Healing My Gut and My Heart

I've battled chronic illness for many years. Heck, it's the reason this little ole' neglected blog exists in the first place. In 2008, I was searching for answers, trying to understand diagnoses that didn't feel quite right and looking to connect to others even though I was often confined to my bed. Since then, I've had good years and not so good years and I've been struggling yet again since last October. I was diagnosed with inflammatory colitis after weeks of severe GI issues in November. Since then, I've endured four stomach bugs, shingles and a raging UTI. To say I'm sick of being sick would be a gross understatement. I've tried modern medicine for all these years but a few weeks ago, as I prayed about how to proceed, I kept coming across articles about "gut" health. Did you know … [Read more...]

A health update

This space came to be back in 2008 during a difficult year, filled with health challenges including the pulmonary emboli that almost killed me and led to the diagnosis of a blood clotting disorder and later, a diagnosis of systemic lupus that vacated a previous diagnosis of multiple sclerosis. I've long been a medical mystery and 2016 proved to reinforce that fact. I wanted to chronicle all that has happened here on the blog so that subsequent posts that refer to this years health journey are provided a frame of reference. 2011 was another difficult year health wise with lupus attacking my liver and causing autoimmune hepatitis, a fall that blew out my right knee and required surgical repair of my ACL and medial/lateral meniscus and having my gallbladder removed. Things have been … [Read more...]

Alternative Ways to Deal with Pain {a #chronicallywell post}

Early on in my chronic illness journey, I suffered bilateral pulmonary emboli and it was discovered I had a blood clotting disorder.  I am on Coumadin for the rest of my life.  Up until that point my go to medication for the pain of living with {what turned out to be} lupus was 800mg of ibuprofen.  Anti-inflammatory medications and Coumadin don't mix so I had to find another alternative.  Acetaminophen {aka Tylenol} wasn't an option because lupus had attacked my liver and taking Tylenol made the situation worse.  I refuse {except for brief periods after surgeries} to take narcotic pain medication, simply because I don't feel I can be present for my family and under the influence of strong medications at the same time.  All that to say, pain control was proving difficult.  I began to … [Read more...]

As the World Turns {a #chronicallywell post}

Have you been there?  That room is spinning while you are standing still feeling that brings with it a wave of nausea and difficulty figuring out where you are in space.  Yes, vertigo is not a good feeling.  Vertigo can have different causes.  For most people, the problem is in the inner ear.  All of the movement in your body registers in your inner ear.  When the inner ear is getting conflicting signals, vertigo results.  For people like me, vertigo is neurological.  This is trickier to treat but it is still possible. There are different options for treating vertigo- many are similar to the treatments for motion sickness.  Technically treating the symptoms but effective nonetheless. My doctor prescribed Meclizine.  Although this makes you very tired (doesn't everything?) it is … [Read more...]

Maintaining an Attitude of Gratitude {a #chronicallywell post}

Another repost from the archives: Living with chronic illness has taught me many things. Utter, complete dependence on God. {Psalm 70:5} The finite nature of our life.  {James 4:14} How our bodies are designed to need true Sabbath rest.  {Isaiah 58:13-14} That everyone has a thorn in their flesh, mine happens to be dressed up as lupus.  {II Corinthians 12:7} Knowing all of these things doesn’t make the excruciating pain go away.  It doesn’t remove the bone deep fatigue that plagues my day.  Knowing doesn’t help me remember appointments or be less distracted. But, knowing helps me maintain perspective.{Colossians 3:2} And being grateful for the everyday little things {like the opportunity to sneak in a nap} and the miracles {I’m still alive} keep me focused on what is … [Read more...]

Worth The Read {#chronicallywell version 2}

I am enjoying perusing the 31 Days of...series on Nester's blog.  Here are a few of my favorite posts from this week: This is a great post citing research about how junk food is truly addictive.  I am breaking free of that myself and feeling better every day because of it. This post gives a great explanation of the different types of medical professionals that may be involved in your care. I adore hearing stories of God showing up. This is a great example. What did you read this week that touched your heart?   … [Read more...]

Coping with Brain Fog {a #chronicallywell post}

Brain fog is one of the most annoying and frustrating symptoms of lupus I have dealt with.  I hear from friends living with other chronic illnesses, including fibromyalgia and MS, deal with this as well.  There is no one definitive cause of brain fog, according to the medical professionals I have discussed it with.  It is believed to have many contributing factors including medication interactions, abnormal blood flow to the brain, anxiety and depression.  If you have experienced brain fog, you don't really care what is causing or exacerbating it. You just want to think normally again. What is brain fog? For those of you not familiar with the term, I like this description from about.com: Symptoms of brain fog can range from mild to severe.  They frequently vary from day to day, and … [Read more...]

Fighting Fatigue {a #chronicallywell post}

Yesterday, I posted about how fatigue affects me and how it can be a blessing, if we choose to view it that way.  I also realize that fatigue is one of the most debilitating symptoms that I, and many others with chronic or invisible illness, deal with on a daily basis.  I wanted to share some things that help me combat fatigue. If you have something that works for you, I would love for you to share it in the comments so others can benefit as well! Stay positive.  People tend to underestimate the power of negativity.  Allowing yourself to stay mired in the negative aspects of your illness will actually increase your fatigue. Eat breakfast.  If you are anything like me, breakfast is optional.  Not because I'm not hungry but because I can't drag myself out of bed in time to eat a … [Read more...]

Worth the Read {the 31 Days edition}

I am certainly not the only writer taking part in the 31 days of series this year.  In fact, there are over 1500 of us participating! I have perused the contributors and wanted to highlight a few that fit in well with this #chronicallywell series. Just click on the links to visit their sites. 31 Days to Living Well as a Family.  This series even incorporates videos with how to's for simple exercises. 31 Days of Stress, Undressed.  This is a very informative series about what stress does to your body. 31 Days of Rest. Rest is crucial in combatting a chronic illness and this is a great series so far. 31 Days of Living Well.  My sweet friend, Teri Lynne, is writing an excellent series based on John 10:10. 31 Days to a Healthier Inner Dialogue.  I don't know about you but I am not … [Read more...]

I’ve been diagnosed…now what? {#chronicallywell}

If you missed day one or day two, click on the links to catch up on the series. Once you have been given a name for the myriad of symptoms you've been experiencing, it is ok to be relieved.  The road to diagnosis is long and filled with setbacks, disappointments and a whole lot of waiting.  Having an answer to the "what is wrong with me" question is important.  But, moving past the diagnosis is just as important and what we will talk about today. Here are some manageable steps to take control of the illness that has probably been controlling you as you waited for a diagnosis: EDUCATE YOURSELF. Knowledge is power.  And, in this case the internet is your friend.  Make sure you visit reputable sites such as the NIH and official foundations dedicated to research for your specific … [Read more...]

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