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Community Collab: Famous ChronicBabes

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

This week we asked “Who’s your favorite celebrity with a chronic illness?” Sometimes it’s so nice to see people in the public eye who are open about their illness. It’s inspiring! Here’s a roundup of your favorite celebs with chronic illness.   Fibromyalgia: Morgan Freeman Lupus: Selena Gomez, Toni Braxton, Nick Cannon Mental illness: Demi Lovato, Sarah Silverman, Kristen Bell, Jared Padalecki, Robin Williams Undiagnosed autoimmune disease: Sarah Ramey RA: Kathleen Turner Migraine: Marcia Cross IBD: Mike McCready of Pearl Jam, Hank Green, Kathleen Baker (Olympic swimmer), Shannen Doherty Sjogren’s: Venus Williams Endometriosis: Lena Dunham Celiac: Elisabeth Hasselbeck, Jennifer Esposito PCOS: Jillian Michaels Graves’ Disease: Missy Elliott...

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A Letter To My Sister With IBD

Posted by on Sep 2, 2016 in acceptance, coping, fears, featured, friends and family, guest author, inspiration, pain, relationships, resilience | 8 comments

A photo of you I took in August. We woke up at 5am for sunrise on the beach.   To my 17-year-old sister with Ulcerative Colitis (UC): When you go off to college soon you will have days when you aren’t able to go to class. When you email professors to let them know, you’ll be too ashamed to tell them what’s really going on. You’ll tell them you’ve been throwing up all night and you’re afraid to leave the bathroom and sit in a classroom. The second part will always be true – you will be on hour three or four of sitting in the bathroom and you are afraid to leave it. But we both know our inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) doesn’t make us throw up. When people ask you about your health-related absences, you will be vague and say: “Sorry I was in the bathroom for so long. I was sick.” And if they prod it will become: “Yeah, totally throwing up for like 30 minutes. Super gross.” It’s not technically true. But it you will be less afraid to say that than the truth.   I called you in April to interview you for my final article for my final journalism class of college. I had decided to look into why I felt too ashamed to talk about my true Crohn’s symptoms. I read books on the psychology of shame, interviewed our GI doctor and a psychologist, talked to friends and acquaintances with Crohn’s and UC (that included you!) and I found an overarching trend of shame. The belief that we are “lesser,” that we are somehow “dirty” and “not whole” because of our symptoms, pervaded almost every interview with other IBD patients. The shame here is a painful belief that one has a failure of being, that one is too flawed to be wanted or valued by others and that we will be abandoned. My research made a lot of sense to me. I knew one of the main reasons I was too ashamed to talk about my symptoms or my illness in general was that I had a reputation to uphold: that of a person who has not failed at being, who is not too flawed to be valued by her peers. I was afraid that if I spoke frankly to friends or, most terrifyingly, boyfriends, they would leave me. This fear of abandonment is at the core of our shame. I never told you that after I interviewed you on the phone, I sat in my bed and cried. When you were diagnosed at age nine with UC, four years after I had been diagnosed at the same age with Crohn’s, I...

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Embrace the Suck of Chronic Illness #AWAPwednesday

Posted by on Aug 31, 2016 in acceptance, ChronicBabe Basics, coping, featured, inspiration, practicalities, resilience | 4 comments

Sometimes you will just feel like crap, and no amount of pep talks from me is going to make you feel better. This is how I feel today. No matter how much self-care you do, no matter how faithfully you take your meds, no matter how good you are at your daily routine… sometimes, you’re just going to feel like crud anyway. I mean, this is true for ALL humans. So on some days, you just have to “embrace the suck.” Today’s video teaches you how to do just that: *AWAP = As Well As Possible Now it’s your turn: How about you? Have you tried to embrace the suck? How did it work out? 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. Subscribe to the ChronicBabe YouTube channel today to make sure you never miss another video, OK? Sometimes you will just feel like crap, and no amount of pep talks from me is going to make you feel better. This is how I feel today. No matter how much self-care you do, no matter how faithfully you take your meds, no matter how good you are at your daily routine… sometimes, you’re just going to feel like crud anyway. I mean, this is true for ALL humans. So on some days, you just have to “embrace the suck.” I heard this term, “embrace the suck,” from a couple of U.S. military veterans I’ve met recently. These are folks who live with chronic pain and illness and yet work so hard every day to accomplish their goals. If I understand their approach correctly, it is about acknowledging the reality of the suck, and moving ahead as much as you can. So here goes: I feel like crap today. My bowels are going berserk, I have a headache, my back is super-sore, and I’m exhausted. There – I said it out loud. I acknowledged it. Now, what can I do to mitigate this suck? I can drink lots of water to hydrate, I can take some pain meds for my back, I can eat a simple diet today to help calm my bowels, I can...

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Emergency Preparedness Issues and Solutions Series Part 3: Creating a Bug Out Bag

Posted by on Aug 31, 2016 in community collab, coping, Creativity, featured, guest author, inspiration, practicalities, resilience | 0 comments

This post was guest-written by Team Blue (Kyrie-Inn Blue with help from Tao Blue, Service Dog, Canine Good Citizen; and Mijo, Service Dog In Training).     Often disabled folks are too busy trying to survive day to day that they neglect tackling the emergency preparedness necessities that may just save their lives, their health, their property, their sanity, and their independent living status. Where do you store your important documents? How can someone track you in a SHTF (“sh*t hits the fan”) situation? Do you have a plan in place for solid shelter if you face a storm? If so, what do you need to have on hand to create viability? Two weeks without power has faced Team Blue on multiple occasions. Let us help you avoid omissions in your checklists!!   Today’s topic: creating a Bug Out Bag (BOB)   We all need to seriously evaluate our personal emergency preparedness on at least a quarterly basis, rather than wait until the weatherman predicts a “superstorm.” Emergencies of all kinds happen on a daily basis, even those that are un-weather- related, like fires, certain types of evacuations, identity theft, etc. Can you efficiently respond to rather than freeze in a crisis? Team Blue knows it’s easier said than done… unless you have taken the time to prepare, equip,and practice.   Today’s topic: Creating a Bug Out Bag (BOB) (aka survival bag, aka GO bag, aka get-home bag, if anyone cares to search Google for further information and ideas!)   Today, we look at what one should stock in their BOB.   The Basics We should first define what a BOB is, how we prepare and use a BOB, and then you may adapt your BOB to serve your particular needs and situation. BOBs contain the supplies, documents, and whatever you need in case of emergencies, where you may be forced out of your residence or vehicle and need to stay safe until you may return to either, or until you can get to a safe location. We have found it helpful to have one centrally located in the house, clearly marked, so if we find ourselves needing to have people like our home health aides, case managers/case workers go get it, they can easily run in and grab it.   We choose backpacks of different colors to identify which BOB is for which situation (we need several). Our service dog has his own doggie backpack for outing and a messenger bag for his hospital/fire BOB. Choose the bag that suits your physicality best. Often one can find reasonably priced gently used backpacks or other styles of bags at thrift stores, or by posting a “want” on freecycle.com; if...

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Emergency Preparedness Issues and Solutions Series Part 1: Managing Your Phone for Crisis Situations

Posted by on Aug 29, 2016 in ChronicBabe Basics, coping, fears, featured, guest author, inspiration, practicalities | 1 comment

This post was guest-written by Team Blue (Kyrie-Inn Blue with help from Tao Blue, Service Dog, Canine Good Citizen; and Mijo, Service Dog In Training).     Often disabled folks are too busy trying to survive day to day that they neglect tackling the emergency preparedness necessities that may just save their lives, their health, their property, their sanity, and their independent living status. Where do you store your important documents? How can someone track you in a SHTF (“sh*t hits the fan”) situation? Do you have a plan in place for solid shelter if you face a storm? If so, what do you need to have on hand to create viability? Two weeks without power has faced Team Blue on multiple occasions. Let us help you avoid omissions in your checklists!!   Today’s topic: managing your phone for crisis situations 🙂   We all need to seriously evaluate our personal emergency preparedness on at least a quarterly basis, rather than wait until the weatherman predicts a “superstorm.” Emergencies of all kinds happen on a daily basis, even those that are un-weather- related, like fires, certain types of evacuations, identity theft, etc. Can you efficiently respond to rather than freeze in a crisis? Team Blue knows it’s easier said than done… unless you have taken the time to prepare, equip, and practice.     Cell phones If you do not have a cell phone, save your money so you can get the best plan and phone possible. Lifeline and Safelink offer phones at zero or minimal cost to people who are under an income limit and/or receive state services like Medicaid and SNAP. You can apply online at: www.safelinkwireless.com, www.assurancewireless.com and other sites as well. Have your phone on a charger as often as possible. It will not help you if it is not charged. Make sure you have at least two extra chargers, so you can have one in your BOB (“bug out bag” – to be discussed in a later post) and another in your bedroom. If you have a vehicle, get the 12-volt charger as well. You can charge your phone as you drive and also charge it from your car battery when electricity fails. (In these situations make sure to have the car idling so you do not kill your car battery.) Amazon.com has every charger out there at extremely reasonable prices. Often phone accessory bundles will save you even more money. Consider getting a small solar charger as well. We have used them often and saved ourselves countless times from a dead phone. Have your phone wherever you are. Turn it to vibrate or silent at bedtime, but do not leave it in another...

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Watch Out, Diabetes – Don’t Stand In My Way

Posted by on Aug 26, 2016 in activism, career, coping, featured, guest author, inspiration, resilience | 0 comments

This week’s guest post is written by ChronicBabe Christel. Christel is a blogger, certified personal trainer, bikini fitness competitor and fitness model. She has been living with type 1 diabetes since 1997, and at an early stage decided that that wasn’t going to slow her down. On TheFitBlog.com she writes about Health, Fitness and how to be Fit With Diabetes. She trains people with diabetes from across the globe, online and in person, and supports them in meeting their fitness goals.     I’m probably one of the most stubborn people you will ever come across. …Or you could call it focused or determined. Yes, that sounds better. My husband says I am like one of those huge tankers that needs a lot of time (or an iceberg) to change course. ☺ I have managed to make my stubbornness work to my advantage though (for the most part) and I truly believe there is hardly anything I can’t do if I set my mind to it. I’ve managed to get my MBA, travelled the world, had a successful corporate career, started my own business and, lately, competed in (and won) a fitness competition.     It all starts with your mindset So what does all that determination have to do with my diabetes? Well, it made me decide right away that my 1997 Type 1 diabetes diagnosis would never prevent me from doing and accomplishing everything I wanted in life. Honestly, I never thought twice about that first injection or about arranging my life so that the diabetes didn’t interfere with the things I want to do. That doesn’t mean that it’s easy to manage the diabetes monster, but I would claim that it’s doable if you set your mind to it, take the time to understand your unique reaction to different stimuli, and structure your life so that the diabetes doesn’t run the show but is instead in the background. I know that I am lucky to “only” have diabetes, and none of the other “friends” it can bring along. Additional physical or emotional burdens will of course change the situation and how hard it is to figure out your diabetes management.     How fitness took my diabetes management to the next level   My adventure into fitness and making that my career has actually been what has taken my diabetes management to the next level. I spent a lot of time tuning in, listening to my body, experimenting, and analyzing the outcomes (and a lot of blood glucose testing). To me, that’s the key to learning; experiments and analysis. I’ve found that my body’s reaction to stimuli differs as I get older, but the patterns are...

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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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