I'm dreaming of a healthy Christmas, just like the ones I used to know...

Excitedly spending the days in the lead up to the big day preparing last minute bits and pieces, cooking, baking, rushing to the shops to pick up the gift you somehow missed. Taking evening walks admiring all of the twinkling lights. Getting all dressed up and ready to paint the town red for the work Christmas party and your Christmas night out with friends, which will include too many glasses of wine and no doubt returning home in the early hours covered in tinsel and tacky props you accumulated throughout the night. This is the Christmas I used to know. It is a long way away from the Christmas I know now.

Christmas time is unbelievably tough when you have a chronic illness. It's tiring enough for healthy people. I will spend the rest of this week in bed, just so I can save up all of the energy I possibly can to give myself the best chance of being able to survive Christmas day. I always feel strange at this time of year, it was Christmas time that I first fell ill so it's both a happy time and a time of sadness and reflection for me. It marks my illiversary and I remember waking up in a hospital bed with Christmas decorations surrounding me, something that normally makes you feel happy and warm inside, but instead feeling the worst I have ever felt in my life. 

Deck the chair with lights and faux fur, tra la la la laaaa

This year I will probably be lucky enough to be able to get out of bed on Christmas morning. I might even be able to get dressed if I'm lucky. I will probably need help cutting my Christmas dinner as I will be exhausted by dinner time, and I will likely spend the rest of the afternoon asleep or in front of the TV with pain meds at the ready and heat pads covering my entire body. There will be no glasses of wine, there will be no crazy festive antics. I will very much be watching from the sidelines just trying to hold it together. I will enjoy watching my family have fun but there will be a part of me that feels guilty. I can see they are upset to have another Christmas where Hayley (who is the biggest lover of Christmas in the entire family) is poorly. 

I just wanted to share this because I feel like a lot of people put so much emphasis on the materialistic side of Christmas. That isn't what it is all about though. Christmas is about being with your loved ones and having a lovely time together. Appreciating each other and appreciating life. There's more to Christmas than expensive gifts and trying to out-do your neighbours with the lights on the walls of your house. I might not get to have the perfect Christmas, but I will appreciate the small things I can do. Written at the top of my Christmas list for the past three years has been 'To get better' but somehow I don't think even Santa can give me that. It's a lot to ask for! Good health is the greatest gift we will ever receive, so remember that when you are disappointed that you didn't get everything you wanted. You probably already have the greatest gift and you don't even realise it. 

All the love in the world,

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