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

Posted Aug 22 2011 9:55am
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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