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Taking Precedence

Posted by on Aug 8, 2016 in coping, fears, featured, friends and family, guest author, health care providers | 9 comments

This post was guest-written by Lee-Ann Liles. My health precedes my every decision. I live in Bermuda, an ideal place to work and vacation in one package. Yet, Bermuda is known for harboring an increasingly high number of people with chronic illness, some of the most stand-out ones being heart disease, diabetes and cancer. With 65,000 people on 22 square miles, Bermuda has produced some very rare and difficult to diagnose and treat illnesses due to its isolation in the middle of the Atlantic. With this in mind, you would think that doctors would be receptive to patient woes, but this is not always the case. Every year after completing my annual physical, I would celebrate the fact that I had not acquired any of the chronic diseases that have marred my family. In my maternal family alone, everyone has a “chronic disease.” These include Crohn’s disease, lupus and breast cancer and gives me every reason to be attentive to my health. After having my daughter in my late thirties, I took full advantage of the quiet times when she was asleep, but I was also completing my Masters. The pain, stiffness and exhaustion that developed during that time never went away, later growing into inflammation and a strange hyper-vigilance to the noise in my environment. I discretely talked to friends and family about my health and received helpful information, but I stopped seeking help until a friend asked me why I was always out of breath. I realized my health was just as important to others as it was to me. I visited three physicians before I was tested for a chronic illness. The third doctor concluded I had Systemic Exertion Intolerance Disease (S.E.I.D.), but after further investigation with a Rheumatologist she concluded that it was possibly psoriatic arthritis, Celiac’s disease, Crohn’s disease or lupus. She gave me a Cortisol shot for adrenal fatigue and I was amazed at the change! I was to hop on a plane to London and then France the next day and for the first time in five years, I stayed energetic throughout the trip and even danced in a nightclub. As difficult as it may be, I am adjusting my daily plans to accommodate my health, even though I have not yet received a diagnosis. I will listen to my body to avoid exhaustion. I will learn to say “No” more often and regulate my diet and exercise to find balance. I will continue to find peace of mind, through quiet periods of relaxation, which will reduce my stress levels. In this way, I know there are wonderful things to come. Never give up.     **This is the fifth of many in a...

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Support From Friends and Family

Posted by on Jul 29, 2016 in acceptance, caregivers, community collab, coping, featured, friends and family, guest author, relationships | 2 comments

This week we asked: “What is your favorite thing a friend or family member has done for you when you’re flaring?” Here are some of our favorite answers. Read and re-read when you’re feeling down.   Keidra says she’s had numerous friends walk her home when her vision is bad and install lights in her hallway and on her stairs to help her see. When Fran was in the second acute phase of her Ramsay Hunt Syndrome and couldn’t move or see, her friend brought her a huge shopping bag full of books on tape so she would have something to do. Michelle’s 70-year-old supermom came and helped for the 3 months of recovery Michelle spent after a nasty car accident. Lindsay’s roommate and boyfriend threw her a mini party with cookies and party blowers when she had to go through an injection medication process that she hated. Tania’s friend cleans and de-cluttered her room for her as a surprise when she was at the doctor. Patricia’s mother moved to live with her daughter and help at home! When Mary Beth was embarrassed of her chipping toe nails at the hospital, her husband gave her a pedicure. Alix’s friend from across the US sent her flowers when she was in her first overnight hospital stay.   We are surrounded by such love! Being a ChronicBabe can be tough, but having loving family and friends makes all the...

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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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QOTW: What’s in your ear buds?

Posted by on Jul 22, 2016 in community collab, coping, Creativity, featured, guest author, humor, inspiration, self care | 2 comments

We asked, you answered! This week our Question Of The Week was “What’s your favorite podcast that gets you through the week?” Here are some new podcasts for you to listen to, suggested by our ChronicBabe community: 2 Dope Queens Dedra suggested the WNYC podcast “2 Dope Queens.” I recently began listening to it and it’s an amazing commute podcast as it’s essentially a live comedy show with some of the funniest people in NYC. Listen to it here.   Adventures in Roommating Thanks Brianna for this suggestion! “Adventures in Rommating” follows two roommates living together in LA who talk about love, life, and film. Listen to it here.   Lore Fran suggested Aaron Manke’s podcast, “Lore,” and I’m totally with her! It’s a wonderfully skin crawly podcast that details true scary stories. Listen to it here.   Welcome to Night Vale Thanks Sabrina for this cult podcast classic. The podcast gives updates on the ficitonal small desert town of Night Vale. Listen to it here.   99% Invisible Kerry-Ann suggested this popular podcast that won the Webby award this year for best podcast. “99% Invisible” is about the unnoticed architecture and design that shape our world. Listen to it here.   Still Untitled the Adam Savage Project Amy Graves (read her contributor article here!) suggested this podcast where Adam Savage, Norm and Will discuss all topics from Adam’s life to hot-button issues within the maker community. Listen to it here.   History of English Vikki, “language geek,” suggested this podcast that is covering the history of the English language, starting at the beginning. The podcast is barely into Middle Ages, so follow it as it progresses to our modern-day English! Listen to it here.   Can I Pet Your Dog? Thank you Anne for introducing us to this podcast for unashamed dog lovers. The podcast includes segments liked “Dogs We Met This Week,” “Cool Dog Tech,” “Mutt Minute,” “Cool Dog Tech,” and “Dog News.” Listen to it here.   Stuff You Should Know My favorite podcast will always be “Stuff You Should Know” from It’s a podcast hosted by Josh and Chuck where they cover everything you would ever want to know, from SuperBalls to LSD to cats to poop (a lot of us can really learn a lot from that one!) to Lizzie Borden to animal imprinting. Truly everything! Give it a listen here.   Do you have any favorite podcasts we didn’t mention? Let us know in the comments below!   This post was written by Alix Kramer, ChronicBabe intern and proud ChronicBabe....

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Choose Happy

Posted by on Jul 18, 2016 in acceptance, community collab, coping, featured, guest author, inspiration, resilience | 1 comment

Post written by ChronicBabe Tracy Mooney   It’s been three and a half years. Three and a half years since my diagnosis, trying to learn the limits of my body, and to learn the new “normal.”   And yet, in those three and a half years I still haven’t figured it all out. At least five days a week I still find myself wondering aloud why am I so tired? as if this is not my life. As if I don’t feel like this every day. This is my life, just as it is the life of every other person living with autoimmune disease.   At first I tried to fight it. I thought if I just did everything right I would get better. So I made changes to my diet, I drank water, I exercised regularly, I slept. And still my disease continued.   I tried taking herbs. I thought somehow there would be a magical combination of herbal tea that would somehow make me well. Then I realized that boosting my immune system just “boosted” my messed up immune system. Silly me! My immune system is broken.   I tried restricting my diet even more. I thought, there must be something I’m eating that my body is allergic to. If I just juice enough, or cut out sugar and dairy, or eat enough salad, I will get well!   When nothing made any difference at all, it slowly started to sink in. THIS IS MY NORMAL.   I am always going to be tired. I’m always going to be hurting. I am always going to be fighting swollen fingers and swollen joints. I am always going to feel like I’m thirsty. I’m always going to feel like I’ve got sand in my eyes. I’m always going to have to balance what I do every day so that I have enough energy for the things I really want to do.   For me, the lesson is about taking care of myself and learning to be kind to myself when I can’t do as much as I used to be able to do. This experience is about learning.   Each day I make choices, moment to moment. I make choices that help me feel better. I choose to rest. I choose not to engage with people or situations that stress me out. I choose not to take things personally.   I choose to do something that makes me happy, like sewing. I choose to listen to music that lifts my mood and makes me want to dance. I choose to use some essential oils in my space that help me relax or energize me or simply to make me...

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QOTW: What’s your favorite self-care practice?

Posted by on Jul 15, 2016 in community collab, coping, Creativity, featured, guest author, humor, inspiration, practicalities, self care | 6 comments

ChronicBabes need to take some time to indulge in self care and self love. This week we asked you What’s your favorite self-care practice? Here are some of our favorite responses:   Painting our Nails Here’s Jenni with her nail polish: And a gorgeous showing from Katie S.   Face Masks My guilty pleasure is face masks…every day. CVS sells some really great bottles of face mask stuff for cheap and the 4 bottles I have have lasted me for 3 years! Here I am wearing the avocado mask. According to CVS they are just $4 a pop! My favorites are the avocado and the blue one (dead sea minerals). Peep them here. Reading a good book Mary Beth L. likes to read with her little dachshund next to her! Mary Beth I think we’d all like to know the name of the book you’re reading your adorable puppy. Other great ideas An epsom salt bath Spending time outside Bike rides Adult coloring books (This coloring book is hilarious and highly recommended by me if you’re going through a break up.)   Do you have any other great ways to practice radical self care? Let us know in the comments!   Post written by Alix Kramer, ChronicBabe intern and proud...

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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. 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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