I’ve been through the holiday season several times since beginning this autoimmune journey. However, since it keeps getting worse (new and worsening symptoms) over the years, this holiday season has already started out with several frustrations. It’s amazing how little things can really affect your day/mood/attitude.
The first one has nothing to do with holidays, except that it happened over a holiday break. My daughter has wanted/needed shelving in her closet for some time. We went the day before Thanksgiving (she was off school) to get it. We came home and I was putting it together (your typical particle board with white laminate closet shelving that I’ve put together various versions of many times since college). It’s very difficult to hold a screw driver and turn in screws when both your fine motor skills and hand strength are lacking. But it became one of those “it’s the principle of the thing” moments…one of those times that “by God, I’m not going to let this stupid disease get the best of me this time.” By the end I was aching and hurting like crazy.
My mom makes the best cornbread dressing (I used to call it stuffing until I was corrected for the millionth time that it’s not stuffing unless you put it inside the bird…it’s dressing). It’s tradition in our house and since she was out of town visiting her dad for the holiday, it fell on me to make it (my husband has become a convert of it since joining our family and requests it). Not a big deal. I made the cornbread the night before (stirring is difficult for the same reasons as using the screwdriver), but not the end of the world.
Then the next morning I was making a pie crust (more difficulty with my hands) and then went to crumble the cornbread to make the dressing. It was next to impossible to make the motions to crumble the cornbread. Such a simple thing was so hard for me to do. I about broke down and it was only 10am.
The day after Thanksgiving it was time to put up the Christmas tree and decorations before the kids headed off to their dad’s for their holiday time with him. After the tree was up I decided that it was time for new ornaments…I’d had this color scheme for 4 years and I was in the mood for something different. So on Saturday I had some free time between to other appointments and got some new ornaments. But then I had to put the hooks in them and squeeze shut the part that connects to the ornament and hang them on the tree. Again, these fine motor skills are killing me!
They physically hurt and they are difficult to do (my fingers and hands don’t work the way my brain is telling them to), which reminds me of the neurological complications which then triggers not-happy feelings.
I’m pretty sure that wrapping presents and making Christmas cookies are going to this same type of frustrating experience. But I’ll do them because it’s the holidays and I want my kids to have as normal of a time as possible and I want to enjoy things like this with them.
But I just wish for something to be easy, to be normal…just one thing, anything, to be effortless again!