Surviving Christmas!

Merry Christmas everybody or should I be saying, Merry Christmas Eve. I wasn’t going to post a Christmas message this year. Then I decided that I couldn’t just let Christmas slip past without posting something. I love Christmas! Without a doubt, it’s my favourite time of the year. Our entire family gathers and spends time at our cottages on the lake. Our extended family is large and everyone comes home for the holidays. It really is special as we are a very close family.

Now as much as I love Christmas that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t come without its challenges. As well as being the season that I love the most it can also be one of the hardest times of the year for me. It becomes this balancing act of trying not to let my symptoms get worse and at the same time enjoy the time spent with my family. I wish I could say there’s a magic formula on how to do this but there isn’t.

Stress is an enemy to my body at this time of the year. Actually it’s my enemy all the time! So I do my best to keep it at a minimum however I might need to make that happen. This is the case with so many of us who live with chronic illness. With all of the visiting, parties, shopping, and everything else Christmas self-care becomes really important. This being said everyone’s way of managing those stresses is going to look a little different.

Although it’s this balancing act that I have to manage there are two things that get me through more than anything else. Family and all the support they give me is one. They understand the difficulties that I face at this time of the year. They also understand and accept all the ways that I have to adapt things in order to manage my way through Christmas. Without this type of support and acceptance, it would make it so much more difficult for me.

My faith, however, is the most important piece in all of this. I can’t speak for anyone other than myself. Without my faith, all of this is so much harder to navigate. So Christmas is all the more meaningful to me because I focus on why we celebrate at this time of the year. Knowing that I don’t have to fight this battle on my own makes it so much easier to keep going.

I’m not saying that I don’t have moments in this season when things can be hard. What I am saying however is that I’m choosing to focus on some really positive parts of my life that make this time of the year great. What are you choosing?

Finding Joy and Happiness Through Christmas

In my efforts to stay ahead of the game I’m back at it trying to keep up with the writing. Is it just me or did the Christmas season this year seem to really creep up on us? Today we have the Christmas music on in our house, as we busily work away decorating and putting up the tree. This has to be my favorite time of the year by far! When our kids finish school for the break we pack ourselves up and move out to our cottage at the lake. Christmas for us is all about spending time with our family. Its also a time to just slow the pace down and take care of myself.
There are so many “great” memories associated with this season for me both old and new. Everything from different family traditions to the amazing smells that fill our houses. I think to some degree we all turn into kids again at Christmas. We can’t wait to watch the classics like “Rudolph” or “Santa Claus is Coming To Town” with the family. It seems like just yesterday that I was listening to the radio reports of the Santa Tracker as we anticipated his arrival from the North Pole! There’s just something so crazy special about the build up leading up to Christmas morning whether your a child or not. 
All of these memories with family that we are creating both past and present, help in a season that can sometimes be very difficult to get through. Most people don’t understand the affect that chronic illness has on a person around this time of the year. Pain levels increase and mental health can become a struggle creating challenges that individuals have to work themselves through. Sometimes I think those challenges that we face take center stage, and we forget about all the good things we still have in our lives. Family and all those special moments we spend together at Christmas are at the core of all that!                    
One Christmas that sticks out in particular involves my grandmother and a flaming roast. I was too young at the time to remember all the details but as story goes she was carrying Christmas dinner to the table which involved flaming brandy. She was getting older and so she wasn’t as steady anymore. As she walked to the table the tray tilted, causing flaming brandy to drip off onto the carpet. What I understand was that there was a trail of burn marks left behind what could have turned out to be much more serious. It seems like every year without fail, the story about my grandmother almost torching the house comes up!
Not all of the memories are as crazy as that one though. It was the simple things like having breakfast together as a family Christmas morning.  Dad and one of my sisters would have a contest every year as to who could drag breakfast out the longest. Dad would take an hour sipping away at his coffee and my sister would take the same amount of time to eat a sausage or whatever the food of choice was.The rest of us would sit there waiting impatiently to get to the presents. Even something like having those Christmas crackers with the crazy little hats that you would wear at dinner were a must at our house. Why? Because it was a tradition and it wasn’t Christmas without them on the table. 
As an adult I can’t help but laugh thinking about the good times spent over the holidays with my wife’s family. We would awake to my father in-law slowly turning up the song “White Christmas” at the crack of dawn! Every so often he would turn it up until we couldn’t take it anymore! The list of goes on and on but there are two common denominators with all of these great moments. They involve family and that they bring a smile to my face time and time again. Without a doubt things are a bit different these days but it doesn’t mean that everything about the Christmas season has to be bad.
The other thing I want you to think about is why we celebrate Christmas? The whole reason that we celebrate at this time of the year is because of the birth of Jesus! We get to remember the one gift that we so seriously need to be thankful for. Without Him I’m not the person I am today.   
So I encourage you to look at things with a different perspective. One that focuses on the positive and the good things that surround you! 


A Chronic Christmas!

The first thing I want to pass on to everyone is a big Merry Christmas! In the next few hours I’ll be headed out to the lake where it truly is a winter wonderland, to celebrate Christmas with all our family which are too many to count. I also hope that all of you are getting through this holiday season without too much pain. This is that time of the year where things get a bit crazy in the chronic world! Schedules get crazy busy and stress levels increase causing lots of extra pain. It can be a time of the year that spoonies just want to forget because its such a taxing time on your body! Christmas in the chronic world can be filled with so much pain and suffering!

Honestly I struggled with what type of a post to put together because usually I put together one that speaks towards how to get through the Christmas season! I felt it was more important to put together a message with hope and encouragement, especially at this time of the year when people are feeling so discouraged. I get it because I’ve been living it! I’ve had those moments when you just want Christmas to be over, and your just barely hanging on for dear life. I understand just how much strength and determination it takes to battle through Christmas with all the extra stress.

When it comes to a message I wanted to keep it simple, and I’ll be open and honest. Like I’ve said before I put my life in Gods hands and let him shoulder everything in my life. So the key for me is allowing God to be the driver in my life. When things get hard I turn to Him! When I feel alone in this fight I turn to Him! When I think that I just can’t carry on this fight I turn to Him! See its pretty straight forward isn’t it! Yes absolutely there are things I have to do during the Christmas season to make things just a bit easier to live with my chronic illness. However only God can provide all our needs and you have to be willing to trust Him with your life! So at Christmas I trust Him all the more when things get difficult. Do you? Merry Christmas everyone!

Merry Christmas!

It’s a busy time right now for most of us as we try and get ready for Christmas in a few days. If you have kids like I do then you have concerts and last minute preparations to make before Christmas morning, along with so much more to do. In a few days I’ll be heading out to the lake for Christmas to gather with family for the holidays, so I’m trying to be a bit pro active and organize a few posts for between now and when I get back. I want to take a few days away from the computer in order to focus my time on what’s most important my family! The next post you read will be from my blog friend Julie over at ” it’s just a bad day not a bad life “  who has been nice enough to put together DSC_9288post for me. If you get the chance go on over and check out her site

Recovery continues to be very slow but things are moving in the right direction. It takes next to nothing right now for a flare up to start but I’m managing better than I was which is a good sign. I’m in this for the long haul and there’s a fight starting to come back that’s been missing for a bit. We all go through our periods where discouragement tries to set in, and I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t been dealing with some of that over the last couple of months now. To say that this latest surgery hasn’t knocked me a bit off track wouldn’t be the truth. It’s been really hard to stay focused and positive when the recovery process has been so slow. You begin to wonder if anything will change because from day to day the changes are so small. When this whole implant process began a few years ago I entered into it knowing that there were going to be a few bumps and bruises along the way. Did I expect so many bumps along the way? No! Never in a million years. It comes with the territory though when you sign the paperwork, and you have to deal with it the best you can! I need to look at the fact that in the end, these implants give me hope and do make a difference in my quality of life.

They say the best medicine is to laugh and that’s what I intend to do with our family over the Christmas break. All the schoolwork, sports activities, and other scheduled stuff that makes life so busy will be put on hold for a week to spend time out at the place you see below otherwise known as our cottage. There’s no other place I’d rather be at this time of the year. With the exception of missing all of my family out in Vancouver!

There’s nothing better than all gathering at the amazing rink my inlaws make every year for our families to enjoy. Our cottage is just down the road from here. I couldn’t be more blessed than to have a place like this to go out to every Christmas. Pictures and words really don’t describe how therapuetic this place is when we go out there. It really is like being in a Winter Wonderland with music to skate to as well. Now with my CRPS I can’t skate but I sure can take in all the atmosphere that gets created in this magical place. The laughing and all the good times! The even better memories that have been created over the years in this special place. Not everyone is blessed to have a place like this to go to, and so for that reason I never take it for granted. So for the next week we will move out there and I’ll be able to go to my happy place never forgetting how much God has blessed my life.

I’d like to come back in the new year refreshed and and full of energy. Its been a tough year one that’s seen some downs and distractions taking place. My goals in 2015 are to awaken that fire that’s within me to beat down CRPS and to once again start doing things that people have told me I can no longer do. So often people say that things will never change and that life can never be as good as it was. Well I refuse to see it that way and I expect to see great things for my life. So with that being said Merry Christmas to you all!