It’s AWAP* Wednesday, and today I have a very special edition of our weekly conversation about being as well as possible in spite of illness!

A couple weeks ago, I announced a contest to bling out your assistive devices/medical implements/sick chick stuff. And you did not disappoint! Many of you shared some beautiful creations, and I’m just tickled pink at your creativity and courage. It takes strength to be so public with your health challenges, and it means a great deal to many people to see you having fun with what is otherwise a crappy situation. I applaud everyone who participated in the contest!


fromkes spine

artist E.B. Fromkes with a spine jacket, ready for a doctor’s visit

The winner: E. B. Fromkes of CFS Warrior Art

Babes, this chick has got glitter running through her veins and paint coating every surface of her life. Her life is art, and she does not let multiple chronic illnesses stop her from creating. I absolutely adore her spine jacket, which she showed off on E.B. Fromkes on Instagram as her chosen outfit for a doctor consult.

E. B. Fromkes' spoon crown

E. B. Fromkes’ spoon crown

I’m also a big fan of her spoonie crown, which is a simultaneously vivacious and dark visualization of reclaiming life in spite of illness. (If you don’t get the spoon reference, check out my pal Christine Miserandino’s Spoon Theory, which lots of us find hugely relatable.)

One of the great challenges we face as ChronicBabes is expressing our experience without putting people off. Yes: It is not our job to make people feel comfortable with our experience. And: It’s still great when we can find a way to express our difficulties and struggles without being a drag. I think this artist has got a fabulous approach.


Runner-up: Amy Defalco

This ChronicBabe shared a couple pics of her migraine mask on Facebook, and I love her brave, public approach to handling symptoms at work. She says:

The back story is that I’ve had migraines since I was a kid. Daily, chronic cluster migraines for about 12 years now. No meds, remedies, weird stand on one foot things have worked. This is something I wear at work, I was telling the girls about your contest & they chided me into entering. They think it’s a riot. The words “Go Away” are directed at the migraine but let people know I need space as well.”

Amy Defalco's migraine mask

Amy Defalco’s migraine mask

You’ve gotta love that she’s not shy at work, and that her co-workers actually encouraged her to make her art even more public! Love it.

 We had many more entries, and I wish I could send prizes to everyone, but then I might run out of glitter.

OK, sure, I will never actually run out of glitter… I still want to share with you pics from the many babes who entered my contest.

Carly Findlay

Here is a beauty from my pal Carly Findlay, a writer, speaker and activist with icthyosis. This is her container of cream, which she needs to use constantly to keep her skin healthy… and I positively love how glam it is:

Carly Findlay's glittery cream pot

Carly Findlay’s glittery cream pot

I’m a huge fan of adding glitter and sparkles and gems to just about anything, so Carly’s beautiful cream pot is an inspiration for me.

Lehnanne Kidd

Otherwise known as Turtleherding on Instagram, Lehnanne has decorated the most beautiful cane I’ve seen in ages… I love how subtle the colors are, but when you check it out up close, there’s tons of beautiful details:

Lehnanne Kidd's gorgeous decorated cane

Lehnanne Kidd’s gorgeous decorated cane











Debbie Sabin

This adorable ChronicBabe showed off a few pics of her blinged-out boot almost as soon as I announced the contest. I was so touched that she followed my lead, but did it in her own way—and I know that blinging her boot had to feel super-empowering. (My own experience with blinged boot and other accessories has been 100% positive.) Check her out:

Debbe Sabin's blinged-out boot

Debbe Sabin’s blinged-out boot











Salted Brownies

Last but not least, I want to show off this submission I received via Facebook, from someone called Salted Brownies (I’m guessing that’s not her real name!). She’s taken what many see as a frustratingly blatant indicator of illness or injury (a neck collar) and made it entirely her own, and I adore it. This looks WAY better than a plain neck collar and it looks like she’s having a lot of fun with it:

Furry and fabulous neck collar by Salted Brownies

Furry and fabulous neck collar by Salted Brownies













The fun doesn’t stop here!

I promise to keep blinging out things, from pill cases to asthma inhalers. And I will keep the #whatwillyoubling hashtag alive, so please feel free to join us in continuing to show off our creative sides and our strength and courage in the face of illness and adversity!

*AWAP = As Well As Possible

Now it’s your turn:

What else do you do on the daily to make life with chronic illness/chronic pain more bearable? Join the conversation in the comments below, share your experience and ask for advice from our community.

Miss seeing a video? Don’t worry: I’ll be back with you next week! Meanwhile, check out our AWAP Wednesday video playlist, which has almost seven hours of guidance, advice, and 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!