Last week I had an awesome date planned with a great guy. We were going to meet at a sports bar and watch an NFL playoff game. Anyone who knows me knows I love watching football. I even watch the pre-game shows and post-game analyses. Since I don’t often get the chance to watch games with others who love and understand football, I was really excited for this date. Not to mention the guy I was meeting is cute, funny, and down-to-earth.
It had been a while since I’d been excited about a date. I had it all planned out. My outfit, my hair, how much I would need to rest in advance to feel up for it, what sort of seating would be most comfortable for me, how best to get there, etc. You name it, I had it covered.
I had been feeling a little off during the week leading up to the date, and when I woke up on Sunday morning I felt like someone had punched me in the stomach. Not an unknown symptom to me, but definitely an unwelcome one. And really? I mean really?! Of all the days.
I did my best to patch myself up – ginger tea, bland breakfast, stomach remedies of various types, a tummy massage, a heating pad and a warm bath. But no. My body had decided today was the day to revolt. With this amount of stomach pain, I definitely wouldn’t be able to sit for three plus hours, let alone deal with the bar’s bright lights, noise and greasy food. I had to cancel my date.
Cancelling plans, especially at the last minute, and most especially dates with handsome men, is hard for me. I don’t like missing out, and I also don't want anyone to think I’m flaking out. I ruminated on it. I tried to think of a way to make it work, but I couldn’t. I texted a good friend to confirm I was doing the right thing - it’s what I do when I know what I need to do, but I’m having trouble pulling the trigger.
So I cancelled. He was a good sport. Better than I was. I felt extremely disappointed to miss the date, and exasperated with my body. But I know I have to look after myself, because no one else is going to do it for me. Self-care isn’t always fun. I spent my day where I needed to – on the couch. Actually, I spent a couple of days there, and my thankfully stomach is behaving again now.
It can be incredibly frustrating to try to meet someone and date when living with chronic pain and illness, but I’m learning how to roll with the punches and become more patient. All I can do is try, try again.