When you live with a chronic illness you can still take vacations but you have to plan them in a way that allows your chronic illness to come with you rather than rain on your beach day.

I am on day 2 of a 14 day holiday and I have only left the house for a short time to go to the grocery. Some might find this crazy as I am near so many beautiful beaches and soothing ocean sounds, but for me, I had to stay here at this lovely rental house to prevent my headache monster from going full asshole on me.

I have been sitting in the shade, enjoying the breeze, cooling off a bit in the pool for short periods and visiting with family as they come and go enjoying their time out exploring. I even went to bed before sunset on my first full day here. Am I pissed off about? NO and here is why.

It has taken me YEARS to learn to listen and respond appropriately to my body, in particular my brain tumor and all its forms of headache (sinus, migraine, cluster, etc…) and I have been on many vacations where I didn’t listen. Many vacations were I jumped straight into the fun it all its forms and then, ended up paying for it for DAYS. DAYS that included sleeping on bathroom floors in hotel and rental houses (read that as potentially very gross surroundings) because my head hurt so much I would be immobile but vomiting. DAYS spent sleeping in a darkened room that existed in a place that I paid for so I could enjoy the sunshine that I don’t get in January in Michigan. DAYS where I never got to see or speak with my kids, or parents, or cousins or whoever was traveling with us. Those DAYS sucked ass.

Now I know…slow your roll! Slow your roll WAY down when the plane touches down. I now know I cannot be in a hurry any longer, I cannot give two shits about the other traveling assholes they need to block the gate or rush to try and be first off the plane. I cannot care about how long the island people take to hand over the rental car keys. I cannot care that I might be missing out on something fabulous because if I do care, I will miss out on fabulous, mundane and everything in between.

The way that I vacation now is exactly that, the way I (me, Cherisse, and all my forms of headache) vacation. I go to bed early (and miss a sunset) if my body tells me I am tired. I sit in the shade when my body says, the sun is too bright for you. I listen to the wind in the trees at my rental house rather than the drunks around the pool at the all inclusive. I nourish my body with foods I have brought or purchased that I know treat me well rather than indulging in all the local fare that some say is required to be cultured. I have to do it my way so that I can do it at all and I AM GOOD WITH IT!

I have also learned over the years to not only learn what I need and put those lessons into action but to also EDUCATE those that travel with me. I freely give out permission slips for my husband to go and go and go taking along anyone who wants to go along with him in all the cases that I do not. He has learned to enjoy those times as well as the ones we spend together. My parents know that I am okay even when I am sleeping in a lounge chair at 5am and to just let me be until my body says it is time to wake up (and hopefully enjoy a sunrise). My children know that vacation is about adventure AND relaxation, which to them, can sometime be boring so BRING A BOOK.

So Cheers to DAY 2. I might see the ocean today as I am feeling pretty good (but if I don’t, that is okay too).

Remember to be kind, be gentle and be true to you.

Sparkle on from One Happy Island (Aruba)