9 Ways CF Makes the Holidays Unique
Last updated: December 2022
The holidays are some of the year’s most magical and memorable moments. Family and friend gatherings, festive decorations, and cozy winter wonderland weather can really make the season special. I know it’s my favorite time of the year for so many reasons.
However, the holidays can be really tough for someone with a chronic illness like cystic fibrosis to handle. There are different stressors, anxieties, and moments to celebrate. Here are 9 ways I think CF can make your holidays season unique.
A unique holiday experience with CF
No more spoons
When you live with a chronic illness, every activity costs one spoon from the finite amount of spoon you are given in a day. Holiday activities also cost spoons that you certainly don’t have left over. In the end, holidays can really zap your energy and cause a spoon deficit.
Fear of seasonal germs
Cold and flu season pose a real threat to all the fun that is had at holiday gatherings. People with CF have to be extra diligent about staying away from sick people, washing their hands, and even masking to avoid germs.
Squeezing in treatments in the holiday rush
Cooking, cleaning, wrapping, eating, and traveling. If it’s a verb, you do it during the holidays, including airway clearance. Even with all the holiday business you have to fit in your treatments to keep yourself healthy which can be a real challenge.
Missing out due to exacerbations
The biggest bummer of the holiday season is when someone with CF is admitted to the hospitals or on home IVs and too sick to attend holiday functions. It’s really devastating to be separated from your friends or family during this time. Sending love to those experiencing this right now.
Getting CF related gifts
It’s Christmas morning, you open up an IKEA utility cart, UV sterilizer machine, and Tylenol in your stocking. You are excited! It’s moments like this that you realize CF makes you weirdly different.
Packing on the pounds
Come November and all the holiday food and treats, I know that all the extra calories should help my weight. In my life the holiday weight is a welcomed sight on the scale. The truth is in cold, blustery Ohio, I need any extra fat I can get. Bring on the meats and treats!
Planned recovery days
An important part of surviving the holidays with CF is to plan for and set boundaries with recovery days after big events. I’m not sure if this is a “normal person” thing, but it’s vital to do nothing and rest after festivities for people with CF.
Picking new insurance
The end of the year can be really anxiety-inducing for people with CF in part due to the dreaded open-enrollment time for health insurance. Picking health insurance when you live with a chronic illness requiring VERY expensive medication is overwhelming and stressful. Sometimes, that stress can overshadow the fun and joy of the holidays.
Weirdly enough, there’s something about the holidays that fills people with the audacity to ask highly personal questions. For example: When are you having more children? Why aren’t you working? How are you feeling? Followed by the person explaining they know how you feel because they have asthma. It’s a bizarre, uncomfortable, and dreaded aspect of hanging out with distant family members.
In what ways do you CF makes the holidays unique to you! Share your thoughts below!
Have you participated in clinical or market research before?