Monday, August 22, 2011

Question of the Week: What's Worth a Flare-Up?

Outdoor Cafe @Lincoln Road, South Beach, Miami...Image by MASolari via Flickr
Friday I had lunch with a very good friend who is back in town for a few short months.  We got together for a late lunch (breakfast for me) and spent a total three hours catching up.

It was wonderful!  When our time together came to an end I hated to say goodbye, but she promised to get together with me again before she returned to her adventures in Africa helping people living with HIV/AIDS.

Then I got into my car and everything hit me.

I had been sitting for three hours in an uncomfortable chair.  I had been sitting outside on a patio on a warm summer day.  I had been using energy to stay plugged into a riveting conversation, during which I felt a lot of different emotions.  And this was a day when, amidst a change in my medications, my diabetes was causing me more problems in the form of higher than normal blood sugar levels. 

I checked in with myself and I felt horrible.  I was dizzy, exhausted and worried I wasn't going to be able to drive myself home.  But I heard my couch calling me, so I turned the key and started on my way.  Several times I thought to myself  'Pull over and get yourself together.'  But I somehow convinced myself that it was better to keep going and get myself home.

It was the longest 3 miles I have ever driven in my life.

Now don't get me wrong, it was totally worth it.  At least that is what I can say today.  The white-knuckle ride home was a nightmare, but I survived it and promptly plopped myself on the couch and recuperated for several hours afterwards.

I know I spend a lot of time talking about staying within my energy limits and using all kinds of strategies for preventing symptom flare-ups.  But I also know that sometimes, when something really good comes along, it is time to bend my rules and enjoy life, even if that means paying for it with higher symptoms afterwards.

What I have discovered is that, if I am really diligent about taking care of myself most of the time, I can get away with a special event every once in a while.  That diligence pays off afterwards too.  Staying within my energy limits most of the time means I have an energy reserve I can tap into, which means I can make a quicker recovery if I do flare myself up.

My big adventure on Friday got me wondering: what people, events and activities are worth risking a flare-up of your chronic illness symptoms?

Share your answer with me at the Oh My Aches and Pains! Facebook page or as a comment here.

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Happy said...

For me, it was playing in the backyard pool with my 7 year old niece and 4 year old nephew. I knew I'd pay for it, but it was worth the flare.

Anonymous said...

Selena, you have hit the nail squarely on the head!! I visited my nephew this weekend - a five-hour drive. My husband and I stayed for 4 days and then drove home. I had to take all day today to recuperate (as well as mini-recuperations every day I was there) but it was totally worth it!