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Laugh, ChronicBabe!

Posted by on Sep 26, 2016 in acceptance, coping, featured, friends and family, humor, inspiration, resilience | 3 comments

This post was guest written by ChronicBabe Elizabeth A. Delisi.   “He who laughs last, laughs best.” Famous saying…I don’t know who coined the phrase. I suppose it could be interpreted as a courageous act – you know, “Laugh and the world laughs with you; cry and you cry alone.” And there is no place more needing of a laugh than when a ChronicBabe is fighting a chronic disease. My dance with disease began in January of 2010, when I pointed the remote control at the television and noticed my hand was wobbling up and down. What the heck? The trembling in my hand continued to get worse, so I saw a neurologist and was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease in August of 2010. That was the day that my life, and my future, changed. My sister, who had accompanied me to the doctor, asked me how I felt about the diagnosis. I said, “I feel numb.” And to tell the truth, that feeling lingered for some time. I felt fine other than the tremor in one hand…so how could I have an incurable disease? Well-meaning people tried to get me to join support groups, but I turned them down. I was struggling with the diagnosis as it was. I was afraid if I saw people who were worse off than I was, farther down the disease’s road, I’d give up all hope. My attitude toward Parkinson’s started to change when I read three books written by a fellow Parkinson’s sufferer, Michael J. Fox. He spoke of how the disease gave him a chance to restructure his life and his priorities, to look at all the positives he had instead of focusing on the negatives. His words struck a chord with me, and I figured if he can be positive, so can I. It was easier said than done. The symptom that bothered me most wasn’t the tremor, the slowness of movement, the stiff muscles, the fatigue, the weakness, or the inability to focus. I could have laughed at them. No, my least favorite symptom was a nasty case of anxiety that popped up frequently, in all sorts of situations. And it was hard to laugh when I felt an impending sense of doom hanging over my head. But I had a husband, children, and grandchildren. I needed to do more than put on a brave face for them. I had to accept what I couldn’t change, and try to be light and happy as much as possible. The easiest way for me to project joy was to make what the kids always called “Mom jokes.” My husband, Dan, had “Dad jokes,” too, but his were of a different character....

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Whatever You CAN Do is Enough.

Posted by on Sep 19, 2016 in acceptance, coping, featured, friends and family, guest author, inspiration, resilience, self care | 11 comments

This post was guest-written by ChronicBabe Catherine Richardson.   I spent the first three years of my life with chronic illness completely unaware that I even had a chronic illness. I had daily symptoms and I even had a diagnosis, but a chronic illness? Sick? No. I wondered why it seemed like I had a harder time doing life than everyone around me, and I pushed myself too hard and stretched myself too thin in an effort to try and make up for that, but it never even crossed my mind that what I was dealing with was a chronic illness. After I got so sick that my whole life fell apart, chronic illness was still a really tricky concept to wrap my head around. It seemed horribly misplaced when used to describe me, but once I knew what I was working with I was able to start to reassemble my life accordingly. Four years later, chronic illness is my normal, and along with it have come other words and terms that I never imagined would be part of my life, words like hospital, feeding tube, central line, wheelchair and disability. Nothing about any of this has been easy, but that transition from the before to the after of realizing I had a chronic illness was also when other words and terms such as self-care, management, advocate, chronic illness community and acceptance became part of my life. These words are what have allowed me to cope with the scarier ones. My heart aches for that earlier version of myself because even though she was in better physical health than I am now, she so was burdened by the feeling that this was something she had to overcome and if she couldn’t make herself better it would be her fault. If I could go back in time I know exactly what I would tell her. It’s the same thing I tell myself so often when I’m worried about not being able to keep up. It’s what I tell myself every time I wonder if my brave face is going to be brave enough, every time I feel torn between what I think I should be able to do and what I realistically can do, and every time I try not to get my hopes up too high because I never know what my body will throw at me from one day to the next, even from one hour to the next. It’s also what I told my friend a few weeks ago when she used every ounce of energy she could muster up to attend a wedding yet she still wasn’t sure if it would be enough to carry her...

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Community Collab: What movie do you watch when you need a good cry?

Posted by on Sep 16, 2016 in community collab, coping, featured, inspiration | 2 comments

This summer, we’ve been hosting Questions Of The Week (QOTW) on our Facebook page, and it’s been great to see what our community is into! Last week, we asked: what movie do you watch when you need a good cry? I’ve gotta say, I got a TON of ideas from you… thanks! Bookmark this page, babes, so you know where to go the next time you need to blubber. Here they are, in no particular order: Contact (that’s mine) Homeward Bound You’ve Got Mail Dolphin Tale Steel Magnolias Melissa says: “I’m not one for sad movies, but there are a few episodes of Doctor Who that give me leaky eyeballs.” hee hee! Moulin Rouge! Lord of the Rings Little Women (1994 version) Somewhere in Time A Star is Born Marley and Me (this one got a lot of upvotes!) Saving Private Ryan Bridges of Madison County Harold and Maude Love Story My Girl...

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Community Collab: Your favorite comfort foods

Posted by on Sep 12, 2016 in community collab, featured, inspiration, practicalities | 0 comments

This summer, we’ve been hosting Questions Of The Week (QOTW) on our Facebook page, and it’s been great to see what our community is into! Last week, we asked: what’s your favorite comfort food? Here are some of your responses: Jenni: Sushi, specifically spicy tuna maki! Sandra: Double-baked potatoes. Bake you tater without foil. Scoop out the inside, add butter and sour cream and fake bacon bits and cheese, if you like. Get it mashed together and put back in the skin. You can then bake it off for snacks or freeze for later. We make 8-10 big potatoes at a time and freeze for the days you just can organize more than reheat. Joanne: I’m Italian; comfort food is definitely pasta. Any kind of homemade pasta. For a really difficult day when sweetness is required, affogato is my go to, easy to make and comforting with autumn soon here. Here’s the basic recipe for Affogato: Place 2 small scoops of quality vanilla ice cream (you can replace vanilla flavor by coffee or chocolate ice cream) in a coffee cup, then pour in a shot of espresso or 3 tablespoons strong brewed coffee. Top with shaved dark chocolate and chopped hazelnuts. Jennifer: My comfort foods tend to fall into the soup/bowl food category. Miso Soup (South River Miso makes soy-free miso which is perfect for me), and Arroz Caldo (a savory chicken and rice porridge with garlic and ginger) in particular since they both sit very well on an upset stomach (for me). As far as sweet things, honey is my comfort sweet whether it’s in tea or just a small spoon. Kathy: Chicken rice or noodle soup. Preferably my mom’s! Lynette: Mexican food. (Oh, me too! – Jenni) Erin: This is really simple, but I love rye bread toast with [vegan] butter. It reminds me of my dad because that was his favorite kind of...

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A Heart-Felt Lovefest From a Fellow ChronicBabe #AWAPwednesday

Posted by on Sep 7, 2016 in featured, inspiration, relationships | 2 comments

Sometimes, we don’t need a lesson, or a how-to, or a pep talk. Sometimes, we just want to feel loved. Amirite? As ChronicBabes, our lives are really hard. We have moments when we tire of the daily strain of chronic illness or pain. We get frustrated that we have to work twice as hard as healthier people to accomplish the same stuff. We get tired of having to cancel plans. We worry that we’re not valuable members of society if we’re not able to work. We feel like maybe we’re not the best moms, sisters, friends, co-workers, lovers, neighbors. I feel you. While I spend time most days pepping myself up to go out there and be The ChronicBabe, some days I just want to be told I matter, you know? So today, I’m giving you the thing I sometimes need most. A total lovefest. *AWAP = As Well As Possible Now it’s your turn: How about you? Do you feel loved! Let me know 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. Subscribe to the ChronicBabe YouTube channel today to make sure you never miss another video, OK? Hi! I love you. I really, really love you – just the way you are. (Transition) 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? Sometimes, we don’t need a lesson, or a how-to, or a pep talk. Sometimes, we just want to feel loved. Amirite? As ChronicBabes, our lives are really hard. We have moments when we tire of the daily strain of chronic illness or pain. We get frustrated that we have to work twice as hard as healthier people to accomplish the same stuff. We get tired of having to cancel plans. We worry that we’re not valuable members of society if we’re not able to work. We feel like maybe we’re not the best...

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The Art of Being Chronically Ill

Posted by on Sep 5, 2016 in acceptance, career, coping, Creativity, fears, featured, guest author, inspiration, resilience, Work | 12 comments

This post is guest-written by ChronicBabe HellyTheElephant. It is never easy to be creative. If you have been told you are talented then there is always the fear of a negative response; if you have never felt you are any good, then illness can amplify your lack of confidence. But as that great artist Dr. Seuss put it: “Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” So…I have my work propped up while I am lying down on my bed in the Hellyphant house (SW England). The blinds are shut, crayons are rolling around the duvet, and I have just dipped my paintbrush in my herb tea. Readers will be relieved that this hellyphant is not wearing the hotpants and striped tights she wore as an art student some moons ago; neither am I sporting a beret and a smock (although come to think of it one would hide my unwashed hair, and the other could conceal my muffin-top…). The first time I was chronically ill was in the nineties. There were no Internet forums (…and no ChronicBabe!), so info was hard to come by, and writings about ME (Myalgic Encephalomyletis) were still in the cave-painting stage. I had been a 22-year-old professional illustrator…Then I got sick. Really sick. And, well, the rest of my story probably follows similar lines to your own: you search for answers, you assume you will get better…until you realise this is going to be a marathon not a sprint (ironic as you definitely won’t be doing either!). Now 26 years greyer, and with ME reducing me to about 30% of function again, (even during my time of being “well” it had never entirely gone away,) not that much is lovelier the second time around. However, I have been really blessed by marriage to Mr. Helliphant (who is also a chronic health dude), and a strong faith. The other thing that is really different is this time I proudly label myself a “Horizontal Artist” due to the fact I can only work lying down. Initially I was happy to have time to be scribbling again, and I drew nature – the flowers friends brought me. I had no idea of how I could paint the sense of frustration and disappointment that was growing week upon week.   There was “That Day.” “That Day” started with the sound of the last straw being added to this elephant’s painful back. I was several days into a grisly flare-up, with no answers from the medics, and in a lot of pain with no effective painkillers. I felt furiously angry at everything and everyone. How...

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WE’RE NOT DOCS!

Info posted here should not be considered medical advice; it's not intended to replace consultation with physicians or other health care providers. 

Every Babe needs to find her own path for achieving optimal wellness. While we do tons to help guide you, it’s up to each of you to make well-informed choices and live with the consequences. ChronicBabe.com assumes no liability or responsibility for stuff that goes wrong.

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Take what you like from this space, and leave the rest. Use what you learn to make your life better. Be responsible for your own choices. And please don’t sue us. XO!

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