By Melissa Wardlaw.
Not long ago, I went on a short trip to visit a dear friend in the D.C. area, and this was part of a pact to myself which I am planning on continuing into the new year. This resolution is to take more risks, and to have no fear! You see, traveling, like many other activities I used to do before a spinal cord injury and subsequent diagnosis of CRPS/RSD (among other chronic illnesses) changed my life forever, is very difficult and exacerbating for my medical situation. These extra “flare-inducing” activities I rarely do or simply don’t do them at all.
When it comes right down to it, those of us who live with chronic illnesses and pain have to plan our lives around our medical situations. In fact, every decision must be made with our medical situations in mind - considerations such as:
What is the weather going to be? What do I need to bring? How long will I be away from home, including travel time? Who is driving? How far is it? Where is the nearest exit when I’m there? Who will I have to burden if I need to leave early or lie down? What is the distance I will have to walk? Honestly it never ends.
When I do any activity, large or small, it requires preparation beforehand and rest/recuperation afterwards. Just a simple trip to the grocery store or putting on makeup can send my pain and symptoms into a tailspin! Since everywhere I go and everything I do has a physical cost, why am I holding myself back from doing things I enjoy, just because of the fear of them causing me extra difficulty, flares or exacerbation?
So, there it is - my New Year’s Resolution is to take more risks - to have no fear! No, I’m not talking about climbing Mt. Everest or jumping out of an airplane (although the latter sounds quite fun)! I’m just simply talking about having more fun - saying yes more than no and not worrying so much about the repercussions of my actions. If I incur more pain or exacerbation of symptoms, which I’m sure I sometimes will, at least I had fun while doing it! My medical situation has stolen enough from me, and I’m tired of letting it steal my fun too! Happy New Year!
NOTE: Opinions expressed are solely my own and do not represent the views or opinions of other CRPS/RSD patients or practitioners.
Melissa Wardlaw was diagnosed with CRPS/RSD (now full-body involvement) as a result of a spinal cord injury suffered in 2002 during routine epidural steroid injections. She also has fibromyalgia, lumbar/cervical degenerative disk disease, migraines and additional chronic medical issues. Formerly a high-powered Business Executive & Consultant in start-up operations and HR, Melissa has an MBA in entrepreneurship, is a Certified Career Coach and Certified Professional Resume Writer, and now spends her time career coaching and offering peer support/counseling & advocacy (pro bono) as her health will allow. She also runs both in-person and online support/empowerment groups for CRPS/RSD, chronic illnesses & pain in Metro Atlanta. Melissa is also an avid volunteer and supports multiple organizations committed to rescuing animals and helping others with chronic illnesses & pain. She has two Ragdoll cats, who graciously “allow” her to live in their brand-new home in Atlanta, GA.