The never-ending guessing game of boundaries


Having chronic illness means accepting limitations. For almost two decades, my limitations made life more difficult, and they prevented me from doing some things, but their impact was limited in its own way. Then things changed.

Today I want to go to the gym and ride the stationary bike at its lowest setting for 10 minutes. But I’m not sure if I’m up to it. That’s one kind of limitation. That bothers me, but not as much as the other kind of limitation.

I want to live life on my own terms. I want to earn a living and go out more with friends. But mostly I want to travel.

Yesterday a friend told me about a trip she is planning. She knows that it is beyond her chronic illness-produced boundaries, but she is taking a chance by going anyway. And it made me question, not for the first time, if I should take more risks.

Part of me thinks I should. My doctor thinks I could. And I’m tempted to just pick up and go. But then I get scared. What happens when I inevitably feel sick? I won’t be able to bring medical marijuana – the only thing that helps – with me. Is it worth taking a trip, when I will probably feel like crap for half of it, and feel horrible when I get home? Will I be able to enjoy myself enough for it to be worthwhile?

But then I wonder, what kinds of regrets will I have if I don’t go? My symptoms will probably get worse over time, not better. Now travel feels difficult, maybe not worthwhile, and scary. At some point it will be completely impossible. Don’t I owe it to my future self to take a trip today?

Sometimes I think I should try doing something small to test the waters. But those smaller trips feel boring. If I’m going to put myself through hell, shouldn’t it be for something fantastic? Sure, I could go to Washington D.C. for the 3rd time, or to Nashville (which I’ve never had any interest in) for the first time, but it would be so much more fun to go Sweden or Norway or Iceland! Those are places I have wanted to visit for years, and I would have so much more fun there. If I feel up to doing anything.

And of course, there’s also the money issue. If I had gobs of money, not only would I not stress out about money, but I could buy certain comforts: a first class seat in the plane, a nicer hotel room, a rental scooter for when I don’t feel up to walking. Instead, I question if I should take money out of my savings for a trip at all, even one without those extra comforts. Then again, I might regret it if I don’t. I probably will.

So these thoughts are spinning around my head for the millionth time. I know some people with chronic illnesses travel. I know others don’t. I know it’s a personal choice and I need to be the one to choose. But that doesn’t make it any easier.

Because in the end, it’s not about the trip itself. It’s about the fact that my world has become very small, and I feel the need to open it up. I need new experiences and excitement. I know that would sustain me in a million mental and emotional ways. I just wonder what it would do to me physically.

8 Responses to The never-ending guessing game of boundaries

  1. Keryn says:

    I have lupus, RA, hashimotos and CRPS. Medical marijuana is the only thing that helps me as well.
    I have to travel at least once a month for work. I’ve had no problems traveling with my Vape pen, or with thc pills in a Benadryl bottle. I also make medicated hard candies and gummies that are always with me. I figure if they stop me at the airport, I can use the “Sorry, I’m a patient and forgot they were in my purse.”, and just hand them over since it’s legal here.

    When I was in Colorado a few years ago I asked two TSA workers about it. They said they don’t care because it’s legal there. If they want to check me in boston, that’s their choice, but no one ever checks your carry on when you land.

    • chronicrants says:

      Thanks Keryn, that’s good to know! I might consider it on a domestic flight, but not international, which is where I’m setting my sights right now. The consequences for getting caught on an international flight are way too high. Great that you’ve been able to make it work!

  2. I definitely relate to this and have been thinking about it a lot. It’s really tough because we know there are serious consequences to pushing our bodies but we are missing out on so much.

    • chronicrants says:

      Exactly, FindingRainbowsintheDark (love your name 🙂 ). Unfortunately, the only way to know where are limits are is to exceed them, and I’m not exactly excited at the prospect.

  3. Faith L. says:

    I have vestibular migraine which means dizziness 24/7 and vertigo daily. Lost my job too and friends. (hah. so-called) and can barely do anything without feeling like the world is falling or spinning. Using the computer for 10-15 mins is my max. I suffer from pains too due to spine issues. I too think about taking risks and just going for it, going out. At the most vertigo hits full force and I just collapse and puke all over and someone will call an ambulance right? Hahaha.. but easier said than done. Big Hugs to you! xo

  4. […] The never-ending guessing game of boundaries. Chronic illness and (ever changing) limitations […]

  5. […] haven’t been on an airplane in almost 7 years. I miss travel, but I don’t do it. What’s the worst that could happen? I hate to think about it. But […]

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