Have an Amazing Thanksgiving Despite MS
Thanksgiving is on its way! I love Thanksgiving — it’s a fantastic holiday. We don’t have to buy anyone presents, we get to spend time with the people we love, and, best of all, we get to stuff ourselves, guilt-free.
Thanksgiving has the potential to be the most stress-free holiday of the year; however, it can turn out to be one of the most stressful holidays — it all depends on how you manage it.
I’m lucky because I have never been forced to follow one tradition year after year. My parents were divorced when I was young and my older sister and I were shuffled from one family to another every year. Add in the step-parents’ extended families and we often ended up eating four dinners before the day was through!
Things were not traditional for us, but we did have one thing that always remained consistent throughout all of the years: we learned that Thanksgiving is to be spent appreciating the good people in your life; a holiday where we surround ourselves with the glories of the year’s harvest.
It is the culmination of the bounties that feed our bodies and the bounties that feed our souls.
I deeply believe Thanksgiving should be filled with pleasure and happiness, wrapped in the warm glow of camaraderie, for every person. Logically, I know this is not the reality everyone faces. I have had some rough Thanksgivings too — I know it can be hard.
Worries Can Build
It is common to approach these yearly events with expectations and trepidations of what we are capable of or what other people might say or do. We all carry a certain load of baggage with us to these events. Multiple sclerosis is part of the baggage I carry.
Maybe I won't be able to have enough energy to get through the day, to cook, or to carry a pleasant demeanor throughout the dinner. Maybe my family will expect too much or Uncle Joe will bring me yet another article about some new MS treatment, cure or cause that I really don’t feel like reading about.
There are so many possibilities, so many stresses, so many “what ifs” that we can play through our heads during the preamble of our November days. I believe it is our responsibility to deal with all of the things within our control before the holiday arrives:
- Do I want to go to the big family party or is it going to be too overwhelming and stressful?
- Who do I want to spend my holiday with and how can I make that happen?
- Do I really want to cook or should I let someone else do it?
- Is it better to have dinner at my home or should I go to dinner at my aunt’s house?
I am sure you have an even longer list of questions circling your head. MS is tricky, because these questions we have can seem insignificant and dull. However to us, simple questions that go unanswered and ignored can manifest themselves in ways that literally tear at the fibers of our bodies.
MS taught me that stress is invisible, but it will not be ignored. Stress is an impatient beast that is full of substance and it will crush you if you deny it. So, you and I, we have to deal with our MS. We no longer have any room for denying our needs. Unfortunately, we used up all those punches on our cards. We must make choices now.