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What I learned from traveling while going through a flare

Traveling with chronic illness is difficult because it is really easy for your symptoms to flare up. The stress of getting to the airport on time, making it through security and trying to make sure you have everything you need all contribute to increased symptoms. Traveling is tough on people with chronic illness when they are having a good day and can seem nearly impossible when they are having a bad day. I recently got back from a trip to Costa Rica for my mom's wedding. I unfortunately have had more bad days than good days recently so the idea of traveling was very daunting to me. I even debated not going at times when my symptoms were particularly bad, but ultimately I couldn't stand the thought of missing such a big moment in my moms life.

I did everything I could to try to improve my symptoms, but nothing seemed to work. Instead I started to hide and pretend that my symptoms were getting better so that it would seem like I would be ok to go. I struggled and dealt with my symptoms, but I was able to pull it off and my parents stopped suggesting that I stay home. Symptoms can't be suppressed forever though and by the time we got to Costa Rica I was a little worse for wear. Traveling had taken everything out of me and I didn't have any energy left to pretend that everything was fine any more. I spent most of my days resting and taking CBD to deal with the pain and other symptoms I was experiencing. My mom was pretty angry with me for putting my health at risk, but I did it for her since I knew how much it meant to her to have me at her wedding. I missed out on some of the things that I wanted to do while we were in Costa Rica. I really had to focus all my energy on trying to manage my symptoms just so that I could do the few activities I was able to do. It was tough experiencing such bad symptoms while I was in Costa Rica. Honestly there were times they got so bad that I was scared because we were at a pretty remote resort and we didn't have a lot of resources. Ultimately I made it through, but it made me reevaluate the decisions I had made.

I get frustrated being 22 and being limited in what I am able to do because of chronic illness. Due to this I often push myself beyond what I know are my body's limits. I always end up paying for it because it can make my symptoms worse and take a while to recover. I just hate missing out on experiences, especially when I know the only reason why I can't participate is because of my chronic illness. In these moments it can feel like my chronic illnesses are roadblocks in my life. If it is something I want to do I will try to force myself past my limits because I don't want to feel like I am missing out on life. I realized that this fear of missing out on having a full life is one of the driving factors to me constantly pushing myself past what I can handle. People always tell you that you need to try everything and do everything to live a full life. However, I have learned that you can have a full life from even the smallest moments and experiences. I can live a full life while still respecting myself and my limitations. I just have to stay present on what I am capable of doing and not think about what I could be doing. You can always wish for more or the capability to do more, but the key to living a full and happy life is appreciating what you have and what you can do.

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