Has an IC flare kept you home during the holidays?

Why I Said No To Thanksgiving – An IC Holiday Survival Story

homefortheholidays2Here’s one of the most frustrating questions that IC patients often struggle with. “Should or shouldn’t we go to Grandma’s House for a holiday celebration if IC is flaring?” In my first year of IC, my family really didn’t understand what I was struggling with nor the intensity of my pain and discomfort. I freely admit that I didn’t either. All I knew was that my bladder felt like it was full of ground glass, that I needed access to a restroom and that sitting in a car hurt like heck.

I did attend many of my big family events that year, some of which required longish car rides, but it took a toll. I would arrive at my sister or brothers flaring and, frankly, traumatized by the pain of the drive. I often had to lie down, dreading the painful drive home. Simply put, I was miserable and often feeling guilty that I was bringing a family celebration “down.”

And then came one Thanksgiving morning. We were celebrating at my sisters house twenty miles away. I couldn’t fathom getting in the car to go because I was flaring, badly! I needed to stay home and that’s exactly what I chose to do. My mother, of course, tried several times to get me to change my mind. She has “family guilt” down to a science but, in this case, I was able to resist and it was absolutely the right thing for me to do.

So, while they drove away, I took a deep breath, shed a few tears (because, honestly, it’s hard to watch them leave without you), grabbed my heating pad, mug of hot water and laid down on the couch and watched a long movie. Rather than worsen my pain by a long drive and stressful gathering, I was able to control and calm my pain down.

Was staying home the right thing to do that year? In my opinion, absolutely. There are times when you deserve to come first. Whether you’re the father, mother, grandparent or child, your health is important.

There will be many more times when you will feel well enough to participate and I say “Go For It.”

But, if you’re not sure how you’ll be feeling, how about bringing the holidays to your home and asking family members to help. A potluck will allow you to prepare just one or two foods. Family members can help set up and then clean up! Perfect! If you need to, you can lie down in your own bed, retreat to your own bathroom and just “BE.”

So what do you think? Should an IC patient be able to opt out of a holiday if they’re not feeling well? Do you have any stories to share?? I’d love to hear your thoughts, experiences, opinions and stories about IC and the holiday season!

By Jill Heidi Osborne MA
ICN President & Founder

By | 2017-01-31T10:53:10+00:00 November 18th, 2014|Interstitial Cystitis Network Blog, Jill's Journal, Self Care, Self-Help Tips for IC, Bladder & Pelvic Pain|Comments Off on Has an IC flare kept you home during the holidays?

About the Author:

My Google Profile+ Jill Heidi Osborne is the president and founder of the Interstitial Cystitis Network, a health education company dedicated to interstitial cystitis, bladder pain syndrome and other pelvic pain disorders. As the editor and lead author of the ICN and the IC Optimist magazine, Jill is proud of the academic recognition that her website has achieved. The University of London rated the ICN as the top IC website for accuracy, credibility, readability and quality. (Int Urogynecol J - April 2013). Harvard Medical School rated both Medscape and the ICN as the top two websites dedicated to IC. (Urology - Sept 11). Jill currently serves on the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Panel (US Army) where she collaborates with researchers to evaluate new IC research studies for possible funding. Jill has conducted and/or collaborates on a variety of IC research studies on new therapeutics, pain care, sexuality, the use of medical marijuana, menopause and the cost of treatments, shining a light on issues that influence patient quality of life. An IC support group leader and national spokesperson for the past 20 years, she has represented the IC community on radio, TV shows, at medical conferences. She has written hundreds of articles on IC and its related conditions. With a Bachelors Degree in Pharmacology and a Masters in Psychology, Jill was named Presidential Management Intern (aka Fellowship) while in graduate school. (She was unable to earn her PhD due to the onset of her IC.) She spends the majority of her time providing WELLNESS COACHING for patients in need and developing new, internet based educational and support tools for IC patients, including the “Living with IC” video series currently on YouTube and the ICN Food List smartphone app! Jill was diagnosed with IC at the age of 32 but first showed symptoms at the age of 12.