Archive for December, 2009


December 22, 2009

“I have treated more than 2,000 AIDS and CFS patients in my career. And the CFS patients are MORE sick and MORE disabled every single day than my AIDS patients are, except for the last two months of life!”
– Dr. Marc Loveless
(infectious disease specialist and head of the CFS and AIDS Clinic at Oregon Health Sciences University, in Congressional Testimony, CFS Awareness Day, May 12, 1995)

Coping With The Holidays

December 21, 2009

Coping With The Holidays
By Kelli Ellis

I am my own worst enemy. Like many others with Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue, I find the holidays a highly stressful and painful time of year instead of the joyful and happy time it should be. I am too focused on the perceived expectations of others instead of the reality of my limitation and restrictions.. I know many of us want to accomplish what our bodies are simply not capable of, so we have to adjust our outlook and re-evaluate our priorities. The holidays are all about spending time with those we love most – keeping time and energy for what we hold most precious and dear. Doing so will help reduce the stress and thus the pain and emotional issues that crop up at Christmas.

Pace Yourself..
When you think “I’ll just visit 1 or 2 more shops, go up 1 or 2 more aisles, wrap 1 or 2 more presents, bake 1 or 2 more trays of cookies or do that 1 or 2 more things.” – Don’t! Stop before you get to that tired or hurt point. Don’t deal with a fibro or CFS flare, prevent one.

Decorate, but not too much..

  • Have a smaller tree with few decorations. I have invited over the nieces in past and we made an afternoon of putting up the tree.
  • Have someone put up the outdoor lights.
  • Get a nativity scene that is pre-made as one unit and/or lightweight, so you don’t have to lug many pieces. I have a smaller plastic Precious Memories one (which the kids love to play with) and a small water fountain of Joseph, Mary & baby Jesus.


  • Choose carefully to go only to 1 or 2 holiday parties, don’t accept every invite.
  • If you can, spend time with those you hold dear, not those who will cause stress.
  • Plan ahead how long you plan to stay and stick to it.
  • Always keep a supply of regular meds on hand, in case.


  • Pass on some of the holiday chores to others so that while everyone shares the joy, they also share responsibility.


  • Share these responsibilities or making an easier selection.
  • Do a pot luck dinner.
  • Choose a one dish dinner to limit the number of dishes.
  • Choose easier recipies.
  • Prep or make whatever can be done beforehand and refridgerate or freeze.
  • Keep to your normal eating habits as much as possible & do not overdo it on sweets and other foods.


  • Do a holiday cookie/snack exchange.
  • Bake cookies in stages – many recipes require overnight in the fridge.
  • Cheat – buy your cookies.. I know, not the same, but nothing’s the same anymore, is it?


  • Online/catalogs/mail order gifts.
  • Gift cards & gift certificates.
  • Plan ahead, make a list & write it down.
  • Organize your trips into several short shopping trips.
  • Shop in the morning, or later in the evening when the crowds are thinner.
  • Start early – once I started on Dec 26th.
  • Take regular breaks to rest.
  • if you use a mobility device (cane, crutches, walker), take it with you even if you don’t need it yet
  • Use a shopping cart for stability, to carry parcals & outerwear.
  • Use a coat check if your mall has one so you don’t have to worry about your jacket.
  • Get salespeople for help if you can find them.
  • Always keep a supply of regular meds on hand, in case.

Wrapping Presents

  • Wrap using gift bags & tissue paper.
  • Take advantage of on-site wrapping services – many are for charity.

Holiday Cards

  • Do them well ahead of time like October or November,
  • Make labels so you’re not writing address after address, if even it’s only the return address.

Above all – KISS! Keep It Sweet and Simple!