to others adds to the anxiety I’m already trying to get under control.
So I struggle with explaining my current life situation to other people.