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Delightful or Dreaded December?

by InvisiblyMe

December Review

It’s time to whip out the ‘C’ word as I can avoid it no longer – it’s officially the start of December, the year is drawing to a close, & Christmas is sneaking up. Will whoever stole several months from this year (and even made off with a couple of full years prior, for that matter) please return them at their earliest convenience, thank you.

I didn’t sleep for even a minute all night and the past week has been rather poor on the Zzzs front too, so I’m way past over tired; my brain is mushier than usual and it feels like there’s lemon juice being squeezed into my eyes. With that out of the way and my excuses made for a boring ramble of a post, I’ll get on with it!

I hope you all had a decent December, and have managed to stay as well as possible. I think it’s important at this point to take stock of things, get a little perspective, and start out the month afresh with an idea of how you want it to look. If you celebrate Christmas, it can be a stressful time of the year and dealing with all of that when you’ve got a chronic/invisible illness can make things harder still. Make it a priority to schedule in “me time” to simply rest and recharge.

[  Health Update  ]

So, I mentioned before I got the flu and another chest infection in November, the second time for both in 3 months. Long story short, the chest infection was making a third reappearance. I’m now on a short dose of steroids, which are working quite well. I’ve also done in my right rib quite badly from the coughing so that’s been excruciating; a pulled muscle and possibly the lining rubbing the rib explains the internal pain, and the external pain is apparently likely a broken rib. There’s nothing that can be done other than allowing it time to heal itself. Avoiding X-rays currently as the doctor is concerned another will “light you up like a lightbulb”!

The last blood test shows a few recurring deficiencies so I’m dealing with those, and I’ve also got some ‘homework’ to do for the pain management clinic in terms of charting my activity, sleep and rest over a two week period.

Despite being unwell and more in pain than usual, I’m still trying to take some walks when I can, even if it’s in to town to run errands & pick up a few bits, then get a bus home. Don’t underestimate the power of stretching your legs and getting some fresh air, especially if you can take a more scenic route sometimes to escape from life for a few minutes. I even made a friend while walking to the doctors. I swear he was eyeing me up, and perhaps mistook my leg for a tree trunk.

An up close photo I took on my walk of a squirrel.
Eyeing me up to assess the suitability of my legs as a tree trunk.

[  Live To Learn  ]

Various things haven’t gone to plan over November and I’ve fallen rather behind. One thing I’d wanted to do was make a start on another free course or two from FutureLearn (via the Open University). With added effort and a little strategic planning, I’m hoping to get started and catch up asap.

[  The Dreaded ‘C’ Word  ]

A small Christmas Grinch toy with lights wrapped around him.

I had hoped it would fall on December 32nd this year but it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen. I honestly feel as though I’m fresh out of f*cks to give when it comes to Christmas sometimes.

Uh-oh. I need to quieten my inner Christmas Grinch – he’s a grumpy fellow & I already have too many frown lines, so I need to make a concerted effort to cultivate at least a little merry cheer. I’m sure I’ll feel a little more Christmassy as the month goes on, but my feelings on it have changed back and forth over time so I’m more on the fence these days.

First step – buying some lights for the rather sad looking Christmas tree shoved in the corner as sparkles will surely hide the lopsided branches, while the constant flashes will help induce that drunken feeling even when no alcohol is being consumed. Win-win.

An A4 piece of paper in which I've written "Christmas Gift Lift" and decorated it in green and red. A Sharpie pen is on the paper.

Step two – draw up a Christmas gift ideas sheet. I’ll jot notes of ideas when I’m browsing for the people I need to buy for. On this sheet, I’ve left a space for my brother, my parents, and a box between each of my parents for any combined/household gift ideas. I’ll then write in another colour and tick off what I’ve bought so I can keep track of things. Do you have some kind of gift organisation system in place to prevent panic buying at the last minute this year? You can check out my tips on coping with a Chronic Illness Christmas here.

[  Grateful Moments  ]

  • I’m grateful I got out this week to see an old family friend for coffee, which was lovely! It made for a rare social occasion for me and I revisited my home town where I spent 23 odd years (and I’m also grateful to have left, as it’s now more enjoyable for a short visit & less emotionally charged with negativity after such time away).
  • I’m grateful my local community is doing all it can to help and support the homeless, vulnerable and disadvantaged this winter and Christmas. I’ve made donations and it’s spurred me to go through a few extra bits for charity shops while I’m at it too.
  • I’m grateful to the wonderful nurse that I saw this week. What a stark contrast she was to the nightmare triage nurse a few days earlier! There really are some very unhelpful, even rude and upsetting people in the health care sector. But it’s also true that there are some incredible ones, so I wanted to give her a mention as she restored my faith & did everything she could to help me.

[  Onwards & Upwards  ]

My calendar is full of various appointments for this month, some to take my father to and the rest for me; rheumatology, pain management, pernicious anaemia jab, GP, surgical consult etc. I’m hoping to take a trip out next week to mooch around the shops, but it’s hard making plans when you never know how you’re going to feel. It’ll be slow going, with lots of breaks and I probably won’t last for very long before my Duracell bunny batteries run out, but it’ll be an accomplishment of sorts. For December, I’m going to work a little harder at pacing, at setting more reasonable, manageable goals.

Remember, whatever you’re struggling with, we can still take pride and a sense of achievement from the smallest of things, whether that’s having a shower and picking up groceries, or cooking a healthy meal and taking a 5 minute stroll. Keep it simple, listen to your body and what you need, and try to strike a balance between pushing yourself and overdoing things. Life with a chronic/invisible illness can be difficult at the best of times, let alone around the holidays, so go easy on yourself and take things one step at a time.

What’s your December looking like? Are you looking forward to this festively themed time of the year, or do you harbour a hidden Grinch inside too?

Caz  β™₯

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Suzanne Cox December 2, 2017 - 5:50 pm

I have mixed feelings about Christmas on the whole and can only imagine how hard it must be when you have a chronic illness and Christmas takes so much stamina. I think you are so right in taking small things as achievements, this can apply to anyone regardless of health and as for fresh air to get away from everything, that certainly helps. Have you thought about doing your shopping online, maybe even using cashback, so that you can save your energy for aspects of Christmas that are a bit more fun. Personally think that less is more when it comes to Christmas gifts, even with kids. Take it easy

InvisiblyMe December 2, 2017 - 7:02 pm

I do a lot of browsing online, looking for ideas and maybe deals (though less so when it comes to gifts admittedly, I’m more ‘tight’ when it comes to buying things for myself), cashback, discount codes etc. It’s a wonderful resource to have, and I think it must be an absolute life-saver for those less capable of leaving the house, let alone mooching around shops and carrying bags around with them. You’re right – at least a good portion of energy should be saved for the aspects of Christmas that are worthwhile, valuable and fun! I hope you manage to get a bit of time outdoors for some fresh air to refresh you (just wrap up warm!) Thanks for the comment Suzanne, it’s much appreciated – have a lovely weekend πŸ™‚ xx

Natalie | Surviving life's hurdles December 2, 2017 - 8:25 pm

I’m one of those annoying people who loves Christmas, even with a chronic illness. Since I had my son, I’m even worse, especially this year with doing and advent calendar of activities (small ones which won’t wear me out). I honestly wish I’d come up with the idea of doing a Christmas activities advent for myself years ago, it is so much fun and it makes you do Christmassy things and get in a festive mood! All the best with your courses too, that sounds like a great idea! I hope your health picks up a bit over the next few weeks, I’m sure that would help you feel more excited about Christmas. Enjoy going for your walks and take care xx

Invisibly Me December 5, 2017 - 4:29 pm

I love that you get so excited about Christmas! Enjoy the festivities and Christmas activities my lovely, and thank you as always for your support and taking the time to comment on here πŸ™‚
Caz xx

lifeofangela December 2, 2017 - 8:58 pm

I know a few people who aren’t too fond of Christmas. It can get a little over the top at times. I’m one who’s always up for festivities, but having been to the mall the past few days, it does seem a little crazy at times. Shopping online is definitely an option, as you get to avoid the craziness. I’m also with you on celebrating the small accomplishments, they shouldn’t be overlooked πŸ˜€

Invisibly Me December 5, 2017 - 4:31 pm

It definitely can get quite crazy, especially where shopping malls and city centres are concerned! Only shopping certainly has it’s benefits at times like this…! Thanks for taking the time to comment lovely, and all the best with your shopping & Christmas prep πŸ™‚
Caz xx

Terri, Reclaiming Hope December 2, 2017 - 9:00 pm

Great post Caz! I’m sorry to see you’re still dealing with your chest infection. I hope you’ll be completely cleared up before long. I found myself feeling a little β€œgrinchy β€œ the other day when I looked at my long to-do list, but I’ve been doing those small things you were talking about and I realized today that I’ve gotten more done than I thought I had. I love your gift idea organizer! I may have to borrow that… Wishing you a wonderful holiday season!

Invisibly Me December 5, 2017 - 4:33 pm

I think sometimes breaking down those daunting to-do lists and looking at the smaller things and how they add up can be so helpful, and as you said, you often end up having done more than you realised already. Thank you for the lovely comment and I hope you can enjoy the run-up to Christmas without the stress Grinch getting in the way! Take care xx

myfamilyhomeblog December 2, 2017 - 9:09 pm

I love your grateful moments and, I agree, there are some pretty awful people working in the healthcare system, I have often wondered why some of them are there they are so cynical and bitter,

I hope you put yourself first this December and don’t rush around exhausting yourself buying presents. I’m using the Internet mainly because I hate physical shopping (I’m at that time in my life when shops are too hot), I’m consulting my favourite blogs for Christmas gifts ideas, it’s so much easier!

Invisibly Me December 5, 2017 - 4:36 pm

I do wonder too why some are in that line of work when they seem to dislike working with people or helping, but that makes us all the more grateful for the wonderful staff out there to look after us all. Christmas shopping and browsing for ideas on blogs definitely have their perks at times like this (warmer too!) Thanks for the comment – all the best with your Christmas prep πŸ™‚
Caz xx

3sistersabroad December 2, 2017 - 10:17 pm

I have mixed feelings about Christmas. I find all that work for one day of the year since having chronic illness’s just sometimes too hard. Hopefully this year it will be “just another day” watching a bit of TV eating some yummy food (the easy stuff to prepare) and basically doing nothing. Thats my hope but I know somewhere deep down I will do what I do every year and cook too much eat too much and drink too much. xx

InvisiblyMe December 12, 2017 - 4:17 pm

I think we all try to hope for ‘chilling’ and relaxing and not doing too much, but then end up doing more than intended. A focus on the things that matter to you, rather than all the superfluous fluff that sucks out a lot of energy, is key so you can have an enjoyable (which is still possible when having a low-key Christmas) time without burning out. Thanks for the comment πŸ™‚

lynnabbottstudios December 3, 2017 - 7:20 am

Christmas in and of itself is wonderful. However, I think people have turned it into a horribly stressful season by try to cram all the social/family time and giving of an entire year into a few short weeks… sigh. And when you are dealing with physical limitations from chronic illness, that’s overwhelming. I hope and pray you can pace yourself. I’m so sorry about your rib, and about your being so sick with the chest infection on top of everything else. Hugs!

InvisiblyMe December 5, 2017 - 5:25 pm

You’re right, it’s the way it’s been changed into something else full of pressures that have changed the way Christmas feels for us all. Thank you so much for your kind wishes and lovely comment – I hope you have a lovely week in the run-up to Christmas! πŸ™‚ Caz xx

Shannon December 3, 2017 - 3:09 pm

I love christmas, but get seasonal depression around this time of year. So it is definitely a balance. Christmas just changes as you get older too and can be harder to “look” for that christmas spirit. I hope you feel better!

InvisiblyMe December 5, 2017 - 5:33 pm

Seasonal depression can be hard to manage when the weather and seasons are out of our control, so I do hope you’re taking care of yourself. Thank you for commenting – Have a good week and I hope you can feel a little of that Christmas sparkle to buoy your spirits.x

Margaret from soulfood101blog December 3, 2017 - 5:57 pm

So, happy that the latest meds are helping with your infection. It can be so painful, as you said, and the ribs added to it, that is really painful too. I’m falling into the Grinch column this year, and that’s all I have to say about that ;);)

InvisiblyMe December 5, 2017 - 6:13 pm

Thank you for the comment, fellow Grinch! There’s always time for the ‘magic of Christmas’ to move you out of the Grinch column and into the ‘begrudgingly enjoying Christmas’ column! πŸ™‚ xx

Margaret from soulfood101blog December 5, 2017 - 6:27 pm

hahaha at “begrudgingly” I am happy it’s Jesus’s birthday but the other stuff just hasn’t intrigued me this year, for some reason.

terrepruitt December 5, 2017 - 1:22 am

Oh, I hope you are feeling better. A strained rib muscle – easy to do! – is so painful.

I love that you got your grateful moments in there. I think gratitude helps things look brighter.

I love Christmas, although I got the idea to make my family’s gifts this year and I was going to start early . . . like August, but I didn’t and now I am not happy with myself because of enjoying a nicely decorated house and being able to relax, I have craft stuff all over the place and I am a bit stressed by this gift making. What if they don’t even like them?

InvisiblyMe December 5, 2017 - 6:22 pm

I think grateful moments are really important, it just takes getting a bit of space and perspective to take notice of them sometimes when we’ve got a lot going on. I’m glad to hear you love Christmas, and that you’re so well organised so you can enjoy the ‘fun’ stuff about this time of year, like you’re crafting! What a lovely idea to make some gifts, I’d love to see what you come up with! πŸ™‚
Have a great week and thanks for taking the time to comment.xx

terrepruitt December 10, 2017 - 6:14 am

Oh, if I was well organized I would have finished my crafted gifts in September like I was hoping. They are painted glass and they take forever to dry. I have glitter and paint all over my house. And my cards aren’t even started. I am not enjoying it . . . had I don’t it when I had originally planned I would be enjoying things. Sigh. I hope you are feeling better!

InvisiblyMe December 11, 2017 - 10:16 am

Oh dear, that’s a shame it’s taking longer & leaving you feeling that you’re doing it more at the last minute & not enjoying it. I’m sure the end result of the gifts and cards will be fantastic, but don’t put too much pressure on yourself. xx

terrepruitt December 14, 2017 - 7:04 am

Oh, thank you. πŸ™‚ I think that is just my nature. πŸ™‚ Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you. (I think I am basically done – I just remembered one more I have to do, but it will be easier . . . glitter is what is the problem! πŸ™‚ )

PKaurK December 7, 2017 - 10:40 am

I’m like you with being on the fence with Christmas, I have a tiny family and we don’t buy for each other, just the kids. For me the best thing about Christmas is that everyone has time off work so it’s a great opportunity to catch up with everyone.

InvisiblyMe December 7, 2017 - 4:58 pm

I think that’s probably quite a sensible idea to just buy for the children. I find it gets harder and harder to buy for family members as everyone gets older, and there are points where it stops becoming about the thought and more about just buying for the sake of it, which ruins it in my opinion. I’m glad everyone in your family is free from work to be able to enjoy some quality catch-up time together πŸ™‚

sunlight in winter December 8, 2017 - 6:01 am

Ooh, free courses are always awesome! I think I’d heard of Open University before but never looked into it. I’ve gotten really into Skillshare– I discovered it last year when I was really depressed after the election here. They have some great courses for blogger on topics like digital marketing, building your brand, and photography. I find it a great way to get creative inspiration when I need it.

Here’s my link, if anyone wants to use it for free-two month trial: http://skl.sh/2AG7gv5

InvisiblyMe December 12, 2017 - 4:18 pm

I think I’ve heard of Skillshare but knew nothing about it, so thanks for the heads up & the link! I’d certainly be up for a free trial if there’s a relevant course. Do you think that link will work in the New Year, when I’ll hopefully have more time and better health to take a look-see?
Open Uni free courses are run on their FutureLearn platform, in case you want to check it out – https://www.futurelearn.com/courses


sunlight in winter December 12, 2017 - 9:13 pm

Cool, I will check that out! And yes, I think that same Skillshare link will still work then. Full disclosure: it’s MY link that gives me a free month if someone else signs up, so… it better still work! Haha

Laina Eartharcher December 16, 2017 - 3:41 pm

Great post, my friend ? December for me has always been a double-edged sword. On one hand, there are the fun holidays, food, giving, gatherings, time off from work, and sort of a magical vibe. On the other, there is stress, shopping, financial concerns, and materialistic TV commercials that dilute the meaning of the season. I used to dislike cold, cloudiness, and short days, but now I like all 3, so those factors aren’t an issue ??. Thank you for writing this ❀️

InvisiblyMe December 16, 2017 - 3:44 pm

Sounds like you can appreciate some positives to the season, taken alongside the negatives that come with it. At least you’re not too bothered by the weather now, otherwise that would be another few ticks in the negatives column! I’m glad you can relate and thanks for stopping by with a lovely comment πŸ™‚ x

mostlyacousticsteve December 16, 2017 - 8:38 pm

Sorry to hear about your persistent infection. Well done for battling on so positively!

InvisiblyMe December 17, 2017 - 4:24 pm

You should see how much I moan and whinge normally when I’m at home…! πŸ™‚


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