I had to cancel out of yet another Christmas party just now. I’m actually quite experienced at doing this, as I’ve had fibromyalgia longer than many of my readers have been alive. However, this year was different. For once, fibromyalgia was not the culprit. Instead, I developed a nasty head cold (as did nearly everyone I know). I guess I should be thankful that it’s nothing more serious. After all, a cold does go away. Somehow, though, having to make this cancellation was even more unpleasant than usual.
As if one illness wasn’t enough to keep me away from special occasions, I got a Christmas bonus!
I’m looking back at the recent past, trying to decide what I might have done differently to have avoided catching this cold and what I may do in the future to prevent catching another one. Because colds are contracted from other people, the best answer I came up with is that I should have stayed at home, alone. But, realistically, this isn’t possible. There are certain needs that demand leaving the house, whether it’s cold and flu season or not — groceries, medical appointments, the gas station. Besides, being the social person that I am, that’s just not an answer. For me, isolation results in depression. Of the two, I’d probably choose to have the cold.
Perhaps I could have been more diligent about washing my hands, but I’m at least more conscientious than most. I’m a frequent user of hand sanitizers wherever I see them. In my locale, they’re located at the entrance to every grocery store, pharmacy, and health facility. In addition, hand-washing with soap and water is my first priority when I get home from any outing. Perhaps I could have gone to bed earlier to get more rest. However, no matter how early I go to bed, I’m never able to fall asleep much before 1 a.m. Maybe I needed more aerobic exercise. Sadly, my physical ability is limited to short walks, and then only on my good days. Also, it’s been cold and rainy where I live, which is not conducive to being outdoors. Besides, I haven’t had many good days. And then there’s stress. That’s a tough one to avoid at this time of year. Holidays are difficult for me, so stress is inevitable.
Without even thinking about it, I can rule out an unhealthy diet as the cause. Because I’m allergic to several foods in addition to being lactose and gluten intolerant, my food intake is unusually healthy. It consists mainly of protein and vegetables, as many of them organic as I can find. Truthfully, my preference would be nightly pizza, but it’s difficult to find a gluten-free variety that I consider edible. A frozen variety I once considered adequate was also quite pricey. It quickly disappeared from my grocer’s freezer, never to be seen again.
In the end, I’ve had to conclude that just like fibromyalgia, prevention was out of my hands. As diligent as we humans may be, we don’t have total control over illness. We are all subject to the ups and downs of life. I only hope my “ups” will arrive sometime soon.
Are you listening, Santa?
Note: Fibromyalgia News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Fibromyalgia News Today, or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to fibromyalgia.