Tuesday, August 25, 2009

September is Pain Awareness Month

I have blogged about my own experience of living with pain, both chronic and acute. Now I am asking you to do something to help me and the 76.5 million other Americans who live in pain. Please support the American Pain Foundations Power Over Pain Action Network in raising awareness and helping to dispel myths surrounding pain and the treatment of it. To find out more about what you can do, as well as to learn more about the organization, please go to Conquering Pain Together to get all the details on what you can do to help. There is an easy to use on-line petition you can sign, as well as a wonderful list of 10 things you can do in 10 minutes. Thank you in advance for your helps and attention in this most important matter.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Looking for Suggestions

Okay, so I am still in pain, and except for trips to the restroom I am pretty much bed-bound at the moment. I am watching TV and DVD's, I have been reading (as much as I can concentrate with the pain), praying and getting on-line very briefly. I have a puzzle book which I am going to give a try for a change of pace. I am wondering what all of you do when you are sick, in a flare or in pain to occupy your time and to try to take focus off what hurts? Thanks in advance for your suggestions!

Saturday, August 22, 2009


I've spent the entire day in bed, in terrible pain and unable to eat or drink anything much. I am grateful to have the new netbook which allows me to log into the internet at times like this, when I usually can't keep in touch. It helps to have the support and friendship of the blogging and chronically ill communities, especially when things aren't going so well. I am trying to keep myself from focusing on the pain by watching tv, reading and thinking about writing. Sometimes the pain is so bad I can't focus on much else, but the more I focus on other things, the sooner this too shall pass (I hope!).

Friday, August 21, 2009

Bits and Pieces

I have some housekeeping I wanted to take care of blogwise and rather than write a traditional post I thought I would throw some bits and pieces at you.

I wanted to mention that Change of Shift is up at Emergiblog. If you haven't checked out this blog carnival before, you might want to give it a look. There are always interesting posts about all things medical, and you get opinions from patients, doctors, nurses and all sort of people in the healthcare field.

Invisible Illness Awareness Week is coming September 14-20, 2009. This is a wonderful series of programs that are free, available right from your computer in the privacy and comfort of your own home and jam packed with terrific information. I began blogging as a result of last years conference on blogging, and will be providing a guest post this year! Please make sure you check out this wonderful site and plan to "attend" as many of the conferences as you can, or at the very least download them and listen to them at your leisure!

Jenni Prokopy of ChronicBabe has not only begun podcasting but has started a forum site on ChronicBabe where you can go and connect with others to talk about all sorts of things illness related and otherwise! Jenni really helps inspire me to remain a "babe" ill or not, and I hope you will check out and join the new forum as well as listen to her latest podcast interview with Laurie Edwards. Great info and support, free for the taking - you can't beat that!

I am currently trying to spend some time focusing on my writing. I have several projects in the works including a magazine article pitch, a fiction novel and some memoir work. I went to my writing group yesterday and was so inspired by all the other great writers in the room, as well as our facilitator, Barbara Novack, who is Writer-in-residence at Molloy College and a published author and poet. I am so grateful to this group for the support and advice they give me, and I wish everyone had a group as good as this one to go to. Barbara Novack, in conjunction with the English Department at Molloy College is sponsoring a series of Author Afternoons at the college. If you live in the greater NY area and are interested in attending you can find more information at the college website.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Simple Pleasures

Anyone who knows me or my blog knows I love quotes. There is something about capturing an important idea in a pithy saying that gets me every time! Today I wanted to share one of my favorite quotes and talk about how I try to apply it to everyday life.

"It isn't the great big pleasures that count the most; it's making a great deal out of the little ones."
-Jean Webster, Daddy-Long-Legs

This quote is a powerful reminder for me that ultimately I control things. Take a moment to really think about that, especially if you live with chronic illness - because sometimes NOTHING feels like it is in our control. The simple truth is that we all have a choice to celebrate the simple pleasures each day, and no matter what the state of our lives, our health, our relationships - we all have pleasures each day. The quote reminds me that they don't have to be big, huge, monumental things, in fact, very often the most important ones aren't.

It is all too easy to get caught up in the negative and think of all the things we can't control, the things we can't do, the people we can't change. But, how about trying to turn that thinking upside down and looking at all the things that DO work, you CAN do something about - the pleasures that you already HAVE each and every day? It's easier to have a pity party and blame the world and complain that things never go right. Yes, it is easier, but it is also far more dangerous. When you overlook the simple pleasures you stop being able enjoy them. The quote talks about making a big deal out of little pleasures. I am not married and I don't have children, so my pleasures might be different than some of yours, but we ALL have them if we choose to look. Some of my pleasures include things I have control over and many of them include things I have nothing to do with. An example that springs to mind for me immediately is the beauty of nature. I can be on a walk in my neighborhood and be stopped in my tracks by a beautiful flower, an interesting tree or leaf or a particularly playful squirrel or bird. Just the other day we had heavy rains that left deep puddles on the sides of the roads. I was pulling my car out of the driveway and I noticed three little sparrows splashing around in the puddle. They were so cute as they bathed in that puddle that I simply stopped for a moment to enjoy watching them. It wasn't earth shattering, it didn't cure me of my illness, but it made me appreciate the beauty that is all around me if I take the time to notice it.

Another example from my own life is something I call "gratitude for what works". When I am feeling particularly frustrated by my illnesses and like nothing works right in my entire body (pity-party anyone?) I sit myself down and focus on all the things about me that DO work. My eyes are really good, I don't even need reading glasses (yet!!). Although it hurts, I can walk all by myself, something many people can't do. Most days I can eat and drink most things, and after having met many of you who can't do that due to illness I am so grateful for it I try to always remember to be thankful. I have days where my pain makes it impossible to eat and I can barely drink, so the days when my digestion is working are truly a blessing and a pleasure I enjoy and celebrate. There are many other things, such as my brain, that work quite well, and I choose to focus on these to remind myself that there is much more that works than that doesn't.

Your simple pleasures might be the smell of your daughters hair right after her night time bath, the feel of the sun on your skin as you work in your garden, the sound of your favorite song on your IPOD as you commute to work, the look on your loved one's face just as you lean in for a morning kiss. Whatever your pleasures are, be thankful for them, celebrate them and make a big deal out of the "little" things that make life worth living. All the money in the world can't buy any of these things, and yet they are my most precious possessions.