Christmas is a week away, and I’ve been tired from shopping, decorating, and making plans. I’m feeling discouraged because my fatigue has prevented me from accomplishing what I want to. I’ve had to do a lot of adjusting due to my pulmonary fibrosis (PF) troubles.
I love decorating, but this year I haven’t done much. It makes me sad that I’m not able to do more. Doing my shopping online has made things easier. My husband has helped me wrap gifts.
This week, I had to adjust our plans with family over Christmas. I’m blessed to have a loving extended family. They are coming to spend Christmas with us because I can’t travel very far, and staying at a hotel because my husband and I have a small house. We’ll get together at my home for meals. Last year, I was able to plan the meals and do the shopping. I enlisted help from everyone to do the cooking. Everyone left for a few hours in the middle of the day so I could rest. It worked pretty well.
PF progresses over time — a reality I’m experiencing this Christmas season. What a difference a year makes. This year, I felt panicky every time I thought about planning meals and coming up with a schedule.
I decided to ask for help
Two weeks ago, I realized I needed to be honest about how I felt, rather than procrastinate. I sent an email to my two sisters-in-law that said:
“I’ll be honest, I haven’t made any concrete plans. I could really use all of your help. I’m so looking forward to time together and need to reserve my energy to interact with everyone. It feels overwhelming to me to figure out meals. I could use both of your help.
Last year I was able to make dinner when everyone arrived, partly because our son was here for a couple of days. I won’t be able to do that this year. Dave and I can go grocery shopping a few days before to have beverages, snacks and fruit on hand. I won’t be able to make any meals, but we’re happy to do take out.
I’d really appreciate your input on what to do meals-wise and schedule-wise. I don’t feel overwhelmed having all of you come – I’m looking forward to it. I do feel overwhelmed having to plan it, and make meals happen. I’m a little worse than last year and get tired more easily.”
My sisters-in-law reacted wonderfully by talking with one another and setting up a schedule and meal plan. They even will come up with a grocery list of snacks and beverages for us to buy ahead of time.
Here’s what I learned
It took me a while to figure out what I felt and why I procrastinated in making plans for Christmas. I stepped back and asked myself what the panicky feeling was all about.
I then had to swallow my pride and admit that I needed help. I could really use all of your help.
I tried to be very specific with what I could and couldn’t do. I can go grocery shopping a few days before to have beverages, snacks, and fruit on hand. I won’t be able to make any meals, but we’re happy to do take out.
It was important to me to be clear that I was looking forward to visiting with them, but was overwhelmed having to make plans. I didn’t want to give the message that I don’t want them to come — because I do! I don’t feel overwhelmed by having all of you come — I’m looking forward to it. I do feel overwhelmed having to plan it and make meals happen. I’m a little worse than last year and get tired more easily.”
I am blessed to have support
I know you may not have as supportive a family as I do who will step in to help. I’m so sorry if that is your situation. No matter what your situation is, whether with Christmas planning or the daily grind of living with PF, take care of yourself.
- Assess how you feel and what you need.
- Adjust your expectations to be more realistic.
- Ask for help if at all possible.
- Let yourself grieve about how hard things are.
- Embrace the good around you.
- Do something nice for yourself!
Merry Christmas from me to you!
I’d love to hear from you!
How have you had to adjust your holiday plans? Have any tips to share? How will you care for yourself during this season?
Please leave a comment below and share with those who could benefit via email or on social media.
Note: Pulmonary Fibrosis News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Pulmonary Fibrosis News or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to pulmonary fibrosis.