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How to Roll with the Punches If You Have Chronic Illness #AWAPwednesday

Posted by on Aug 24, 2016 in ChronicBabe Basics, coping, featured, inspiration, resilience | 7 comments

Surprise! You’re having a flare-up. Surprise! Your insurance changed its coverage of your meds. Sound familiar? I know it does! Chronic illness is a daily series of surprises. Babe, sometimes you’ve gotta roll with the punches. Today’s video has a few of my favorite tips for doing that.  *AWAP = As Well As Possible Now it’s your turn: What things help you keep rolling even when life wants to knock you down? 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? Last weekend I was booked to fly home from a family visit in Houston and our flight was majorly delayed. We got the call 10 minutes away from the airport, and an hour away from my family’s house; we had an extra three hours to kill before our rescheduled flight. I was PISSED. The delay meant I would get home and climb in bed more than four hours later than usual, which is a big bummer for my health. I knew I’d have a flare-up the day after, possibly for many days after – and what a cruddy way to end my awesome fun trip! Ugh. But I had a choice in that moment: I could pout, grumble, be irritable. Or I could roll with the punches. Do I have to roll with every punch? Nope – some are just too extreme. You are entitled to some strong reactions to big ol’ punches. But also: You get to choose how you react. See this tattoo? [Picture of Jenni’s left inner arm.] It says “peace is every step,” the title of my favorite book by my spiritual teacher Thich Nhat Hanh. I need this daily reminder, that I get to choose how I’ll react to things. So I tried to react with peace. My brother-in-law and fiancee found a bowling alley near the airport, and we headed over to have “pin and tonics” and bowl with my nieces, which was HILARIOUS. In the end, I was glad for the extra time.   Flexibility is key I hate bowling. A broken...

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5 Reasons Why Leaving My Job and Working From Home Was The Best Decision I Ever Made

Posted by on Aug 15, 2016 in acceptance, career, coping, Creativity, featured, guest author, inspiration, pain, practicalities, resilience, self care, Work | 1 comment

This post was guest-written by Jennifer Kain Kilgore. Find her at her blog, Wear, Tear, & Care here. Hi! My name is Jen, and I’m a 29-year-old attorney, editor, writer, and patient advocate. I have spinal fractures from two car accidents that required two cervical fusions. The jury’s out on whether I’ll need more surgery. I worked in an office for three and a half years after law school. At that point I was dealing with the fallout from my first car accident, which happened in 2004 and decimated my thoracic spine. Law school happened, and then my job, and then… another accident. That second accident became a barrier to a normal life. Eventually I decided to leave my job and work from home. Here are the reasons why it was the best decision I ever made. My health comes first now. I was living the dream: I had a legal job that started at 8 am, ended around 6 pm, had great coworkers, and allowed for a life. My bosses were cool. During my second year, however, I had another car accident. The moment the pain set in, I knew I’d eventually have to leave the traditional workforce. In the year before I left I suffered from increasing pain (which caused repeated vomiting and a hernia), insomnia, loss of control of my hands, limping, muscle spasms, and loss of my ability to focus. In the end, it wasn’t worth it. Now, I telecommute from a recliner. I schedule my day around doctors’ appointments. I work a schedule that flows with when I’m feeling best. Before, there wasn’t time in the day to work on my health, so it controlled me. I am much happier.  The “What should I do?” questions wore down my family –  especially my husband. I steered every conversation in that direction because I wanted someone to say, “No, you can’t work.” I wanted someone to make that impossibly hard decision for me. My husband begged me to think about my health while I thought about finances. How could I leave without a backup plan? What if I made the wrong decision? So I did what is generally inadvisable. I started a side-hustle, working on sites like Upwork.com and Flexjobs.com to create a cushion for when I made the jump. I don’t know how I did that, because the level of pain at that point was inhuman. I think it’s because I knew that leaving was inevitable. Now, having the weight of that decision off my chest feels unbelievable. I can breathe. I can think. And with that, I can work. I’m not paralyzed. My body doesn’t rebel. The longer I stayed in the office, the more my body fought....

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Don’t take this personally, but… #AWAPwednesday

Posted by on Aug 3, 2016 in ChronicBabe Basics, featured, friends and family, relationships, resilience | 0 comments

It is very easy to take the criticism of others personally. Trust me: As a public person, I receive a lot of criticism, so I’m continually learning how to NOT take it personally. In today’s video, I share a few things that help me keep my distance from the opinions of others: *AWAP = As Well As Possible Now it’s your turn: How have you shrugged off rude comments from others? How do you stop yourself from taking things personally? 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: No offense, but… (insert something offensive) Don’t take this personally, but… (insert something definitely personal) It’s not a big deal but… (insert something that’s a big deal) Step one of learning how to not take things personally: earplugs as soon as you hear those warning phrases! (off-screen: Alix: Don’t take this personally, but…)   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? It is very easy to take the criticism of others personally. Trust me: As a public person, I receive a lot of criticism, so I’m continually learning how to NOT take it personally. Here are a few things that help me keep my distance from the opinions of others: They’ve got baggage Every person who criticizes you has their own baggage, their own history, which impacts how they behave. It can be challenging, but maintaining some perspective on their background can help you shirk off their critique. For example: Let’s say one of your friends is really harshing on how you talk to your significant other. Yes, it stings! But: She’s going through a divorce, so she’s probably projecting her own frustrations or fears, unintentionally. So perhaps instead of letting her criticism stick with you, you can try to release it, knowing it’s not about you. It’s not about you Speaking of “it’s not about you,” we often interpret things other people say as being aimed at us, when in fact, it has nothing to do with us. For example: Let’s say you’re at the doctor’s office and the nurse puts you on the scale. “I see you’ve...

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I Am Sew Supportive

Posted by on Aug 1, 2016 in acceptance, community collab, coping, Creativity, featured, inspiration, practicalities, resilience | 3 comments

Post written by ChronicBabe Tracy Mooney   About a year and a half ago, I was talking to one of my sewing buddies on the phone. We both have autoimmune disorders and we were discussing the ways in which we set up our sewing rooms to accommodate our bad health days.   She said something like “It is unbelievable what we are willing to do just to keep sewing!”   I countered with “But we have already given up so much! Why would we give up something that brings us so much joy???”   As a senior editor for the quilting magazine Generation Q, I travel to buyer’s conventions like Quilt Market and VDTA/SDTA. I found myself often saying to manufacturers “You know, you can market this to people in wheelchairs, people with tremors, and people with arthritis.” Somewhere in these moments is where it became my unconscious mission to help our community keep sewing.   I realized the importance of continuing to do the things we love when faced with chronic illness. Being diagnosed with an incurable disease and facing chronic pain on the daily is incredibly difficult to process. It is so easy to fall into depression. It is so easy to give up hope.   Perhaps you sew, or love something else. Perhaps you are a runner, build models, paint, dance, garden, love woodworking, or car restoration – it doesn’t matter what your hobby is – it just matters that you keep doing it.   For me, I look for ways and products that help sewing enthusiasts modify the way they sew. This can be special glasses that help them see better, guides that fit on their machines to help keep the fabric steady, or even managing break time with ice breaks to minimize pain. What can you do to modify your favorite hobby ChronicBabe-style?   Recently, a friend of mine was experiencing a flare and found that she couldn’t join her running club. She was worried that she was missing out on social time with her friends and that they would move on without her. I suggested she look at other ways to participate. So she contacted the organizer and found they needed help setting up drinking stations. She was thrilled. She could still visit with her buds even if she couldn’t run because of a flare.   Some of my readers love quilting, but when they are in a flare don’t have the energy or physical stamina to sew. One creative ChronicBabe said she would stroke and refold her fabric collection. Another said she would sort and choose fabrics for her next project.     Be creative! Think outside the box! What is it...

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How to look really good even if you feel really bad #AWAPwednesday

Posted by on Jul 27, 2016 in ChronicBabe Basics, coping, featured, resilience, self care | 2 comments

  Being a ChronicBabe often means we have to make sacrifices—and that can mean we spend more time managing our symptoms and less time primping and practicing good self-care. No more! I dare you to look good. I know you can. Here are my six favorite tips for looking good even when you feel really bad. It will boost your mood, sugar—promise. *AWAP = As Well As Possible Now it’s your turn: How about you: How do you preserve your self-care routine even if you’re flaring up? 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: My throat is scratchy, my fibro is flaring, and I definitely did not get enough sleep… But I look amazing. And I feel amazing, in part, because I look amazing. Today, I’m going to help you look fabulous, too. 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?   All of us have days when we feel like crud, even non-ChronicBabes. But you’ve heard the phrase “fake it til you make it,” right? There’s real truth there, my loves. There are six things I do on crummy days that help me to feel gorgeous, which lifts my mood and helps me project an air of confidence and does wonders for my self-esteem. Here we go: Wash my face Even if I don’t have the time or energy to take a full shower, I wash my face and moisturize. Always. Put on mascara Some of you don’t wear makeup, and that’s cool, but some of us do. My little eyelashes are blonde, so when I don’t have mascara on, my eyes look really tired. So a quick coat of mascara does wonders. Put on real clothes As ChronicBabes, many of us spend most of our lives in PJs. Trust me–I loooove a good PJ pant. But on really crummy days when I want to feel beautiful in spite of my symptoms, I wave buh-bye to PJ pants and throw on a cute dress. It’s an easy way to feel “put together” in just one quick change. Drink water This is so simple and may...

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Tips for being a Chronic Explorer Gal on the Go

Posted by on Jul 25, 2016 in Creativity, featured, guest author, inspiration, practicalities, resilience, self care | 4 comments

This post is guest written by ChronicBabe Michelle R.   Hi ChronicBabes! I’m Michelle. I’m currently attending school in Stockholm to multitask on my dreams of going back to school and living in Europe. I also have an autoimmune disease called ITP (Idiopathic Thrombocytopenia Purpura if you feel sassy), in addition to Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Living abroad with health challenges can be annoying, but it hasn’t stopped me from exploring my new surroundings.   I travel when possible, and it usually turns out to be solo. Being a “sick” single gal on the go is tricky, but often more rewarding. I found that with extra planning, trips by myself are possible! Each journey I discover something new about managing my health, and here are some self-care tricks and practical tips I’ve learned so far.   Shyness is nice! (eh, sorta) The Smiths song “Ask” has some of my favorite advice: “Shyness is nice, and shyness can stop you from doing all the things in life you’d like to.” When I need help or advice I buck up and just ask someone. This is essential for me despite feeling anxious to do so. Asking around has also led to making new friends or getting some tips that make the journey more enjoyable.   “Just in case” Case Stranded at a bus stop in the middle of nowhere in a country where you don’t speak the language is not a fun place to be. I make sure to carry extra water, snacks, meds (don’t forget the Rx if you have it), tiny first aid kit, and extra charger until I can get somewhere where I can get something to eat/directions. I’m hopeful, but I try and anticipate any sticky situations.       Self Aid Bonuses I also carry some supplemental bonuses that help with anxiety or just well-being in general. This could include pedialyte packets, headphones for calming podcasts or music, and scented oil when I need more zen. The headphones/music helps especially when I know I’m going to be in crowded, unfamiliar areas that might trigger anxiety, such as a subway or major tourist spot where everyone’s loud and slapping me in the face with their selfie sticks. It’s happened more than once.   Sit! It sounds obvious but sometimes I forget to just sit and take a breather! It’s amazing how you can turn anything into a seating arrangement. Window sills, curbs, concrete street barriers. Anything. Most recently in Rome while trying to find shade outside the colosseum I found some tiny space around the base of an ancient pillar ruin to sit on. If you need a rest but there’s no actual seating – give MacGyver a...

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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. 

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