My Thanksgiving Tradition That PsA Can't Ruin

Even before my diagnosis of psoriatic arthritis in 2003, chronic pain interfered with my ability to keep up with my family’s Thanksgiving traditions. Over time I began dreading the holiday, especially when physical pain prevented me from hosting or helping to prepare the feast. I began feeling guilty for sitting there while everyone else was hustling around the kitchen. Friends and family would say relax, we just want to enjoy your company, yet my body wouldn’t allow me to relax. Pain and brain fog wouldn’t permit my ears to hear the words they were saying. Most of the time I just sat there with a stupid smile on my face, trying to hide that I was unable to concentrate or that my pain was escalating quickly. The days of wishing the holiday would last longer were replaced with silent mental pleas of wanting to crawl into bed and be left alone.

Brainstorming Thanksgiving alternatives

Obviously, something had to give, but what? What could I do to begin enjoying this holiday once again? Then it hit me. Since there was nothing typical or normal about living with my chronic illnesses, why did my Thanksgiving celebration have to be? So I began brainstorming ideas.

Needs to require little travel

First I needed something that didn’t require a lot of travel. Traveling was tough on my body at that time, so visiting out of state family was out of the question. In the past, the toll that traveling took on my body resulted in my spending the holiday in their guest room. There were even times when I was so exhausted and in so much pain that I missed the big meal too. This made me realize how important spending the day near or at home was.

Doesn't require a lot of effort on my end

The second thing I needed to consider was my physical and mental status. Would my pain level allow me to prepare a meal or set a table? Would brain fog creep in and cause me to make a mess of the menu or get in the way of my ability to hold a conversation with guests? I needed a tradition that didn’t require much verbal interaction or thinking.

Needs to work for my husband and me

The last thing I needed was to decide what would work best for my husband and me. With one kid already grown up and married and another reaching adulthood, I wanted a tradition that my husband and I would both be content with. It needed to be something that we looked forward to doing, even if the kids aren’t able to join us.

A new tradition is started

Then it hit me….. Disneyland!!!! That is right! While not for everyone, it is the perfect place for my husband and me to celebrate Thanksgiving. We don’t have to spend days or weeks making our home look pretty for guests. There is no slaving over a hot stove and cooking a meal that neither of us really care for. Even better? No Cleanup! The best part is that no matter how poorly I am feeling I am able to go to Disneyland as long as I have someone to push my wheelchair. At Disneyland, I don’t have to have in-depth conversations about life, family, health etc. There was one year that I barely spoke a few sentences, yet we had a fabulous time. Thankfully I no longer need a wheelchair, but if I did it wouldn’t stop us from continuing with our Thanksgiving tradition.

Have you created any new traditions since your diagnosis?

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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