Monday, July 7, 2014

Serenity

Grant me the serenity 
to accept the things I cannot change, 
the courage to change the things I can, 
and the wisdom to know the difference.

We’ve all seen & heard this before.   It’s the foundation for any 12-step program, and in some form or another, it’s really at the core of any self-improvement plan.  Unfortunately, it’s not always as easy as it sounds.

I usually focus on that second part: changing the things I can. Whether it’s actually doing something different or simply finding a different way to approach things, I feel like I’m doing something constructive.  At a minimum, I can always change the way I think about the situation.  I emphasize the positives – what’s still good in my life when things seem to be going bad, what I still have when I’m grieving over a loss, and what still makes me smile when I am ready to cry. 

It’s that first part that I’m struggling with right now: accepting the things I cannot change.  Whether it’s denial, wishful thinking, or just plain stubbornness, I’m having a really hard time accepting my new reality.  Honestly, it’s hard enough to just say it.  I find euphemisms, or don’t even say it at all.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Busy May, Busy Me!

Did you know?
... and I've been busy, doing just that!
I may not be able to be run around and do as much as I have in the past, but I've recently been invigorated by finding ways to be really active ... without having to be really active.  Last month's writing challenge gave me a greater purpose, enabling me to use my writing to help people with chronic illnesses and educate the ones who care about us ... and now I'm on a roll!  Arthritis Month, also known as Arthritis Awareness Month, couldn't come at a better time.  Keeping up the momentum of last month's busy pace, this month has presented a number of really great opportunities.

Last Monday was Fibromyalgia Awareness Day.  Though still a poorly understood condition, fibromyalgia is one of over 100 diseases that falls under the "arthritis" umbrella, so it was fitting that this was the day chosen by the Arthritis Foundation for its first New York State Arthritis Awareness Day.  To commemorate the day, I joined about 20 other volunteer advocates and a couple of AF's staff at our state capital to meet with our local politicians.  We took the time to share our stories, and help them understand that arthritis is "more than just grandma's aches and pains," as a fellow advocate so eloquently put it.  I was pleasantly surprised to see (some of) them genuinely care and truly listen, and best of all, to see that look in their eyes when they were really learning something new.  

Yesterday was my next big venture, the Walk to Cure Arthritis. It was exhausting and exhilarating at the same time, and I'm so glad I did it.  I had a team with me this time (the Buttahflies, of course), and we all did double duty: first as volunteers, and then as participants/walkers.  As mission volunteers, we recruited over 80 e-advocates to show their support for the cause. As fundraisers, we raised about $800 (not bad for our first time, but I know we'll do better next year)!  As walkers, we ... walked!  It was not easy for some of us who were not in great shape, but we encouraged each other to keep going, took breaks when we needed to (getting more e-advocates at each break), and most importantly, we finished, and we finished together!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Happy Mother's Day

To all the moms out there, but especially mine – I wish you a wonderful day full of love and laughter.

A number of times in previous posts, I've mentioned how great my mother is, and how grateful I am to have her.  The reality is she deserves much more … but the least I can do is write today’s post just for her.

For the most part, my mom raised me on her own.  My parents split when I was three, and though my father was technically still around, that wasn't always a good thing.  She remarried a few years later, but my stepfather was hardly a parent either.  Still, with just one real parent, I know I was luckier than most people with two (or more).

My mom is the reason I am who I am today.  Just by being herself and leading by example, she taught me to be giving, caring, and compassionate, and to always think about others.  Just as she learned from her mother (my Gram), she taught me to dedicate my life to helping people, to giving back.  When anyone asks why she does so much volunteer work, she has a very simple answer: “because I can.”   

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

A Day to Distinguish

Arthritis: "Oh, my grandmother has that – take a couple Advils and you’ll be fine."

Autoimmune arthritis: "Um ... huh?"  

"It's not just arthritis."
This is where IFAA – the International Autoimmune Arthritis Foundation – comes in.  Started in 2009 by a woman just like me who was frustrated by the lack of understanding about her autoimmune arthritis diagnosis, IFAA aims to raise awareness about the difference between the two. 

In addition to the physical symptoms, patients with autoimmune arthritis diseases are often on the receiving end of judgment, doubt, and derision from doctors, colleagues … even friends and family.  It’s not (entirely) their fault though – much of this contempt comes from a lack of understanding.  Most people have never heard of these diseases and have no idea how they affect us, so they can’t imagine it could be as bad as it truly is.  Because autoimmune arthritis diseases are so inconsistent in how they present from patient to patient (and even within one patient, from day to day), doctors have a hard time diagnosing us … which means it’s a long time before we can get answers – and even longer before we can get treatment.  IFAA hopes to change all that.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

HAWMC Recap

I'm really excited to be participating in the WEGO Health Health Activist Writer's Month Challenge.  I'm hoping that the challenge factor will motivate me to write more often (every day this month, in fact!), and that that will develop into a habit of writing regularly after the month is over.  More importantly, I'm hoping that by sharing my experiences, thoughts, and insights about living with chronic and invisible illnesses, I'll be able to bring comfort to someone struggling with the same issues.
*Note - I'll be including this introductory paragraph at the beginning of every post, so that anyone who's checking in for the first time will have that background info.  If you come back another day (and I hope you do), you can skip this part and jump straight to the day's post, below!
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Today’s assignment: You did it! You've crossed the #HAWMC finish line. Recap the past month.  What did you enjoy, what didn't you enjoy? Favorite prompt?

Yaaay!

I did it!

I’ll be honest – I wasn't sure if I’d be able to do this.  Writing every day for 30 days – and writing meaningful posts at that – it’s more than I've ever done since I started the blog (though I’d always wanted to), and it was definitely a lot to ask of me.  That said, I've never been one to back down from a commitment, so once I decided to start, I knew I had to finish.  There were days when my post wasn't finished until 11:59PM … but that still counts – I got it done!    

Overall, it’s been a great experience.  As I explained in Day 7’s Why I Write, when I've written for this blog over the past few years, it’s been a cathartic experience for me, and a way to cheer myself up when life brings me down.  At the same time, it was a way to connect with others who have had similar thoughts and feelings, showing that there is always a silver lining, and that together we could get through anything.  With the specific focus on chronic/invisible/autoimmune illnesses, I’m still doing that, but there are two new – and very important – goals to my writing:

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Wordless Wednesday

I'm really excited to be participating in the WEGO Health Health Activist Writer's Month Challenge.  I'm hoping that the challenge factor will motivate me to write more often (every day this month, in fact!), and that that will develop into a habit of writing regularly after the month is over.  More importantly, I'm hoping that by sharing my experiences, thoughts, and insights about living with chronic and invisible illnesses, I'll be able to bring comfort to someone struggling with the same issues.

*Note - I'll be including this introductory paragraph at the beginning of every post, so that anyone who's checking in will have that background info.  If you come back another day (and I hope you do), you can skip this part!
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Today's assignment: Wordless Wednesday.  We all know a picture is worth a 1,000 words. Post/share a picture that relays a message or story to the viewer.


Like what you see here at Float Like a Buttahfly?
     Follow me on Facebook, Google+, and Twitter, and feel free to share/tell a friend!
Have a question?  Contact me at floatlikeabuttahfly@gmail.com.

Something to say right here, right now?  Post a comment below!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Summer Lovin'

I'm really excited to be participating in the WEGO Health Health Activist Writer's Month Challenge.  I'm hoping that the challenge factor will motivate me to write more often (every day this month, in fact!), and that that will develop into a habit of writing regularly after the month is over.  More importantly, I'm hoping that by sharing my experiences, thoughts, and insights about living with chronic and invisible illnesses, I'll be able to bring comfort to someone struggling with the same issues.
*Note - I'll be including this introductory paragraph at the beginning of every post, so that anyone who's checking in for the first time will have that background info.  If you come back another day (and I hope you do), you can skip this part and jump straight to the day's post, below!
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Today’s assignment: Summer Lovin. Summer is coming up. What plans do you have? Any family vacation? What do you look forward to in Summer 2014?

Most normal people look forward to taking vacations in the summer – school’s out, the weather’s beautiful, what better time to get away?  Well, I never claimed to be normal!  I’ve always preferred working through the summer, and taking my vacations other times during the year.  (That’s a good thing, because our vacations are based around hubby’s work schedule, which means vacationing pretty much anytime but the summer).  Still, the summer does offer some promise, some hope for better days.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Dear 16-Year-Old-Me

I'm really excited to be participating in the WEGO Health Health Activist Writer's Month Challenge.  I'm hoping that the challenge factor will motivate me to write more often (every day this month, in fact!), and that that will develop into a habit of writing regularly after the month is over.  More importantly, I'm hoping that by sharing my experiences, thoughts, and insights about living with chronic and invisible illnesses, I'll be able to bring comfort to someone struggling with the same issues.
*Note - I'll be including this introductory paragraph at the beginning of every post, so that anyone who's checking in for the first time will have that background info.  If you come back another day (and I hope you do), you can skip this part and jump straight to the day's post, below!
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Today’s assignment: Dear 16-Year-Old-Me. Write a letter to yourself at age 16. What would you tell yourself? What would you make your younger self aware of?

Dear 16-Year-Old-Me,

I know this seems weird, but this is 39-year-old-you writing.  I wanted to let you know a few things about how life is going to turn out, & give you a few tips to help you out along the way.

First, the really great news – everything works out with you & Mike.  Don’t worry about mom – she eventually comes around.  Believe it or not, in my time, she loves him almost as much as we do!  Sure there are ups & downs before we get to happily ever after … but we do get there!

Next, the not-so-great news – I know you’ve had problems with headaches & stomach pain for a while … unfortunately, there’s more to come.  I wish I could tell you what to do to prevent it, but at least I can give you some advice to make sure you’re treated right.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Book Report: The Picture of Dorian Gray

I'm really excited to be participating in the WEGO Health Health Activist Writer's Month Challenge.  I'm hoping that the challenge factor will motivate me to write more often (every day this month, in fact!), and that that will develop into a habit of writing regularly after the month is over.  More importantly, I'm hoping that by sharing my experiences, thoughts, and insights about living with chronic and invisible illnesses, I'll be able to bring comfort to someone struggling with the same issues.
*Note - I'll be including this introductory paragraph at the beginning of every post, so that anyone who's checking in for the first time will have that background info.  If you come back another day (and I hope you do), you can skip this part and jump straight to the day's post, below!
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Today's assignment: Book Report.  What’s your favorite book and how can you tie to your health or life?

Though I haven't read it in years, the book that immediately came to mind was The Picture of Dorian Gray, by Oscar Wilde.  The story follows Dorian, a young and stunningly beautiful man, and a portrait of him, painted by a well-known artist, Basil Hallward.  The painting has a profound effect on Dorian, and as we will come to see, he has an effect on the painting itself.

Dorian is much admired for his youth, wealth, culture, and beauty.  The artist Basil Hallward uses him as a model for many paintings, but creates one that is a simple, life-like portrait.  Though everyone else sees the latest piece as simply a masterpiece, Dorian feels that as he naturally withers with age, this painting will come to mock him as a reflection of what he once was.  He wishes – curses – that he could keep his youth and good looks, and let the painting age for him instead.  His wish comes true, and he soon has to hide the painting so no one else will see the changes.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Word Cloud

I'm really excited to be participating in the WEGO Health Health Activist Writer's Month Challenge.  I'm hoping that the challenge factor will motivate me to write more often (every day this month, in fact!), and that that will develop into a habit of writing regularly after the month is over.  More importantly, I'm hoping that by sharing my experiences, thoughts, and insights about living with chronic and invisible illnesses, I'll be able to bring comfort to someone struggling with the same issues.

*Note - I'll be including this introductory paragraph at the beginning of every post, so that anyone who's checking in will have that background info.  If you come back another day (and I hope you do), you can skip this part!
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Today's assignment: Word Cloud.  Make a word cloud or tree with a list of words that come to mind when you think about your blog, health, or interests. Use a thesaurus to make the branches of your “tree” extend further.

I had to go with this shape, didn't I?       *created through tagul.com

Friday, April 25, 2014

Fitness Friday

I'm really excited to be participating in the WEGO Health Health Activist Writer's Month Challenge.  I'm hoping that the challenge factor will motivate me to write more often (every day this month, in fact!), and that that will develop into a habit of writing regularly after the month is over.  More importantly, I'm hoping that by sharing my experiences, thoughts, and insights about living with chronic and invisible illnesses, I'll be able to bring comfort to someone struggling with the same issues.
*Note - I'll be including this introductory paragraph at the beginning of every post, so that anyone who's checking in for the first time will have that background info.  If you come back another day (and I hope you do), you can skip this part and jump straight to the day's post, below!
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Today's assignment: Fitness Friday.  What do you do to stay fit? Tell us about your efforts in maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

Fitness Friday ... yeesh!
What do I do to stay fit?  Double yeesh!
My efforts - ok, that part I can write about.

As I've mentioned (quite a few times) before, the combination of underactive thyroid, severe pain and fatigue, and two and a half years on steroids has led me to gain a tremendous amount of weight.  The idea of writing about how I stay fit feels almost like a sick joke: I've never been further from fit in my life. Still, I do the best I can, and have to believe that if I didn't, things would be even worse.

In some ways, staying fit (or as close to it as possible) with a chronic illness involves the same components as it does for anyone else.  Of course there are adjustments that must be made for each aspect, but it comes down to eating right, moving when possible, and finding some way to ease the mind along the way (yes, mental/emotional fitness is just as important as physical).  With that in mind, I offer my experience and advice on each aspect.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

It Could Be Worse

I'm really excited to be participating in the WEGO Health Health Activist Writer's Month Challenge.  I'm hoping that the challenge factor will motivate me to write more often (every day this month, in fact!), and that that will develop into a habit of writing regularly after the month is over.  More importantly, I'm hoping that by sharing my experiences, thoughts, and insights about living with chronic and invisible illnesses, I'll be able to bring comfort to someone struggling with the same issues.
*Note - I'll be including this introductory paragraph at the beginning of every post, so that anyone who's checking in for the first time will have that background info.  If you come back another day (and I hope you do), you can skip this part and jump straight to the day's post, below!
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Today's assignment: Health Activist Choice Day 2.  Write about whatever you want today!
My Choice: It Could be Worse.


It could be worse.

Other people have it much harder. 

At least it’s not cancer.

People with autoimmune arthritis, fibromyalgia, and many other invisible or not-well-understood illnesses hear statements like these all the time.  Many of us say them to ourselves quite a bit, too … but it’s not always the best message to relay.  In fact, it can be downright hurtful.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Wordless Wednesday

I'm really excited to be participating in the WEGO Health Health Activist Writer's Month Challenge.  I'm hoping that the challenge factor will motivate me to write more often (every day this month, in fact!), and that that will develop into a habit of writing regularly after the month is over.  More importantly, I'm hoping that by sharing my experiences, thoughts, and insights about living with chronic and invisible illnesses, I'll be able to bring comfort to someone struggling with the same issues.

*Note - I'll be including this introductory paragraph at the beginning of every post, so that anyone who's checking in will have that background info.  If you come back another day (and I hope you do), you can skip this part!
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Today's assignment: Wordless Wednesday.  We all know a picture is worth a 1,000 words. Post/share a picture that relays a message or story to the viewer.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Hobbies

I'm really excited to be participating in the WEGO Health Health Activist Writer's Month Challenge.  I'm hoping that the challenge factor will motivate me to write more often (every day this month, in fact!), and that that will develop into a habit of writing regularly after the month is over.  More importantly, I'm hoping that by sharing my experiences, thoughts, and insights about living with chronic and invisible illnesses, I'll be able to bring comfort to someone struggling with the same issues.

*Note - I'll be including this introductory paragraph at the beginning of every post, so that anyone who's checking in will have that background info.  If you come back another day (and I hope you do), you can skip this part!
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Today's assignment: Hobbies!  We at WEGO Health love hobbies. Tell us, what are YOUR hobbies? Are you a rock collector? Scrapbooking? Photographer? Dancer? Share your talents. (Pictures encouraged)
This was definitely another challenging post for me.  It wasn’t as much hard to write as it was hard to think of a hobby.  Honestly, I felt kinda lame as I thought through it all.  I don’t scrapbook, I don’t paint, dance, sculpt … I don’t play laser tag or video games.  I don’t run ... I don’t cook.  I really started feeling pretty pathetic, thinking about all the things I don’t do.

I used to do all kinds of crafts – in fact, years ago I was the go-to person for party favors and decorations.  But that was a long time ago.  Lately, I’ve done a couple of things when someone invited me to a class, but 2-3 projects in a year hardly counts as a hobby.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Reflection

I'm really excited to be participating in the WEGO Health Health Activist Writer's Month Challenge.  I'm hoping that the challenge factor will motivate me to write more often (every day this month, in fact!), and that that will develop into a habit of writing regularly after the month is over.  More importantly, I'm hoping that by sharing my experiences, thoughts, and insights about living with chronic and invisible illnesses, I'll be able to bring comfort to someone struggling with the same issues.

*Note - I'll be including this introductory paragraph at the beginning of every post, so that anyone who's checking in will have that background info.  If you come back another day (and I hope you do), you can skip this part!

 
Today's assignment: Reflection.  This is a day to reflect. For the WEGO Health family, we reflect on those who lost loved ones in the Boston Marathon Bombing last year and hope for a bright future for those impacted. Reflect on your journey to this day, what are your thoughts and hopes for the future?



When we take a moment to reflect on the tragic events at last year's Boston Marathon, the main thing that comes to my mind is the phrase, the feeling, the statement: Boston Strong.  In the moments following the explosions, many people ran into the smoke to save the ones who could not get to safety on their own.  In the days and weeks that followed, the city - the country, in fact - rallied together under that sentiment: we were stronger than the bombers. 

Similar actions and sentiments followed the Sandy Hook shootings, 9/11, Hurricanes Sandy and Katrina, and just about every other catastrophic event I can remember.  Time and again, after unthinkable tragedy, people have come out of the darkness to inspire hope, strength, and unity.  Human beings are amazingly resilient; when someone tries to tear us down, we help each other up again and again.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Travel Time


I'm really excited to be participating in the WEGO Health Health Activist Writer's Month Challenge.  I'm hoping that the challenge factor will motivate me to write more often (every day this month, in fact!), and that that will develop into a habit of writing regularly after the month is over.  More importantly, I'm hoping that by sharing my experiences, thoughts, and insights about living with chronic and invisible illnesses, I'll be able to bring comfort to someone struggling with the same issues.

*Note - I'll be including this introductory paragraph at the beginning of every post, so that anyone who's checking in will have that background info.  If you come back another day (and I hope you do), you can skip this part!

Today's assignment: Travel Time.  If you could travel to anywhere in the world, where would you go? Why? We also know traveling with a chronic illness can be challenging, so any tips for others that you can share would be great!


Vacations have always been very important for hubby and me.  For most of the time we've been together, we've worked alternate schedules: evenings, weekends, holidays – one of us is almost always working (except for this temporary period of unemployment).  We've gone years without sharing a day off, so the couple of weeks during the year when we share vacation time can be our only opportunity to spend more than a few hours together at a time … so we are sure to make the most of it. 


For us, making the most of it usually means going on a cruise: it allows us to see a few different places in one trip, while making the travel time between ports a destination in itself.  For me, quite often the destination doesn't even matter. (I often can’t even tell them apart, or remember which islands we’re going to – instead, I just say we’re going to the “St. Something” islands!)  There is often so much to do on the ship that we look forward to the days at sea for a chance to explore and try it all.  

Having a chronic illness definitely changes the experience of going on vacation.  Not only are there the physical limitations caused by the disease to consider, but the additional prohibitions because of the medications themselves.  A couple of years ago, just before we left for a much needed vacation, my doctor put me on Methotrexate.  For anyone who doesn't know, Methotrexate is a chemotherapy drug used to treat cancer and a number of autoimmune diseases.  It suppresses the immune system, so patients are more susceptible to infection and less able to fight it, which means that extreme precautions must be taken to avoid getting sick.  It can cause liver problems, so alcohol should be avoided.  It increases the risk of skin cancer, so patients must be shielded from the sun.  So … just before going on a cruise, I began a medication that meant I couldn't drink and I couldn't go out in the sun.  Aside from that, I was in too much pain and had lost the strength to do the more physical activities (my favorite was always climbing the rock wall).  All I could think was “what’s left?”  It was a serious adjustment, but I did what I could to make the best of it. 

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Lesson Learned

I'm really excited to be participating in the WEGO Health Health Activist Writer's Month Challenge.  I'm hoping that the challenge factor will motivate me to write more often (every day this month, in fact!), and that that will develop into a habit of writing regularly after the month is over.  More importantly, I'm hoping that by sharing my experiences, thoughts, and insights about living with chronic and invisible illnesses, I'll be able to bring comfort to someone struggling with the same issues.

*Note - I'll be including this introductory paragraph at the beginning of every post, so that anyone who's checking in will have that background info.  If you come back another day (and I hope you do), you can skip this part!

Today's assignment: Lesson Learned.  What’s a lesson you learned the hard way? Tell us a time when you made a mistake and promised never to make that same mistake again. Write about it for 15 today.

One very important lesson I have learned, though it took quite a while and quite a few bad examples for it to actually sink in, is that doctors are not the ultimate authority in my health care and treatment - I am.  Don’t get me wrong: I admit that they have a lot more education and experience than I do with regard to human anatomy, diseases, and treatments.  They do not, however, have more experience with my body. 

When I was growing up, I always took it as a given that doctors were experts: they knew everything, so I should basically take their word as law.  Then again, when I was a kid, I viewed pretty much all adults as infallible authorities: parents, teachers … they were in charge, and their position gave them the right to tell me what to do.  It never even occurred to me to question their judgment. 

Somewhere around adolescence, I learned better.  I defied my parents when I knew better than they did (my mom has since admitted that she was wrong), and even challenged a professor with whom I disagreed (that didn’t work out so well for my grade, but at least I had the satisfaction of knowing I was right).  For some reason, though, I still believed that my doctors were beyond reproach.

Friday, April 18, 2014

5 Challenges & 5 Small Victories

I'm really excited to be participating in the WEGO Health Health Activist Writer's Month Challenge.  I'm hoping that the challenge factor will motivate me to write more often (every day this month, in fact!), and that that will develop into a habit of writing regularly after the month is over.  More importantly, I'm hoping that by sharing my experiences, thoughts, and insights about living with chronic and invisible illnesses, I'll be able to bring comfort to someone struggling with the same issues.

*Note - I'll be including this introductory paragraph at the beginning of every post, so that anyone who's checking in will have that background info.  If you come back another day (and I hope you do), you can skip this part!

Today's assignment: 5 Challenges & 5 Small Victories.  Make a list of the 5 most difficult parts of your health focus. Make another top 5 list for the little, good things (small victories) that keep you going.

Everyone knows that life is like a roller coaster: full of ups and downs, twists and turns, highs and lows.  The ride is scary and exhilarating, and most of all, it's best when taken with friends.  When that life includes chronic autoimmune invisible illnesses, the lows can be much lower.  On the flip side, it doesn't take as much to get the same high, as we learn to appreciate the little things that much more.

Some of the most difficult parts (or lowest lows) of living with my myriad illnesses include:

Thursday, April 17, 2014

TV Matchup

I'm really excited to be participating in the WEGO Health Health Activist Writer's Month Challenge.  I'm hoping that the challenge factor will motivate me to write more often (every day this month, in fact!), and that that will develop into a habit of writing regularly after the month is over.  More importantly, I'm hoping that by sharing my experiences, thoughts, and insights about living with chronic and invisible illnesses, I'll be able to bring comfort to someone struggling with the same issues.

*Note - I'll be including this introductory paragraph at the beginning of every post, so that anyone who's checking in will have that background info.  If you come back another day (and I hope you do), you can skip this part!

Today's assignment: TV Matchup.  Think of a TV show that compares to your life. What is it? Who would you be, who would your friends and family be?

Wow, these are getting harder!  It took me quite a while to come up with a tv show that reflects my life.  At varying times over the years, there were a few shows I could relate to, but as for now?  Not so much.

When I was younger, I absolutely loved Roseanne (I kinda still do, but not the later seasons).  I was 13 when it premiered, and it was the first time I could actually relate to a tv family.  The Conners weren't perfect, but they weren't caricatures either.  They weren't stunningly gorgeous with modelesque bodies - they looked like real people.  They weren't rich - they had money troubles, but found a way to get by.  Mom was the one who knew everything and solved everyone's problems, and sometimes it took longer than one 30-minute episode.  They struggled, they fought, and they laughed through real-life issues ... but deep down, they all loved and cared about each other.  (As a bonus, they swapped out the older sister after 5 seasons, always a fantasy of mine! )

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Wordless Wednesday

I'm really excited to be participating in the WEGO Health Health Activist Writer's Month Challenge.  I'm hoping that the challenge factor will motivate me to write more often (every day this month, in fact!), and that that will develop into a habit of writing regularly after the month is over.  More importantly, I'm hoping that by sharing my experiences, thoughts, and insights about living with chronic and invisible illnesses, I'll be able to bring comfort to someone struggling with the same issues.

*Note - I'll be including this introductory paragraph at the beginning of every post, so that anyone who's checking in will have that background info.  If you come back another day (and I hope you do), you can skip this part!

Today's assignment: Wordless Wednesday.  We all know a picture is worth a 1,000 words. Post/share a picture that relays a message or story to the viewer.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Health Tagline: Give Up Being a Caterpillar!

I'm really excited to be participating in the WEGO Health Health Activist Writer's Month Challenge.  I'm hoping that the challenge factor will motivate me to write more often (every day this month, in fact!), and that that will develop into a habit of writing regularly after the month is over.  More importantly, I'm hoping that by sharing my experiences, thoughts, and insights about living with chronic and invisible illnesses, I'll be able to bring comfort to someone struggling with the same issues.

*Note - I'll be including this introductory paragraph at the beginning of every post, so that anyone who's checking in will have that background info.  If you come back another day (and I hope you do), you can skip this part!

Today's assignment: "Health Tagline"  Give yourself, your blog, your condition, or some aspect of your health a tagline. Make sure it’s catchy!

I've already had a tagline for my blog (and for my Buttahflies teams prior to starting the blog) for quite some time.  Just scroll back up, and you'll see it.  A few days into the challenge, I wrote about what it means to float like a buttahfly.  My tagline comes from the only natural follow up question, and its answer, taken from Trina Paulus' Hope for the Flowers:
"How does one become a butterfly?" she asked.  
"You must want to fly so much that you are willing to give up being a caterpillar."

Monday, April 14, 2014

Well That's Just Crazy!

I'm really excited to be participating in the WEGO Health Health Activist Writer's Month Challenge.  I'm hoping that the challenge factor will motivate me to write more often (every day this month, in fact!), and that that will develop into a habit of writing regularly after the month is over.  More importantly, I'm hoping that by sharing my experiences, thoughts, and insights about living with chronic and invisible illnesses, I'll be able to bring comfort to someone struggling with the same issues.

*Note - I'll be including this introductory paragraph at the beginning of every post, so that anyone who's checking in will have that background info.  If you come back another day (and I hope you do), you can skip this part!


Today's assignment: Well that's just crazy!  What’s the most ridiculous thing you've heard about your health condition? Was there any context? What did you think at the time you heard it – and what do you think of it now?

As we go through the struggles of trying to get a diagnosis and treatment, it's understandable that friends and family members of people with autoimmune/invisible illnesses may not quite "get" what we're going through.  After all, we barely get it ourselves - the symptoms are inconsistent, the labs are often normal, and we don't look sick.  We look to our doctors as the experts, the ones who will be able to solve this puzzle and help us feel better ... but sometimes they do just the opposite.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

These are a Few of My Favorite Things

I'm really excited to be participating in the WEGO Health Health Activist Writer's Month Challenge.  I'm hoping that the challenge factor will motivate me to write more often (every day this month, in fact!), and that that will develop into a habit of writing regularly after the month is over.  More importantly, I'm hoping that by sharing my experiences, thoughts, and insights about living with chronic and invisible illnesses, I'll be able to bring comfort to someone struggling with the same issues.

*Note - I'll be including this introductory paragraph at the beginning of every post, so that anyone who's checking in for the first time will have that background info.  If you come back another day (and I hope you do), you can skip this part and jump right to the post below!

Today's assignment: "These are a few of my favorite things"  It may not be brown paper packages wrapped up in string or warm woolen mittens, but what are some things you love? What can’t you live without?


Generally, I am the farthest thing from a material girl.  The things I value most are not tangible, and I could live without most possessions if I had to.  That said, when asked to come up with a list for this challenge, I was able to think of a few things that hold great sentimental value to me:



Saturday, April 12, 2014

Let's Play Catch (22)

I'm really excited to be participating in the WEGO Health Health Activist Writer's Month Challenge.  I'm hoping that the challenge factor will motivate me to write more often (every day this month, in fact!), and that that will develop into a habit of writing regularly after the month is over.  More importantly, I'm hoping that by sharing my experiences, thoughts, and insights about living with chronic and invisible illnesses, I'll be able to bring comfort to someone struggling with the same issues.
*Note - I'll be including this introductory paragraph at the beginning of every post, so that anyone who's checking in for the first time will have that background info.  If you come back another day (and I hope you do), you can skip this part and jump straight to the day's post, below!
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Today's assignment: Health Activist Choice Day 1.  Write about whatever you want today!
My Choice: Let's Play Catch (22)

Learning to manage life with autoimmune/chronic/invisible illnesses is a challenge that takes a lifetime to overcome.  Though the symptoms start early on, there is such variability that it often takes years to get a diagnosis, and even longer to find a treatment plan that works.  Along the way, we hit a particularly discouraging catch 22 situation: the things that our doctors recommend to help ease the symptoms are the things that we have the most difficulty with, specifically because of those symptoms.  It's an impossible cycle that adds immense frustration to an already troubling situation.
It hurts so much because I'm so tired because I can't sleep because it hurts so much because I'm stressed because I can't exercise because I'm so tired because ... 

Friday, April 11, 2014

Date Night

I'm really excited to be participating in the WEGO Health Health Activist Writer's Month Challenge.  I'm hoping that the challenge factor will motivate me to write more often (every day this month, in fact!), and that that will develop into a habit of writing regularly after the month is over.  More importantly, I'm hoping that by sharing my experiences, thoughts, and insights about living with chronic and invisible illnesses, I'll be able to bring comfort to someone struggling with the same issues.

*Note - I'll be including this introductory paragraph at the beginning of every post, so that anyone who's checking in will have that background info.  If you come back another day (and I hope you do), you can skip this part!

Today's assignment: Date Night.  We've seen some posts from Health Activists on dating tips when you have a chronic illness. What tips do you have for those looking for the one fish in this big pond?

Drawn together at my Sweet 16
For as much as the job search post was apropos for me to write about, this one seems to be just the opposite.  My husband and I grew up together - I had a crush on him when I was a child, we dated on and off when I was a teenager, and I've spent pretty much my whole adult life with him.  I haven't dated in decades, so it's not really something on which I could give expert advice.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

And the Winner is ...

I'm really excited to be participating in the WEGO Health Health Activist Writer's Month Challenge.  I'm hoping that the challenge factor will motivate me to write more often (every day this month, in fact!), and that that will develop into a habit of writing regularly after the month is over.  More importantly, I'm hoping that by sharing my experiences, thoughts, and insights about living with chronic and invisible illnesses, I'll be able to bring comfort to someone struggling with the same issues.

*Note - I'll be including this introductory paragraph at the beginning of every post, so that anyone who's checking in will have that background info.  If you come back another day (and I hope you do), you can skip this part!

Today's assignment: And the winner is ... You!  You just won an award and are on stage, holding your trophy. Write an acceptance speech. Who do you want to thank? How did you get to where you are today? Don’t worry, we won’t rush you off stage!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Wordless Wednesday

I'm really excited to be participating in the WEGO Health Health Activist Writer's Month Challenge.  I'm hoping that the challenge factor will motivate me to write more often (every day this month, in fact!), and that that will develop into a habit of writing regularly after the month is over.  More importantly, I'm hoping that by sharing my experiences, thoughts, and insights about living with chronic and invisible illnesses, I'll be able to bring comfort to someone struggling with the same issues.

*Note - I'll be including this introductory paragraph at the beginning of every post, so that anyone who's checking in will have that background info.  If you come back another day (and I hope you do), you can skip this part!


Today's assignment: Wordless Wednesday.  We all know a picture is worth a 1,000 words.  Post/share a picture that relays a message or story to the viewer.


**If you like what you read, tell a friend.  In fact, tell me, too - post a comment below!  If you don't ... well ... I'm all for honesty, but ... please be gentle!