MS and Surviving (and Perhaps Even Enjoying) the Holidays!

Cathy Health Guide
  • It’s happening again.  The frantic, panicky, overwhelming feeling that visits me every December.  Shopping, planning, scheduling, writing, decorating, feeding, mailing, walking, fixing, cleaning – all activities associated with the holiday season. 


    I celebrate Hanukah – cooking, cleaning, buying, decorating, and entertaining.


    My husband and son have December birthdays one week apart – cooking, cleaning, buying, decorating, and entertaining.


    My father’s birthday – he’ll be 85 – is on Christmas.  Fortunately we celebrate this special day at my brother’s house.  No cleaning, decorating or entertaining.  I offer to bring a dish (cooking), and try to find the perfect gift for a dad who is dearly loved (shopping).

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    When I was a child I loved this holiday season and all its magic.  I loved Christmas as much as Hanukah.  I helped friends decorate their trees and we sang Christmas carols door-to-door in our neighborhood.  At home I loved stuffing myself with latkes, and singing familiar Hebrew tunes while lighting the menorah. There was a special feeling, an unexplainable one, which always happens after Thanksgiving is over and December is on its way.


    Then MS struck.  At age 26 things the holiday season began to change for me.  My legs got tired while shopping, my arms felt heavy when lifting packages, and I thought I’d pass out after a day at the mall.  It was too much for me, and little by little the season became one of dread and fear of the next exacerbation.  How could I enjoy a season I loved while performing the tasks I needed to do without feeling so lousy?


    Today, at age 53, I know what to do.  My new mantra is “a little at a time” and I murmur it to myself whenever I feel I am taking on too much.  I shop ahead of time. I make lists of what I need, and map out the stores ahead of time.  Perhaps the biggest change for me has been this – ASK FOR HELP.  Yes, that’s right.  Ask others to help you with what you need to do.  I am sure you have family and friends who’d be more than willing to shop for you.  It makes them feel needed and frees you up for some much-needed rest.


    The Huffington Post has an article entitled, “…31 Ways to Have a Less Stressful December” that I found helpful.  Take a look and let me know what you think.


    My Question of the Week is: How do you manage your MS while surviving the holidays – and perhaps even enjoying them?  I’d love to hear your thoughts!


    I want to wish you all a healthy, peaceful and bright holiday season.  May we all find a way to enjoy it in all its glory – something each and every one of us richly deserve.

Published On: December 11, 2012