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Announcing: ChronicBabe Pen Pal Kits

Posted by on Mar 28, 2019 in featured, practicalities, relationships | 6 comments

do you miss feeling connected? sometimes i do, too. and when i do, i try to make an extra effort to reach out to people and say hello. one way i do that is by sending snail mail. it’s such a simple thing to do – write a short little note, throw in some confetti, seal it with a kiss, and toss it in the mailbox. and i LOVE getting snail mail – it’s like a little present! so i decided this week that i would help y’all become better pen pals.today, i’m announcing today the release of ChronicBabe Pen Pal Kits! i am raiding my stationery collection and creating fun little packages from my stash. each kit contains:  at least 3 note cards. these might be blank, or might have fun phrases or illustrations, like “thank you” or “you’re awesome”3 Forever Stamps, to make sure you send your snail mail. these are good for mailing within the U.S. FOREVER, but don’t wait!at least one roll of washi tape, to use to decorate your envelopesat least 20 stickers from my massive sticker collection from all over the worldtwo ChronicBabe stickerstwo You Are Beautiful stickersextra decorative paper and other goodies I find as I raid my drawers the kits are for sale in my Etsy shop, and will be available until i run out of goodies. so these won’t last forever!  international kits available for those who live outside the U.S., i offer kits that don’t include stamps, for a slightly lower price. you’ll have to get your own postage. and next week, i’ll tell you about another component of this pen pal project: a pen pal membership component, which will make us pen pals. that’s right…you and me. pen pals. writing to each other. doesn’t that sound fun?! i’m working on the details now, and will announce next week how you can get involved. here i am, dreaming about all the snail mail i’ll get to send and...

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25 Ways to Support Chronically Ill Friends During the Holidays

Posted by on Dec 19, 2018 in caregivers, ChronicBabe Basics, coping, featured, friends and family, holidays, relationships, resilience | 6 comments

It’s the winter holidays, and this time of year, many of us with chronic illness feel extra blue. We may not be able to travel because of our illnesses, or we may have less money to spend on gifts because our health expenses are high. We might feel like we can’t attend parties because there won’t be anything for us to eat or drink; we might even feel like we won’t have anything new to talk about, and that’s uncomfortable. This holiday season, I hope you’ll give an extra thought to your friend who’s ill. To make it easier, I’ve come up with a long list of ways you can show you care. This is great for those of us sick chicks to share with each other (we’ve got to support one another!) and it’s a great list to share with our loved ones, who might want to support us but don’t know how. Your chronically ill friend needs you! And loved ones need to learn how to support sick folks, too. Share this list with folks you love, okay babe? And have the happiest holiday season possible. Text your sick friend to say hello, or I love you, or how’s your day going – something simple.Offer to do a quick grocery store run for your friend, even it’s just to pick up a few essentials.If you can’t run an errand for your friend in person, use a service like Postmates to deliver food,  groceries, or sundries. Set a date with your chronically ill friend to watch a movie together. If you can’t do it in person, schedule a date when both of you can stream the movie at the same time, and hop on the phone to watch and giggle together.Make a recurring calendar reminder every three days to check in with your friend. The holiday season can get hectic and you might forget, but your friend needs you.Offer to drive your friend to some errands they need to run, especially shopping, going to the post office, or even doctor visits. That way you can catch up and make something otherwise mundane more fun.Buy your friend a month of membership in the ChronicBabe Academy, so they can make more friends with chronic illness–and learn how to empower themselves.Call your friend on the holiday and tell them you love them – people so rarely make phone calls now, they’ve become a real treat!Collect your sick friends’ addresses using a program like Postable and then send them a postcard to arrive during the holidays.Bake something you know your friend will love, keeping in mind their dietary preferences or limitations – ask first!If you don’t bake, ask around for a recommendation for...

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Hooray! The new ChronicBabe Academy Membership program is here!

Posted by on Oct 2, 2018 in announcements, ChronicBabe Academy, membership, Secret Club | 1 comment

Babes, I am SO excited to share that the new ChronicBabe membership program is here: the ChronicBabe Academy! This membership program replaces the Secret Club membership program. While I loved the old way, I am now able to offer a new approach that has SO MANY MORE bells and whistles. Head to this page to learn all about it. So exciting! And: A bit scary. Anytime I launch a new offering, it’s a little stressful. So be kind—and patient—as launch day progresses. Thank you! xoxo,...

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Art and Poop: Why Chronic Pain Patients Need to Talk About the Icky Stuff

Posted by on Aug 28, 2018 in activism, Creativity, featured, pain, sponsored | 7 comments

Salix Pharmaceuticals provided me with a stipend and paid for my travel and accommodations related to the event. However, all opinions are my own. Most people I meet hate talking about poop, but I don’t mind. Poop is one aspect of life we all have to deal with, and I’ve recently learned it is an important topic for those of us with chronic pain. So, I’ve never shied away from talking about it or any of the other “icky” topics. When Salix Pharmaceuticals asked me to participate in a blogger event, I was wary at first—I so rarely do projects with pharma—but when they explained that it was a unique art event designed around learning about “Painstipation” (the constipation caused by opioid pain medication in chronic pain patients), and that they were presenting findings from a survey on opioid induced constipation (OIC) sponsored by Salix in partnership with U.S. Pain Foundation, I just had to say yes. I mean, art and poop talk – this was going to be interesting. I knew a good bit about OIC before the event, because I have chronic pain and have taken opioids in the past—and because I’ve heard about OIC as a volunteer and creative partner with U.S. Pain Foundation since 2010. So many people in the chronic pain community rely on opioids to help manage their pain. This means many of them also have to deal with OIC. A bunch of feisty bloggers Salix invited me and three other bloggers out to California to attend an educational, creative event about “Painstipation.” Leslie Vandever is a blogger I’ve known for ages; she has rheumatoid arthritis, and she writes at Rheumablog, among other venues. She has openly shared that she relies on opioids to manage her chronic pain so she can continue to work and advocate for the chronic pain community. Brittney Wilson, BSN, RN, also joined us; she’s been blogging for years as The Nerdy Nurse, and has a reputation as a popular health care blogger. Charis Hill was the other blogger with us, and although I had not seen her blog at Being Charis, we clicked right away—she’s a firecracker. (In her blog, you’ll learn that she lives with ankylosing spondylitis.) For a moment, I wondered if Salix understood that they had a room full of feisty advocates on their hands? None of us are quiet bloggers—we’re all fighting the good fight for better health care for all. Once I recognized the potential for all of us to get creative together using art, I really appreciated the thought that had gone into the event. The research: opioid-induced constipation and chronic pain Before we made art, we talked about the survey. Salix, in...

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It’s time to make ourselves BIG in the face of illness, even while the world wants us to be small…

Posted by on Aug 15, 2018 in activism, featured, Kick-Ass Sick Chick, resilience | 21 comments

Last week, I had the honor of speaking at an event organized by Katy Brennan for Suffering the Silence, where a bunch of women stood in a room together and talked about how they’re living incredible lives even though they have chronic illness and disability. To be among women like me—to hear their stories, hopes, dreams—was profoundly moving. When called to speak, I changed course from reading from my book to instead read something I wrote more recently. It’s about the importance of making ourselves BIG instead of being forced to be small. Here’s my quick piece. I hope you like it! If it resonates at all, please join the conversation in the comments and share your perspective. Thanks! It’s time to make ourselves BIG as a child… and as a young woman, and – heck – even today – my parents emphasized the importance of not making trouble. of not getting in anyone’s face. of not being too “different”. and WOW, society sure has reinforced to me that i need to stay small. don’t ruffle any feathers. don’t make anyone uncomfortable. don’t be too needy. don’t be too noisy. don’t be too weird. to be a “good” girl. to stay in line. to respect elders. to respect men. to respect doctors. to respect everyone else but myself. so i learned to make myself small. and that has done me an enormous disservice when it comes to my health. here is a brief list of the ways in which i’ve made myself small when it comes to my health: i’ve said yes to medications i was scared of, without asking questions about side effects. i’ve held my questions when a doctor tells me they’re sorry, but they’re in a hurry to see the next patient. i’ve hidden how much i was hurting from friends, family – even my health care providers – because i didn’t want to seem too “needy.” once, in agonizing pain, i waited an hour to leave the house for the emergency room because my ex-husband didn’t want to miss an episode of the tv show ally mcbeal, but he also didn’t want me to go to the E.R. alone. i thought it wasn’t a big deal. it was: i had a ruptured ovarian cyst and the physicians were shocked i was even able to walk myself into the E.R. i’ve changed clothes before a doctor visit because i want to look “nice enough,” like i’m taking care of myself. but i have to be careful to not look “too nice,” like i’m not sick enough to warrant care. and i’ve stayed with doctors years longer than i should have because i thought they would be disappointed...

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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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