What I Want You to Know When I’m Canceling Plans

Usually, chronically ill people struggle in making long-term commitments. This even includes or setting up appointments and making plans to catch up with friends. The reason behind it can spring from either a major flare-up, low energy, or maybe simply and painfully, having a bad day.

The impact of canceling plans

After a few years of dealing with chronic illness, I still feel guilty when I have to cancel plans with friends and family. In this article, I’d like to share what usually goes through my mind when I have to ditch my loved ones because I’m not feeling well.

I’m sorry. I didn't mean to bail on you

I know, I know. I said I was going to come. I know you asked me again a week before. I know I said yes again last night. I’m sorry I can’t show up today. I didn’t mean to. The truth is I really wanted to see you, but my body is holding me back.

The unpredictability of chronic illness

When I told you that it wasn’t my intention not to show up, I want you to know how I badly meant it. You see, one of the most difficult things in living a life with chronic illness is that you wake up not knowing what’s going to happen, not knowing what you’re going to feel, not knowing if it’s going to be a great day or not.

You might feel fine the night before, you might even be able to take a jog in the morning, but that doesn’t mean you’d feel fine the entire day. Sometimes, our pain levels differ throughout the day, and this is beyond our control.

If I said yes today, I would pay for it tomorrow

What I want you to understand is that I have to reserve my energy. I'm not saying that you're not important, or that you're no longer a priority. But if I push myself to go out today, I'd definitely pay for it tomorrow. I know my body, and I'm trying my best to respect its limits.

If going out means I'd be having a painful day after, or that I won’t be able to get up the next morning, then I’d just say no to save myself from further pain.

I still want to feel included

I want you to know that even if I rarely see you, it would be nice to still feel included. It would feel nice to be invited even if I can’t always say yes. Please still consider seeing me even if I always bail out on you at the last minute.

I’d trade anything to feel okay again

I want you to know that more than the sadness of missing out, what saddens me the most is disappointing you. Please extend your patience with me because you don’t know how hard I’m trying. I didn't ask for this, and I'd give up anything to feel normal again.

You're still important to me, but sometimes, I have to say no because my body tells me so.

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