10 things I do when I have to travel, while my stupid chronic illnesses tag along.

When I was much younger, traveling was something I looked forward to doing in my life.  I dreamed that some day I/we would have enough money to visit a few places I have always dreamed of seeing in person……..Italy, India, Cuba, Belize and the Southwest U.S.  Instead, extra money goes to pay medical bills and the thought of getting on a plane or sitting in a vehicle for a long road trip creates anxiety.  I already feel ill, being in a moving anything makes me feel worse…………every, single, time. Period.  It just sucks.

But there are times in our life when we need to go somewhere that requires being in a moving vehicle for more than a trip across town, and since teleportation isn’t a thing yet, I just have to suck it up and get through it.

So here are a few things that have made traveling more bearable for me:

  1.  I stay hydrated.  I always feel better when my body has adequate water.  Bottled is a must as tap (chlorinated) water makes me instantly ill.
  2.   I eat as healthy as possible.  Junk food makes me feel like just like that, junk.  I usually pack a cooler and bring cut up veggies, fruit, nuts and seeds, grain-free tortilla chips, and some health bars.
  3.   I watch the world pass by.  Unfortunately I can’t read, look at my phone or do much of anything other than look out the window while being in a moving object.  Doing otherwise has had some bad results.
  4.   I bring my pillows and blanket with me.  I must have a wedge pillow to sleep as elevating my head at night allows me to function better the next day.  Then my own blanket to cozy up with at the end of the day allows me to sleep better.
  5.   I don’t push myself into that k(no)w zone.  You know the place of no return, when you realize that if you do anymore you won’t be able to function the next day.  I use to worry about letting others down but now, I realize that even if I am going to unintentionally hurt someone’s feelings, I won’t force my body to do things it just doesn’t want to do.  I do what I can and know I have done my best.
  6.  I do my best to take all supplements and/or medication on time.  I keep these with me as I travel so I don’t have to waste precious energy frantically searching for them at the last minute.
  7.  I bring earbuds with me so I can listen to relaxing music or a podcast when I need to focus on something other than how crappy I feel.
  8.  I pack comfortable clothing and shoes.  I know we all want to look nice but comfort is so much more important.
  9.   If I am going to be busy on the day I arrive at my destination, I always ask for early check-in.  That way I have time to relax before I need to be somewhere.
  10.    I always bring my heating pad.  That way I have something to help relieve sore muscles other than a hot shower.

 

Until next time…………..YOU are a superhero and superheros sometimes have to fly!

the stupid(est) advice people have given me……..

I have heard, just like all of you, a lot of really dumb and sometimes hurtful things through my years of chronic illnesses.  I am going to share the medical suggestions that I  can remember, but I should have kept a running list, it would have filled volumes.

 

You are going to stop having children because you are ill?  That is biblically wrong, you should have as many as you are given.

You are going to have surgery to correct a congenital issue?  You need to try these drops first; my friend sells them, they are all-natural, and cured her from food allergies.

You are not praying hard enough to be cured.

You are paying for the sins of your parents.

You are paying for the sins of your forefathers; you should go listen to this pastor’s seminar on how to pray correctly to break the curse.

You do not truly believe that you will be healed, so therefore you won’t be.

If  you worked full-time you wouldn’t have time to think about your problems and you would feel better.

You should spend more time away from home and your family.

You need to go vegan.

You need to go vegetarian.

You need to go paleo.

You need to go gluten-free.

You need to go dairy-free

You need to adopt a raw diet.

You need to eat fermented foods.

You need to do a month long juice cleanse.

You need to go on a liquid diet.

You need to do the GAPS diet.

Essential oils in the proper combination can cure all ailments.

Get your chakras lined up properly.

Infrared sauna can cure your sicknesses.

Collontics eventually cures all sicknesses.

Vitamin C IV therapy cures everything.

If you didn’t worry so much your body would heal itself.

Have you tried mediating more often?

Your illnesses are all in your head.

Have you tried yoga?

You need to exercise more.

Ozone therapy will cure you.

Yea, I know how you feel having a chronic illness, I had a lot of morning sickness while pregnant.  You just need to rest more.

You should get rid of all indoor pets.

Visualize health and then you will be healthy.

Massage therapy will get rid of all the toxins stored in your body leading to a cure.

Acupuncture would heal you.

Maybe you shouldn’t take your medication.

A RIFE machine has codes to cure all illnesses.

Using an infrared sauna cures everything if used regularly.

 

Please know that I do NOT think any of the above suggestions are in and of themselves  bad.  In fact, I think many of the ideas could be beneficial to some, in addition to an appropriate health care plan.  I have just found it amazing that people, having no experience with chronic illness themselves, feel they are the ones to give the best advice.

I would love to hear the stupid(est!) advice you have been given.

Until next time, YOU are a superhero…………How do I know this?  Because you are not in prison for punching the lights out of the idiot who made one of these comments to you.  Restraint………..another super power!

 

 

 

10 frugal mental pick-me-ups

Living with illness day-in and day-out not only wears on your body, but takes a toll on your mental health.  It is hard to keep picking yourself up when you are in constant pain, hear a trail of bad news from health care practitioners, and experience the isolation that CI can bring.  Depression and anxiety start to take a grip on your brain and it can be a very hard grip to shake.  Taking time, daily, to give yourself a mental pick-me-up is an  important part of keeping as healthy as possible.

 

  1.  Pray/Meditate for guidance, for new ways to deal with your illness, for healing paths that bring comfort, and for people into your life who truly care.
  2.   Listen to music that makes you happy………from Mozart to The Beatles from Madonna to The Red Hot Chili Peppers, music has a way of making us happy and allowing our minds to escape from reality – as least for a little while.
  3.   Get outside in nature.  Who doesn’t love looking at pictures of the beach, a flower in a field or a beautiful tree in a forest?  To experience it in person allows you to internalize the beauty and refresh the soul.
  4.   Drink a glass of filtered water.  It is so important that we stay properly hydrated.  It seems like such an easy thing to do but when you are in pain and nauseous, it can be a chore to take in enough fluids.  Water is known to improve mood, reduce headaches and flush out toxins.  Plain water does get boring, so adding lemon, cucumber, lime, orange, strawberries, even some fresh herbs such as mint or basil can add flavor and bring added benefits.  Be creative!
  5.   Sit outside and soak in some rays for 15 minutes. Sun increases your vitamin D levels which can give your immune system and mood a boost.
  6.  Laugh.  Get on-line and read some jokes, get on Pinterest, search for some funny memes, or watch a feel good movie……..laughter decreases stress hormones and increases endorphins, which are the feel good chemicals.
  7.  Breathe……….sometimes we are so stressed we are not really breathing.  Take some  deep breaths, not forced, just natural.  Our body NEEDS oxygen to live and deep breathing has been proven to have a positive impact on your brain, heart, digestion and immune system.  Check-in with yourself at least twice a day to make sure you are really breathing.
  8.  Journal.  Sometimes the chronic illness monster gets the best of us.  We just need to say stuff, swear like a drunken sailor, scream at the top of our lungs, yell at our doctors for not believing/helping/healing, and who are we to tell?  When we are alone it is imperative that we get those thoughts and feelings out so they are not internalized, creating a breeding ground for more illness.  Write those feelings down as they come.  Do not worry about what it is or how it is written, just let it out.
  9.   Do some gentle exercise like take a walk, a few yoga poses, ti chi, or stretches.  Whenever possible, move your body as much as possible as this also releases endorphins, possibly reducing depressive symptoms.  Walking to and from the bathroom and/or kitchen is way better than nothing.
  10.   Eat a healthy snack.  It is important that we continue to eat clean, healthy food despite our illnesses.  Eating food in its most natural state is best for providing our bodies the necessary vitamins and minerals needed to function as highly as possible.  A smoothie, a piece of fruit, veggies, nuts, seeds or 1/2 an avocado are all healthy and simple.

Until next time……………….You are a superhero!  (Yes, I mean YOU!)

 

 

10 ways I extend my energy with chronic illness

Life can be challenging.  Add on a chronic illness or four and life can be down right hard.  Not matter what our situation is, we all have only so much energy in a given day, some days we have less than others.  Finding ways to make our energy last as long as possible is always helpful.

Through the years I have discovered (usually by accident) small ways to extend my personal spoons with energy saving activities.  These strategies are used with a hope and a prayer I could accomplish at least part of what needed to be done that day.  Most days, even now, I am not working with a whole lot of energy, or anything else for that matter.

 

1.  I set up my kitchen in a way that is convenient and efficient for me.

2.  I do freezer and double batch cooking so when I am having one of those really bad days, I have food already prepared.

3.  I keep meals simple.  Complicated recipes with unusual ingredients just can’t be part of my life at this time.  So, I spend less time in the kitchen (saving my energy) and I am not purchasing ingredients that will seldom be used (saving money).  I would call that a win-win.  Smoothie anyone?

4.  When I do laundry, I do not fold my underclothing or pjs.  Nope, I just throw them in my drawer.  Heck, I wear pjs so often (I call them my official uniform), there is no point in making them look nice in a drawer.

5.  I hang up clothing that does not need to be washed after wearing.  This saves me from doing so much laundry……….and I have the kids do the same.

6.  I do one load of laundry per day.

7.  Unfortunately, I spend a lot of time in bed.  So, I keep my side table well stocked.  No need to go searching for things I need/want on a regular basis.

8.  I take care of mail as soon as it comes into the house.  This sounds like a trivial task but I have found that it piles up very quickly.  So now I sort through every piece, recycling what I don’t want, opening bills and placing them in my to-be-paid slot and then take any reading material and put in my room for later viewing.  By dealing with the mail immediately, I also keep track of all bills coming in so there is less chance of them getting misplaced.

9.  I combine errands.  Just getting out of the house can be tiring, so I try to combine as many errands as I can physically do each time I head out out the door.

10.  I keep my calendar on my phone so it is with me at all times.  It took me a long time to start using my phone calendar as I found it frustrating.  But once I got use to using it on a consistent basis, I found it extremely helpful.  When I am at an appointment, I find it much easier to make follow-up appointments as I always have my and my kids schedules at my finger tips.  I still keep a calendar, ok, two on the wall, just in case I misplace my phone, again.

 

Until next time…….YOU, my friends, are superheros.

 

my thoughts on chronic illness

My life feels like a glass vase slipping out of my hands and watching it shatter in hundreds of pieces……………..in slow motion.

I look at the pieces, lying scattered all over the cold, hard floor and wonder, where do I start?  Is it even possible to put the pieces back together?

 

So what is a person to do?

You get tired of appointments, tests, the stress of paying for “treatments” that you know may not work or worse yet, make things worse.  Searching for a medical professional that understands you as an individual and yet can see the whole picture is beyond frustrating.  Trying to find someone who can handle multiple chronic illnesses is nearly impossible.

You feel as if you are hiking through a deep, dense, dark, daunting forest with little sunlight streaming through the branches.  You are without a map or compass to guide your way.  You hear voices coming from all directions telling you what to do.  There are too many instructions and the words are so different from each other that there is no consensus, and it all sounds like jumbled nonsense.  Maybe they are all speaking in different languages?

It is now you realize it is really up to you to get out of this scary place.  But you are exhausted both mentally and physically, not sure how much longer you can travel.  You are praying for miracles…………..maybe a woodland fairy shows up to give you a magic healing potion,  or a light beam shines down directly on you from heaven and gives you divine healing, or maybe, just maybe, a phone booth will appear out of nowhere and  you can go inside and turn you into a superhero.

 

Until next time……………YOU are a superhero and superheros are born and gain their powers through tragedy.

5 ways to reduce anxiety when dealing with chronic illness.

It has been my experience dealing with illnesses for decades, that anxiety rears it evil, unwanted head often for those of us living with chronic illness.  We live in a world filled with a lot of unknowns.  This is a reality we don’t want, in a world that doesn’t really get it, and can appear as if it doesn’t care.  So, how do you tackle those moments (or days) when anxiety comes charging straight ahead and doesn’t take into consideration where you are or what you are doing?  I definitely don’t have answers, just a humble list of things that have worked (not always) for me.

  1.  Breathe.  I know this sounds so simple, but in times of extreme stress and anxiety sometimes we forget to truly breathe.  We need to take a slow, deep breath to tell our bodies that we are in control……….whether we feel like it, or not.
  2.   Remind yourself you have been here before and you got through it.  This is a big one, the road is bumpy and terrible and you want to take a detour but sometimes there is just no where to turn around.  You have to go down the road and it will end.  You’ve got this!  It may not feel like it, but I have confidence in you!
  3.  Magnesium.  Yep, only if it is allowed by your medical professional.  But for me, magnesium glycinate has helped take the edge off more times than I can remember.  Most people with CI are low, so getting your magnesium levels checked may be beneficial for you.
  4.  Meditate.  I pull up a YouTube relaxation video and do my best.  One minute is better than none!
  5.  Get up and move.  Sitting still appears to keep my thoughts stagnant and focused on the bad.  Moving my body seems to start my thoughts moving and can bring a new perspective.

On top of these five, I also have one thing I do NOT  do.  When I am really stressed out and filled with anxiety about my health (or lack there of) I want to search for solutions.  I want to get better, I don’t want to be like this.  Like everyone else suffering from CI, I want my life back.  But, I have found that “googling it” makes things worse.  No matter what you are researching it seems as if the first thing that pops up is the word cancer……..who the hell needs to read such a horrible word when you are already super stressed!

Until next time YOU are a superhero!  Only a true superhero could do what you do, day in and day out.

10 ways to pamper yourself if you have a little cash……

Everyone loves a little pampering now and then, I mean who doesn’t love to be treated special?  It is my humble opinion that every person with CI is extra special and deserves  spoiling.

Here are 10 ways you can pamper yourself if you have saved enough cash to do so.  (Putting stuff on credit cards causes stress and completely undoes the benefit of the pampering!)

  1.     A professional manicure.  Once this is done, it is so much easier for you to       keep your nails looking nice.
  2.      A professional pedicure.  This is my favorite treat.  I save up money over the winter so I can afford a pedicure once sandal season is upon us.
  3.      A  massage.  Who doesn’t love to get a massage?  Super relaxing and the health benefits are undeniable.
  4.      Buy a new article of clothing.  Make sure it is something comfortable and fits now.  You don’t want to have to wait to break it in……….just in case it doesn’t.
  5.      Get your hair cut.  A fresh new look can give you a huge moral boost.
  6.      Purchase an item that will make your life easier.  It could be an appliance for the kitchen to make meal prep easier, to a rolling laundry hamper so you don’t have to carry laundry to and fro.
  7.     A new pair of shoes.  New shoes adds cushion to your walk and can make you feel more light.  Who doesn’t love to feel like your walking on air?
  8.      A night away.  Sometimes just getting out of the house and immersing yourself in another location can uplift your spirit.  A change of scenery can be good for the soul.
  9.      Go out to eat at a nice restaurant, who doesn’t love having someone else prepare a meal and take care of the clean up afterwards?
  10.       A purchase that will give you an emotional lift such as a new book, CD, DVD, makeup, lotion, a pretty throw pillow for your bed.

Don’t forget to save up for these and use a coupon if able.  No need to spend more than necessary.  And hey, maybe you will save enough to do something else nice for yourself!

Until next time, YOU are a superhero and superheros deserve to be pampered!