In the fall of 2013 many of you joined me for a 30 day writing series called “30 Days To Surviving Chronic Illness.” I shared some of my own health struggles from the past 15+ years and some of the tips/tools I’ve found helpful. I was also blessed with some guest writing by acquaintances of mine who have been on their own health journeys. That 30 Day series is still available as a PDF, totally free. Or you can read the whole series online here. I update it occasionally and also set up a wellness page that you can access above.
During the writing of that 30 day series I got really sick again. Sicker than I was before; I didn’t even think that was possible. I found myself re-reading my own 30 day series for advise and encouragement. I had to remind myself of what steps to take, what not to do, and mostly just hang on tight because although I have lived with chronic illness for a long time, I also believe in healing. I believe in answers. I believe in hope.
Am I still sick? Yep. But I’m also a little better. I’ve also learned a few new things about my body and what it requires. I’ve talked to countless others on this chronic illness journey and gained wisdom from them. And I fight on.
So a few weeks ago I decided it’s time for a new series. Not just for other people to read but because I need to be reminded constantly of how to get on and stay on the path to wellness.
This will not be a 30 day series. Heavens, I cannot put myself through that again!
This new series will be called “Reclaiming Your Health: Where To Start.” There will be 5 parts and I will release them as soon as they are completed but since one of my main triggers is stress, I’m not holding myself to any schedule. The goal is one part per week, we shall see.
I am also toying with the idea of creating an audio version of each week’s points that will go into a little more detail and possibly interview some super smart people. There is A LOT of information to share, but let’s face it, attention spans are short these days and that means articles need to be short and to the point. If you are interested in an audio version of this series please let me know!
Thanks to all of you who have shared your stories with me, cheered me on my journey and passed on the last series with those who desperately needed a shot of hope. You bless my life every day.
More to come soon!
PS: As luck would have it, this week Melody Ross of Brave Girls Club has released Part One of her own health journey. Melody has also dealt with chronic illness in recent years and is sharing the deep wisdom she has learned along the way. If you are a woman I highly recommend jumping over to Brave Girls Club and catching up on what Melody has to say, your soul will be forever changed.
Here are some left-overs from the past few weeks:
- As you can see from the above photo, the raccoons are back. Dirty little thieves.
- I added a board to my Pinterest called Color Love. A theme is becoming increasingly clear…. I might be mildly obsessed with shades of blue and green.
- In the summer, all I want for breakfast, lunch and dinner is popsicles. I think this one sounds dee-vine.
- Everyone is talking about the tragic loss of Robin Williams. Some kind words, some not-so-kind words. Grace people, grace. Also, we lost Lauren Bacall who is one of my all time favorites. She was tough & elegant, sultry & smart. One classy lady. The world feels a little duller without them both.
- My sister started a mobile spray tanning business this summer. All organic, paraben free, etc. The color is amazing and fades very nicely. You can see her FB page.
- Another sister, niece and I went to see the musical Brigadoon at the local round-about theater. We had so much fun! It always makes me laugh when people are standing 2 inches from each other’s faces and belting out show-tunes. Try doing that in real life.
- Although I can only have dairy about once a week, I have a new favorite yogurt. I’m not sure what “French style” means except yummy.
- Mandi over at Vintage Revivals is over-hauling a little camper and I can’t wait to see how it turns out. She has added that blue/green penny tile that I love so much.
- I’ve been burning through the books this summer! I’m in the middle of The Rosie Project, but finished Where’d You Go Bernadette, Your Personal Paleo Code, Nom-Nom Paleo and Practical Paleo. Yes, I am feeling a little better since switching to *mostly* Paleo. You can find some of my other read and to-read lists over at Good Reads.
- Can you guess which one I want? Although, they are all darling.
That’s it for this week, I hope you enjoy your weekend. I’ll be out trapping raccoons
It’s midyear, I just passed another birthday and it seems like as good a time as any to stop and take stock (inspiration from this site), reflect a little, give you a sneak peak into my day. If you would like to join me you can share your list on the FB Page!
Making : Angel wings. No, that’s not a metaphor for anything, it’s part of an art course I’m re-taking this summer. They are about 2 feet long, made of wood joining biscuits (I have no idea what they are really for).
Cooking : Pesto. Although, I guess that doesn’t technically count as “cooking” since it’s just a matter of tossing all the ingredients in the food processor but I harvested my basil this week so pesto-making is on the list tonight. As for real cooking, I plan to make some bone broth in the pressure cooker this weekend.
Drinking : Coffee, decaf. With a tiny bit of creamer. I really need to stop using creamer (nothing but chemicals) but its a tough habit to break.
Reading: Oh boy, this is a tough one to answer because I’m always in the middle of about 7 books at a time. Today I will finish The Happiness Project, which was a great read!
Wanting: To start working out again, for reals. Not just physical therapy. Sigh…
Looking: At the mess of half-finished art projects on my desk. Focus, Carey, focus!
Playing: 2048 app. So simple, so addictive.
Wasting: 2 serrano peppers in the crisper. Let’s face it, there’s only so many things you can do with hot peppers.
Sewing: Nada. I only sew when I absolutely must.
Wishing: The next season of Nashville was on. I binge-watched the first 2 seasons and now I’m impatiently waiting.
Enjoying: Summer. Even when it’s “too hot”, I’m at my best in the summer months.
Waiting: Ina’s got a new book coming out this fall!
Liking: Stitcher. I also use Instacast to listen to podcasts, but Stitcher has some great features as well.
Wondering: Why in the heck I can’t get those first two paragraphs single spaced! These are the things that drive me crazy.
Loving: My new, red, 20 oz Klean Kanteen. Klean Kanteens are the best! #kleankanteen
Hoping: This next 6 months brings some clarity as to why my body keeps shutting down.
Marveling: At how much food I have grown over the past year. It has it’s ups and downs but overall, my garden rocks!
Needing: To remember to take all my supplements. I always forget something!
Smelling: The coffee I’m drinking.
Wearing: Skinny jeans, black peasant-ish top, black flats. Pretty standard uniform for me during the week.
Following: Wellness Mama, Chris Kresser & Liz Wolfe.
Noticing: I need to give my fingernails some attention this weekend. Maybe a coat or two of bright blue polish?
Knowing: It will all work out somehow.
Thinking: How I won the Family & Friends Lottery. They really are the best.
Feeling: I haven’t felt well all year. My body needs a serious reset.
Bookmarking: A bunch of Paleo recipes. I’m not really a ‘Paleo” zealot, but I need to avoid the high-inflammatory foods for a while and since there are so many great recipes floating around these days that just happened to also be Paleo, it will make meals easier.
Opening: My order from Sephora came in! I ran out of concealer weeks ago but I waited to re-order so I could cash in on my birthday month freebies.
Giggling: I’m not much of a giggler.
I have dealt with chronic illness for about 15 years now and after all this time, I have come to understand this truth…
The problem with chronic illness is that you get sick.
Profound, right? Ok, let me narrow it down a little more:
- symptoms you thought you conquered ten years ago suddenly come back with a vengeance.
- just when you think you have experienced every symptom in the book, a new one pops up.
- one day you feel great, the next day you wake up feeling like you were run over by a rice harvester. For you city-folk, a rice harvester looks like this:
- even “fun” events can trigger illness.
- your previous diagnosis suddenly doesn’t fit anymore.
- your best laid plans are pointless because you have no idea how your body is going to feel next Tuesday.
- medicines or treatments that used to work suddenly do not work any more.
- you want to go out and do fun things with fun people BUT INSTEAD your body will only allow you enough energy to drive home from work, plop down on the couch and cry.
- your. brain. is. dead.
Last fall I was feeling better than I had felt in a long time. Not perfect, but much better. Then right in the middle of my 31 Day series, it all slammed back at me again. I knew this might happen, after all, pushing myself physically or mentally wears me out and always makes me “flare up.” But this was more than a few days of tired. It was a complete resurgence of every bad symptom that started 15 years ago.
I thought I could just take a few weeks and rest then things would settle down. They didn’t. So more tests, more meds, more protocols. More research, lots more reading. Lots more rest. And I re-read my own advice from the 31 Days. It was such a great reminder of what I needed to do, or not do, to survive the storm.
Today I’m a little better than I was over the winter. I think the warmer weather and longer days help. I’m also figuring out which foods cause which symptoms so I’ve been playing with my diet a lot (If you were wondering what happened to the Friday Recipes, I’m not doing much cooking right now). Although I’m still not able to work out much, I have a new physical therapist and saw significant improvements in my knee from the very first week.
And my garden… my beloved garden. The garden is so therapeutic for me, perhaps because my mother and I spent a lot of time in it, but I do so much love puttering around out there, watching things grow. BTW: you can catch the play-by-play garden fun over on Instagram.
I did manage to get the 31 Day guide edited (mostly) and set up a whole page just for Wellness resources. You can download the guide for free or scroll through the ever growing resource list here.
Happy weekend everyone, do something that makes you happy!