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?
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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!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Off to Work

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: Off to Work.  What advice would you give to those on the job search? How do you juggle your job and a chronic illness? Any tips for the interview?

Monday, April 7, 2014

Why I Write

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: Why I Write.  Tell us why you write about your health. How long have you been writing? What impact has it made on your life? Write for 15-20 minutes without stopping.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Sunday Dinner

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: Sunday Dinner.  Who are 5 people you’d love to have dinner with (living or deceased) and why? Don’t worry we won’t be offended if you don’t choose those at WEGO Health

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Superpower Day

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: Superpower Day.  It’s a bird, it’s a plane it’s….you!  If you had a superpower – what would it be? How would you use it?

As children, we all had our favorite superheroes.  We considered which character we admired, who had a backstory we could relate to, and what costume we'd most like to wear.  Most of all, we thought about the superpowers (and many of us still do).  In fact, just this morning my facebook feed included links to the Zimbio quiz, Which Superpower is Right For You?  Of course, I had to take it!
I'm kinda ok with this result!
Personally, I always had a thing for Superman - clean cut, pure and true, standing up for truth, justice, and the American way ... and that charming smile didn't hurt.  Batman didn't have special powers, but he did have "all those wonderful toys."  Wonder Woman had the best costume: she had the bracelets and the boots (and we all know how I feel about boots) ... and of course, she was the strong and powerful woman in a superworld dominated by men.

When I was younger, it was fun to imagine having different heroes' abilities.  Sure it would be cool to fly or have super strength, but the powers I really wanted were invisibility and telepathy.  I wanted to go places to find out what people did when I wasn't around.  I wanted to know what they were thinking but not telling me.  I guess overall, I wanted to know what I was missing out on by just being little ol' me.

That was a long time ago, and a lot has changed since then.  Now, there's only one superpower I would wish for - one that I wold love to have and share over and over again: the power to heal.

Living with Fibromyalgia, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Migraine, Chronic Sinusitus, Insomnia, Erosive Esophagitis, GERD, IBS, and more, I have been in pain in some part of my body pretty much every day for the past 8-10 years.  Most often, it's several different types of pain in many parts all over my body at once.  Debilitating fatigue is more than just being tired - it's literally being so tired it hurts, so exhausted that it is a struggle to do the most basic tasks, so bad that no amount of sleep can relieve it.

As SuperButtahfly, with an awesome pair of boots and the ability to heal, of course I would use my power on myself right away.  Then I would be able to heal people all over the world, too, and not just their physical suffering from illness or injury.  I would heal their emotional wounds, as well.  Whether someone was heartbroken from a breakup, missing someone who passed away, or hurt for any other reason, as SuperButtahfly, I would be able to take the pain away.

In the mean time, I can't just sit back and hope for healing.  I've got to do what I can - both for myself and for others near and far.  I may not be a SuperButtahfly, but there are things even a "regular" Buttahfly can do (and remember, we can all be buttahflies).

  • Volunteer - I have been an active volunteer since I was a child.  The specific tasks and charitable organizations have varied as my passion for the cause(s) and desire to help has guided me along.  Though we may no longer be able to perform the physically demanding tasks, there are still plenty of opportunities to meet any need.
  • Participate in Research - Many health-related charities are continually running long term studies.  Some look at the patients, to see how the disease activity changes over time.  Others look at healthy family members, to see what may develop over time and identify trends.
  • Become an Advocate - Advocates reach out to local politicians, making the cause more personal and asking for support.  Many organizations will make it easy, giving volunteer advocates the information and even the wording to use so that we're sending a unified message.
  • Fundraise - Research and patient support programs are only possible when sufficient funding is available.  Anyone can write a check, but signing up as a fundraising participant can do even more: not only can we raise more than we can donate ourselves, but every time we ask for a contribution, we are also spreading awareness about the cause.  (Of course, now I've got to take this opportunity to plug my current fundraising effort!)
    On May 17th, I'll be participating in the Arthritis Foundation's Walk to Cure Arthritis, and I could really use your support.  Pleasvisit my page to join my team or make a donation.  Every little bit helps!
  • Share Your Story - One of the hardest parts of living with a chronic illness is the feeling that no one understands what we're really going through.  Finding others with similar experiences, then, brings the connection and lets us know that we're not alone.  My hope is that in some small way, this blog can bring that comfort and healing to someone who needs it.
**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!