Time is Flying- Small Life Update

I can’t believe how fast time is flying lately. I’m kind of shocked it’s July. And not just the beginning of July. Saturday was Ryan’s birthday and I’ve always equated that with a sort of mid summer celebration.

Therapy

I have been attending therapy regularly for over a year now. I’ve accomplished a lot, but for me it is work that will never be done. Some weeks I feel well, my depression is cooperative, my anxiety is light, and my health is stable. Other weeks I am down in the dumps, or anxious over an everyday task, and when the pain flares who knows where my head is going to be.

So I am thankful that I keep making those appointments and keep going back. Just checking in can be refreshing.

Coloring Book

At the beginning of the year I started this blog and a different type of creative project. I’ve been working on creating a mandala coloring book. In 2017 I created a 100 Mandala project, where I filled a sketch book with individual and unique mandalas. This year I wanted to expand on that. I have so far created 14 full sized coloring pages.

I hope to have pages completed and ready to scan next month. My original goal had been February, that was ambitious!

NEW!!!

I got a new computer this week, which I’m loving so far. For 12 years I was a Mac user and I’ve returned to the PC world. This was mostly a financial decision, but I’ve been also looking at part time jobs, all of which require knowledge of Office.

I’m hoping it will help with my productivity. Right off the bat I did not have to open my word processing app 4 times before I could actually use it, which is a huge time saver. I’ve been doing a lot of writing, but I keep getting inspired by these grand ideas, which take awhile to process and write. Which doesn’t really lend itself to blogging.

I will try to include short tid bits of info and updates in the near future. Also it has occurred to me that I have not included a picture of myself yet on this site. Here is the husband and I selfie-ing at his birthday celebration.

Hope and Happiness with Chronic Illness

Hopeful and Happy. Some people may not connect either of these with chronic illness and pain. It’s true illness and pain can bring dark times. It can take you to places you believe you are never going to get out of. To Sadness and despair.

But there can be hope and there can be happiness. Hope and happiness can come in moments of rest, sharing with a loved one, or in discovering a new skill.

In order for these moments to crack through the dark and despair one must be open to them. One must believe they can exist. These moments can break through spontaneously. We can also create them during our moments of darkness. Continue reading “Hope and Happiness with Chronic Illness”

Be Well: Part Two

This is part two of a series about my chronic illness journey. You can read the introduction here. 

First and most importantly I want to say recovery, wellness, health does not happen over night. If you woke up this morning and are finding this blog because you decided you wanted to be well, that’s amazing. But making that decision is only the first step. There is a lot of work, some luck, and just the right amount of support involved in the process. This is true for everyone, not just those of us living with chronic illness.

Back in the fall of 2007 I was a full time graduate student working on a Masters in Christian Education. I was passionate about the environment and sustainable food, and I was working both in my church and as a nanny for two precocious kids. My husband and I had been married for 2 years and we lived on campus at my theological school.

Over fall break I got a pretty rough cold but I recovered before returning to class. Then we went away for a wedding. As one does when college friends get together I had a bit to drink. That weekend I kept thinking “I must be getting old” and “it does not take me this long to recover from a night out.”

Then the Tuesday before Halloween had me calling my doctor because my chest hurt, like an elephant was sitting on it. She couldn’t see me that day and encouraged me to go to urgent care, which I did. With a diagnosis of pneumonia and some prescriptions I crawled back in bed. I spent the next 3 weeks coughing, coughing until I threw up, coughing, and bringing up the most disgusting phlegm I had ever seen. Eating very little, showering less, and sleeping.

During the 3rd week I visited the doctor where we quickly discovered that my oxygen saturation levels were dangerously low. I was quickly admitted to the hospital. There we discovered not only did I have pneumonia, but also pertussis, whooping cough. This is something we are all vaccinated for as children, but it was recently coming to light that the vaccination did not last into adulthood.

After 6 days of IVs and breathing treatments I was deemed well enough to go home. Given instructions to hydrate, take what was left of my medications and rest. Because I had been so seriously sick it could take up to 6 weeks to get better.

Great, in less than 6 weeks I had plane tickets to fly to India. I had already dropped all but one class that semester. But India, termed a cross cultural immersion trip, was something I did not want to miss.

I’ve tried to go back and remember those weeks between the hospital and getting on an airplane heading east. I’ve looked at pictures and read old blog posts, but there is very little there. I was still very sick. And in my passport picture which I must have gotten taken right out of the hospital, I look like it.

At the time, this was still an acute illness. The idea of being chronically ill had never even entered my mind. I was simply recovering from a serious illness, one the mother that I nannied for informed me that “some people die from pneumonia.” So I slogged through my days with a headache and burning lungs. Ignoring the fact that every muscle and joint hurt, because it was my lungs that were sick, not the rest of me.

Invisible: Book Review

Living with chronic illness often means having limitations. It means adjusting your accomplishments to you limitations. There are very few things that I absolutely can not do, and most of those are because of my fitness level and not my actual illness. Mostly there are just days when I have to say “that’s not a task for today.” So I get things done, it just often takes me a long time to get to where I’m going. Continue reading “Invisible: Book Review”

Help Prevent Suicide

With two high profile deaths from suicide this week, I thought I should take a few minutes to reach out to anyone who may be reading. The deaths of celebrities aren’t uncommon (everyone dies) and many are often tragic (drug overdoes, cancer, suicide). The world is sad for a little while, but life keeps moving. This is how things will always be. To the loved ones of those celebrities, it’s not just another celebrity death, and their lives will forever be changed by drug overdoses, cancer, and especially suicide. Continue reading “Help Prevent Suicide”

Acceptance

Sometimes accepting reality is hard. Right now is one of those times for me. I am struggling with chronic migraine. I am not able to do the things I would like to do. I am missing concerts and movies and visits with family.

My fibromyalgia has been remarkably quiet. So this makes me feel like I am well. But I am not.

I haven’t been able to write as much as I would like. So I’ve decided that building community should be what I concentrate on. I am still writing but maybe not the lengthy informative posts I’d really would like to. Be sure to find me on Facebook, Instagram, and twitter to connect with me and others who want to Find Joy; Be Well.

Be Well: My Chronic Illness Journey

At the beginning of 2018 I knew I wanted to start something new. I called it a project. I wasn’t ready to call it a business, and I did not want to call it just a a website or a blog as I envisioned something broader.

The impetus for this project was looking back over 2017 and realizing how much I had learned and grown through several challenges. I wanted to share what I learned about living with an invisible chronic illness, help others who may or may not also be chronically ill find wellness and joy, and create a community of people who would share their support.

As I tossed ideas around with family and friends I kept these goals in mind. Find Joy; Be Well became the perfect mantra for what I was setting out to do.

Over the last almost 11 years I have encountered life experiences that I never would have thought possible. And although my story starts long before I was a 25 year old graduate student, for the purposes of this post that is where I will start.

Attempting to succinctly write about living with chronic illness is a daunting task. Where do I start? What are the important bits that I really think you should know first? Is it all relevant, or only certain experiences?

Over the next several weeks I want to share my chronic illness journey with you. In it I hope you will find comfort in knowing you are a not alone. I also hope you find encouragement to be well.

Keeping Cool in the Summer Months

It’s happened. It’s gone from chilly pre-Spring to too warm and humid days. Fibromyalgia makes summer months particularly challenging for me. I already sweat a lot and even in cooler months I often have a had time regulating my body temperature.

When the temperature goes up I become sluggish and nauseated. So let’s get the jump on summer and start talking abut Keeping Cool before it’s too late.  Continue reading “Keeping Cool in the Summer Months”

Book Review: Doing Harm by Maya Dusenberry

On a day that I had time to kill I picked up Doing Harm: The Truth About How Bad Medicine and Lazy Science Leave Women Dismissed, Misdiagnosed, and Sick by Maya Dusenberry at my neighborhood library. It’s a pretty heady read for something I picked up on a whim, but it called to me from the New Release shelf.

I was not even aware of Maya Dusenberry before I began to read this well researched and important book. Women’s health, gender bias, and misdiagnosis of serious health issues can be an emotionally charged topic including anger, sadness, and placing blame. So I wasn’t sure what to expect from a book dealing with these topics. Continue reading “Book Review: Doing Harm by Maya Dusenberry”

The Stages of Grief and Chronic Illness

We are all familiar with grief. We have experienced it and many of us live with grief daily. Can you think of some things that come to mind when you here the words grief or grieving? I think about death, which I think is the obvious answer. But I also think about loss and change.

Loss and change, two experiences that are abundant with chronic illness. I have grieved. I have grieved for my illnesses, I have grieved for my perceived losses, and I have grieved for all the changes that have infiltrated my life with Ryan. Continue reading “The Stages of Grief and Chronic Illness”