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Accepting limitations

Today’s a hard day for me. I cancelled my attendance at Shameless Book Con. The signing is next weekend, and all year, I’ve been hoping it would be safe enough to travel. Up until this week, I thought…maybe…I could do it.

But there are a two things in the way.

  1. Goose. Our new orange ball of energy is kind of hard to handle. He’s a kitten still, even at a little over a year old, and so John and I couldn’t just leave him alone with a cat sitter coming twice a day. Because Goose likes to pounce on the other two cats, and they are very much not having it. Fights happen daily. We’re working on manners for him and courage for them, but we’re not there yet.
  2. Me. I can’t travel alone. Not right now. Not across the country. Not when I have to lug books and a banner and STUFF with me. This…this is the hardest thing for me to accept.

I’ve always loved traveling alone. Flying alone doesn’t bother me. Or rather, it doesn’t bother me any more than flying with others. I hate flying. But I get through it.

I love staying in a hotel alone. Peace and quiet? Restaurants at my disposal? A bed that’s not my own? No cats to feed? No cats hogging the bed? No one around who needs me? It’s practically paradise. For at least a couple of days. I don’t like long trips. I miss my cats and my house (and my husband if I’m traveling alone). But short trips? Three days? Four? Heaven.

But last December, I was diagnosed with three separate autoimmune conditions, including lupus. At the time I was diagnosed, I was more than 15 lbs heavier than I had EVER been, I wasn’t sleeping, and in general, I felt like utter and complete shit. But, I’ve felt pretty crappy my whole life. This…well, I thought it was just pandemic stress. Don’t get me wrong. I’ve always known there were things wrong with me that hadn’t been diagnosed. But I didn’t think what I was feeling last December was that much worse than I always felt.

Turns out, it was. I just couldn’t see it because of the pandemic stress.

Today, I’m down more than twenty pounds and something like ten inches. I can ride the Peloton every single day, some days for up to an hour. I sleep at night. Not all night. Not well. But I do sleep.

But there’s a flip side to all of this too. Sometimes when you treat one problem, other issues you didn’t know you had crop up. Think of it like this. If you’re at a concert with a full band, you probably won’t notice that mosquito buzzing around you. But once the band stops playing and the crowds leave, you’ll definitely notice.

Turns out, while I can work out every day now, if I try to do anything out of my norm, well, it just about kills me. Okay, that’s an exaggeration. But it feels like it could. Anything I’m not used to can send me into a bout of “the tireds” that lasts for days. And when that happens? It’s a struggle to do much of anything. Those are the days I take it easy on the bike. The days I opt for extra meditation time. The days I work from my couch and not my desk. The days I tell my husband that everything hurts.

If I tried to travel across the country alone right now, I could find myself having “the tireds” on the day I’m supposed to be signing books. Because trying to navigate airports, rental cars or shuttles, and a hotel alone is definitely not something I’m used to. And if “the tireds” happen, I doubt I’d even be able to set up my table. I’d likely be in tears halfway through the day. And the idea of packing up my stuff and getting to the airport the next morning? Well, it would definitely cause a meltdown. One I’d have to handle alone.

There are days I probably could fly across the country. But the main issue right now? I don’t have any good history or data on what days might be good days and what days might be bad days. So it’s too great of a risk. Not to mention the fact that I’m on medication that isn’t exactly bolstering my immune system (because autoimmune conditions are actually your immune system being overactive and attacking your own body).

Add all that together? And it’s a recipe for no solo travel.

This week, this realization? It has done one thing for me, though. One positive thing, that is.

It’s made me very determined to build up my stamina. To get out more. To walk more. To run more errands. Because I have at least five signings in 2022, and I am damn sure going to all of them.

3 thoughts on “Accepting limitations”

  1. First I love your books, thank you for that. Secondly, I too have Lupus and a couple of other autoimmune issues so I can completely related to “the tireds” and all that entails. We well and take good care.

  2. Dear Patricia,
    Lupus is not a disease to fool around with your health! Please. Take extra care know that your avid readers have your back! Keeping you in my prayers as you are one special lady!!

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