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How to ask for what you need when you have chronic illness #AWAPwednesday

Posted by on Jul 13, 2016 in ChronicBabe Basics, featured, friends and family, relationships, self care | 2 comments

Just about everyone—chronicbabes, chronicdudes, healthy folk—struggles with asking for help. It’s not the easiest to get vulnerable, and sometimes we don’t want to feel like a burden. But we live in communities for a reason: so we can coexist and help each other. Seriously. So you’ve gotta ask for help, babe. In today’s video, I’ve got three tips to help you be a better asker-for-helper. watch it now. *AWAP = As Well As Possible Now it’s your turn: Do you have trouble asking for help? What has worked for you in the past? Share your experience in the comments below. Want more #AWAPwednesday? Check out our #AWAPwednesday video playlist, which has more than 100 videos packed with practical advice, lots of humor, and bloopers. Lots of bloopers. Is there a question I can answer for YOU? Add it to the comments below, or shoot me an email. Until we meet again: Be AWAP! Smooches! (Loose) Transcript: (reading from a scroll) I need cake. I need a foot massage. I need a hoverboard. I need unlimited access to quilting fabric. I need more nail polish. I need a green smoothie, like, STAT. I need a bigger closet. I need my tomatoes to get ripe. I need all the cash. I need a thousand more wishes. I need candy. Hi! I’m Jenni Grover Prokopy of ChronicBabe.com and today is AWAP Wednesday (that stands for As Well As Possible). Each week, I offer you my personal favorite tips and techniques to help you craft an incredible life beyond illness. Yes! I know you can. Subscribe to the ChronicBabe YouTube channel today to make sure you never miss another video, OK? Why do we have trouble asking for what we need? So many people, not just ChronicBabes, have trouble asking others for help. For ChronicBabes, there’s a huge desire to be fiercely independent, to avoid feelings of inadequacy, or feeling like a burden. I’m here to tell you that’s whack, babes. You’re allowed and encouraged to ask for help. You’re amazing, but you’re not Superwoman. Be direct Asking people for help sucks. But you gotta do it. Throw your hat in the ring and ask for what you need. Be direct: “I need help loading my groceries into my car” or “I need recommendations for a good babysitter.” You can even ask for help to ask for help: “I need help brainstorming how to ask my boss for more at-home work days.” Don’t expect people to read your mind Similarly, don’t assume your friends, family, and acquaintances know what you need. They aren’t mind readers and unless you tell them you need something–and exactly what it is you need–it probably won’t get done. And sitting around waiting for someone...

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How to Be a Good Friend if You Have Chronic Illness #AWAPwednesday

Posted by on Jul 6, 2016 in ChronicBabe Basics, featured, friends and family, relationships | 0 comments

Lots of ChronicBabes put way too much pressure on ourselves to be perfectly reliable and present for everything—and to always plan fun outings and events. But babe, most of your friends don’t care if you’ve planned a special outing. What they really care about is connecting with you. They’re probably just as happy staying in, doing a face mask and watching a bad movie. And who do you know how is perfectly reliable? I mean, really? Anyone? The reality is, no one can be perfectly reliable—it’s just now how humans operate. You can be a good friend by planning fun times that work for YOU, and YOUR good friends will come along for the ride. Today’s video is all about how to be a good friend, which you totally can do! Even with chronic illness. Watch it now: *AWAP = As Well As Possible Now it’s your turn: How do you make sure you’re always being a good friend? How do you handle scheduling with friends? Share your experience in the comments below. Want more #AWAPwednesday? Check out our #AWAPwednesday video playlist, which has more than 100 videos packed with practical advice, lots of humor, and bloopers. Lots of bloopers. Is there a question I can answer for YOU? Add it to the comments below, or shoot me an email. Until we meet again: Be AWAP! Smooches! (Loose) Transcript: Lots of ChronicBabes put way too much pressure on ourselves to be perfectly reliable and present for everything – and to always plan fun outings and events. But babe, most of your friends don’t care if you’ve planned a special outing. What they really care about is connecting with you. They’re probably just as happy staying in, doing a face mask and watching a bad movie. And who do you know how is perfectly reliable? I mean, really? Anyone? The reality is, no one can be perfectly reliable – it’s just now how humans operate. You can be a good friend by planning fun times that work for YOU, and YOUR good friends will come along for the ride. Your illness might be something like Crohn’s or fibromyalgia, which can cause big flare-ups out of nowhere – so you may be fearful of making plans in advance. That doesn’t mean you can’t make an effort to see folks. While some people don’t have the flexibility to do last-minute stuff, plenty of folks do – so give yourself permission to host last-minute gatherings whenever you feel like it. Just don’t take it personally if some people can’t make it – just like you hope your friends don’t take it personally when you have to cancel. You can be a good friend by continuing to invite folks...

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Community Collab: What’s Your Favorite Feel-Good TV Show

Posted by on Jul 1, 2016 in community collab, coping, Creativity, featured, friends and family, guest author, inspiration, self care | 2 comments

Hey babes! We had a ton of amazing suggestions for our Question of the Week about your favorite feel-good TV show. Here’s a list of all your favorites, along with some awesome quotes. Save this as a reference for the next time you’re feeling down! Multiple Mentions Some of the shows were hella appreciated by the community. The Golden Girls The Golden Girls was by far the winner with five separate mentions as favorite feel-good TV show. The Golden Girls is a sitcom about four older, single women living in Miami. The show, and the women featured, have remained iconic for decades. Great Quote: “The older you get, the better you get. Unless you’re a banana.” Frasier Frasier tied for second place with three separate mentions. Frasier is a Cheers successor about psychiatrist Frasier Crane, who gets into all types of situations in Seattle with his father (with whom he shares an apartment), his father’s physical care assistant, his brother, and Eddie the dog. Great Quote: “You know what? Copernicus called and you are NOT the center of the universe!” The Big Bang Theory The Big Bang Theory tied with Frasier for second place with three separate mentions. The Big Bang Theory follows best friends and physicists Leonard and Sheldon and their friends Howard and Rajesh as they try to interact with Penny, Leonard, and Sheldon’s pretty neighbor. The show is still on air. Great Quote: “Scissors cuts paper, paper covers rock, rock crushes lizard, lizard poisons Spock, Spock smashes scissors, scissors decapitates lizard, lizard eats paper, paper disproves Spock, Spock vaporizes rock, and, as it always has, rock crushes scissors.” Gilmore Girls Gilmore Girls also had two mentions. Gilmore Girls is a drama that focuses on the relationship between single mom Lorelai Gilmore and her daughter, Rory. Great Quote: “It’s all any of us wants: to find a nice person to hang out with ’til we drop dead. Not a lot to ask!” Parks and Rec Parks and Recreation also had two mentions. Parks and Rec follows Leslie Knope, superstar woman and deputy director of the Parks and Recreation Department in Pawnee, Indiana. It’s a laugh-out-loud show that follows the antics of the office employees: Ron Swanson, April Ludgate, Andy Dwyer, Tom Haverford, Ann Perkins, and Ben Wyatt, to name a few. Great Quote: “We have a couple of house rules though. You can’t use the front door; you have to climb in through the back window. No personal phone conversations. If you ever speak to me in Spanish, please use the formal ‘usted.’ And no electricity after 6:00 PM. A couple more rules: if you ever watch a sad movie, you have to wear mascara so we can see whether or not you’ve been crying. There’s no noise allowed on Mondays. And no...

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8 Things People Say To Me About Crohn’s That Piss Me Off (And What You Can Say Differently)

Posted by on Jun 27, 2016 in acceptance, coping, featured, friends and family, guest author, pain, practicalities, ranting | 21 comments

Hi babes! My name is Alix and I’m a ChronicBabe summer intern. I was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease when I was nine and have spent my life jumping from treatment to treatment and learning how to overcome the shame that accompanies inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) symptoms. Sometimes, even though usually with best intentions, friends of mine (or strangers) will ask me offensive or inappropriate questions about my Crohn’s. For all fellow ChronicBabes – this is for you to know you are not alone in this frustration. And for my friends and future strangers: tuck this away for reference.   1. WHAT I HEAR: My cousin’s friend has Crohn’s and went on X diet or Y medication. You should try it; I’m sure it will work for you. WHAT IT MEANS TO ME: You have the best intentions and you are trying to help but you don’t know anything about my medical history or my current diet regimen. You don’t understand how offensive it is to give treatment advice when you are not my doctor. WHAT YOU SHOULD SAY INSTEAD: My cousin’s friend has Crohn’s and finally found a diet-based treatment that worked for him/her. I know how hard it is to find something that works. I’m here if you want to vent.   2. WHAT I HEAR: My aunt had ulcerative colitis, too. WHAT IT MEANS TO ME: Either your aunt is dead or dealt with a different non-chronic illness but regardless it you haven’t done your research. Because ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s are lifelong illnesses it feels awful to hear you brush it off as something that can be cured. WHAT YOU SHOULD SAY INSTEAD: My aunt also has ulcerative colitis. (Or, in the case that she has passed away: My aunt also had ulcerative colitis. She passed away X years ago.) It’s an awful disease. I’m sorry.   3. WHAT I HEAR: You can’t eat gluten, lactose, or eggs? I totally understand. I’m a vegan and it’s so hard to find food sometimes. WHAT IT MEANS TO ME: My disease-based food restriction is equal in your mind to your lifestyle choice-based food restriction, which it is not. As nice as it is to try to sympathize with someone else’s food restrictions, it is beyond frustrating when someone who chose a lifestyle diet change tries to equate it with your disease taking all the foods you love away from you. WHAT YOU SHOULD SAY INSTEAD: You can’t eat gluten, lactose, or eggs? I don’t eat dairy or eggs either because I’m a vegan but I can’t imagine not being able to choose what to eat. It must be really hard.   4. WHAT I HEAR: You get such-and-such...

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7 Amazing Chronic Illness-Inspired Tattoos

Posted by on Jun 23, 2016 in acceptance, coping, Creativity, featured, friends and family, guest author, inspiration | 1 comment

Tattoos can be a deep, personal reflection of the things that are important in our lives. For those with chronic illnesses, these perceived disabilities can be a source of inspiration and strength. And who wouldn’t want to wear their strength on their sleeve? Here are some beautiful chronic-illness inspired tattoos. Alejandra of Alejandra’s Audacity has a beautiful spoonie tattoo with the quote: “We cross infinity with every step; we meet eternity in every second.” – Rabindranath Tagore   Jenn Depre got this tattoo to symbolize her battle with Crohn’s disease.    Here are matching tattoos from the sisters of Lung Story Short, one with CF and an upcoming double lung transplant.   Carina of Tales of a Travelling Jeweller got this “Keep The Car Running” Goo Goo Dolls quote to remind herself that her Lupus doesn’t dictate her life.   This is Adriana Serigne’s ode to Maya Angelou, reminding her that she will triumph over illness.   Rob McGoff got this tattoo after he spent 22 days in the hospital post-colostomy surgery.   This is one of our very own ChronicBabe Jenni’s four tattoos! Her turtle, Doris, reminds her to pace herself and not overwork into a flare. My tattoo future: Because I have been in an almost constant flare with Crohn’s since I was diagnosed 12 years ago, I haven’t been healthy enough to get a tattoo. But my first tattoo will be Crohn’s-inspired. “I will be good though my body be broken.” It’s a quote from my favorite band Typhoon, whose songwriter, Kyle Morton, writes about his Lyme Disease. Do you have any chronic-illness-inspired tattoos? Would you consider getting one? Leave photos and thoughts in the comments below! Post guest-written by Alix Kramer, ChronicBabe intern and a proud...

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6 ways to answer “how are you?” #AWAPwednesday

Posted by on Jun 22, 2016 in ChronicBabe Basics, featured, friends and family, relationships | 4 comments

Today’s video is another take on the time-tested question: How to answer “how are you?” So many of us are asked these questions all the time, and it can be aggravating to come up with a response. So I’ve got a few ideas for you today, and a free download of 100 more that can be customized to your unique personality. Watch today’s video, then tell me: what are YOUR favorite responses?   *AWAP = As Well As Possible Now it’s your turn: Have you responded in ways that harmed relationships, and how would you do it differently? Have you responded in ways that were educational and turned folks into your allies? I would love to know! Share your experience in the comments below. Want more #AWAPwednesday? Check out our #AWAPwednesday video playlist, which has more than 100 videos packed with practical advice, lots of humor, and bloopers. Lots of bloopers. Is there a question I can answer for YOU? Add it to the comments below, or shoot me an email. Until we meet again: Be AWAP! Smooches! (Loose) Transcript: Hi! I’m Jenni Grover Prokopy of ChronicBabe.com and today is AWAP Wednesday (that stands for As Well As Possible). Each week, I offer you my personal favorite tips and techniques to help you craft an incredible life beyond illness. Yes! I know you can. The reason I created AWAP is because I was tired of sending emails to people wishing them well. Hoping they’re well. Asking if they’re well. People ask me how I am all the time, and I often don’t know how to answer. People ask me if I’m well often, and it can feel really confusing to come up with an authentic answer that’s not going to freak them out, or push them away—or even start a big conversation. So today, I’ve got some ideas for how to answer “how are you?” And I’m also sharing a PDF with 100 ways to tackle this difficult question. Here we go: “I’m fine, how are you?” I know, I know! You’re all like BOOOOO! But sometimes this is the easy way out. You don’t really want to get into a long explanation with a cashier or a doorman, right? So just fake it and keep moving on. It’s OK. “I’m AWAP! And you?” This is a fun way to introduce people to the concept of AWAP, so they can use it too—and you don’t have to dig into your health issues much at all. “Strange, and getting stranger!” Answering with something weird or silly but not too pushy is a fun way to set the tone. This one works great at parties. Maybe you don’t want to get into your symptoms at the...

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