Have yourself a Merry Chronic Christmas…

The holidays can be both enjoyable and stressful when you are dealing with a chronic illness. I’ve learned that boundaries are important. I’m not always the best at enforcing my boundaries, but after being sick for the past four months, I need to be extra cautious with my health.

🎄You may want to do everything festive, but is okay to say “No”. If I say, “No” to something, please respect it. Don’t try to convince me I will have fun if I try, or I only have to participate for a little bit. Personally, I say no when I am in pain or out of “energy” it’s important to not push myself. Pushing myself leads to pain and extreme fatigue. I know my limits. Please accept my boundaries.

⏰Give me notice: I often struggle to do things spur of the moment.  If you want me to meet you over the holidays, you have to give me more than a few minutes’ notice.  I know things pop up, and I am okay that I can’t make it.  If I am going out at night, I need to rest during the day. Don’t stop calling for those last minute get-togethers; just be aware that I will often say no.

🗣️Be my friend, not my doctor: Let’s not chat about remedies or cures or tell me I’m sick because I’m vaccinated. You are not my doctor. Talk to me about work, kids, school, and life. 

😷Be social but safe: Understand that big gatherings can cause me to risk my health. If I am up to it, I may mask up to attend. My health is fragile after 4 months of illness, and I have to put myself first. I’d love to gather together, and it makes me sad that I can’t always do it. Don’t rub it in by giving me a hard time.

📲Don’t forget about me:  Life gets busy.  I may not always be able to get together, but a simple text or call letting me know you care how I am doing means a lot.  Fill me in on your life.  Just because my life is limited at times doesn’t mean I don’t like hearing about yours.

🎁The key is to enjoy the holidays any way you like. Spend time with family, friends, or pets. There is no right or wrong. Be you, do something to make yourself happy, and be merry.🎅🏻

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Kelly holds masters degrees in both Special Education and Speech-Language Pathology. She works full-time as a speech-language pathologist in both a public school setting and as an adjunct faculty member at a university, in Philadelphia, PA. She specializes in both autism and augmentative/alternative communication and took her skills to Uganda, Africa to start a special needs program for disabled children living in an orphanage in 2011. Kelly began experiencing symptoms of autoimmune arthritis in 1984 (while in her teens) but wasn’t officially diagnosed with autoimmune arthritis until 2001. Her first diagnosis was Sjogren’s syndrome. Eventually her diagnosis was changed to sero-negative RA and now Polyarticular Spondlyoarthropathy. She also manages thyroid disease (resulting from Graves Disease), fibromyalgia, renin-deficient hypertension, and disseminated superficial actinic porokeratosis (DSAP) on a daily basis. Kelly connected with other autoimmune arthritis patients via social media in 2008. She began volunteering with the “Buckle Me UP! Movement”, which evolved into the International Autoimmune Arthritis Movement (IAAM) beginning in 2009. Then became a cofounder of IFAA in 2013. She has represented the ACR on Capitol Hill as an Advocate for Arthritis, was a finalist in Wego Health’s Health Activist Hero awards in 2014, and speaks at various healthcare conferences as a patient advocate in the Philadelphia area.

One thought on “Have yourself a Merry Chronic Christmas…

  1. I have my holiday plan all worked out. The first thing is get me a giant load of fireworks. The one’s that shoot mini balls of fire. Then stand out along the state highway and shot them at cars. I am going to start that around 10 AM on Christmas day.

    I will get arrest by 11AM and then get to the county jail so I can some of that Christmas turkey. It is good stuff. I missed thanksgiving turkey so I will arrive early this time.

    After thanksgiving the judge said if he saw me back for setting off shotguns he would lock me up for 6 months. He did not say a thing about those roman candles.

    It will be a great three days in in jail. Sheryl wont join me however. So i am looking for a buddy or 10. I am so excited.


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