An Attitude of Gratitude

Are you grateful for your life?  Are you grateful for the things you’ve been given? Are you grateful for Chronic Pain and Chronic Fatigue? What about your other Invisible Illnesses? For Fibromyalgia? I am, and let me explain why.

I have had my Invisible Illnesses for over half my life now, and they have been a predominant part of my life since 2004 when I went into a major flare that I’ve never recovered from. That was the year I had stomach surgery for severe Gastric Reflux disease – a procedure called a Nissen Fundoplication. The surgery itself was successful, but I suffered nerve damage in the sternum area from where an instrument being used was pressed too hard against a nerve for an extended period of time, causing it to be pinched for over an hour. This caused me excruciating pain that didn’t resolve for almost a year and had me addicted to morphine pills to the point that I was hallucinating. In fact, at one point, the general surgeon called in a Thoracic surgeon, who was going to crack open my sternum to try and fix whatever the problem was – a drastic solution indeed.

I’m grateful this didn’t happen and the Thoracic surgeon had the sense to suggest a drug called Gabapentin for nerve damage which is what he suspected was the problem, and he was right.

I spent almost a year in a hunched over position, trying to “contain” the pain, it was so bad. I ended up having to go for physical therapy and massage in order to loosen up my muscles to where I could stand in a straightened up position again.

I’m grateful for the therapists that helped me.

I’m grateful there are medical teams in place when we need emergency surgery, such as when a cyst I didn’t even know I had on my ovary burst, causing me horrid pain. It needed immediate removal and there was a team to do that. Just like there was a team to remove my gallbladder and my other ovary when it went rogue as well.

And I’m grateful for my three doctors who have worked with me and my overall health issues over the last five years, Dr Leong, Dr Winston and Dr Burnett, my orthopedic surgeon who did my hip replacement.

Okay, you say…it’s easy to be grateful to the people who help us, but how can you be grateful for having Chronic Pain and Fibromyalgia and all the other stuff. Well, I’ll tell you.

When you have Invisible Illness, you tend to miss out on a lot of life. You may have to give up your job or volunteer activities, your hobbies and family life. You end up losing a lot more than you seem to have left. But what having a Chronic illness does is force you to dig deep to FIND what you’re grateful for. I made a list:

  • Sunrises and sunsets
  • Quiet mornings after a good sleep
  • A perfect cup of coffee
  • A day where the kids get along and no one is fighting
  • A day where the cat or dog doesn’t barf all over the place
  • Feeling energetic enough to accomplish a few things on the “to do” list
  • Feeling rested
  • Feeling less pain than normal
  • Being able to go for a coffee date with a girlfriend or two
  • Having dinner with your family together instead of needing to lay down
  • Date night with your spouse
  • Watching a movie together instead of early to bed
  • Having a bath or shower
  • Having enough food on the table and money in the bank
  • Laughter
  • A sense of safety and security
  • A roof over your head
  • Feeling loved
  • Having a close friend you can confide in
  • Books to read and art to admire
  • Social media like Facebook and Pinterest
  • Ice cream or a favourite treat
  • Family and friends to share memories with
  • Vacations

I could go on and on…the point is, there is so much to be grateful for, but when you live with Chronic Pain and Chronic Fatigue and Invisible Illness, it’s easy to get stuck wallowing in the negatives, to the point you forget to stop and remember to be grateful. Take a moment now to list a few things that you’re grateful for and make it a habit each day to say thank you. An Attitude of Gratitude is easy to cultivate, but like a good garden, you need to tend to it every day.

Remember…

there is always hope!

A Chronical of Hope…

I have been loving the experience of blogging and went into it with no expectation of making money. I wanted to write about Chronic Pain and Chronic Fatigue and Fibromyalgia and Invisible Illness. I didn’t even think it was possible to make money writing about subjects like that, but apparently, there is a way to monetize a blog to do just that. So…I’ve started a second blog.

The name of the new blog is A Chronical Of Hope – notice the play on words with Chronical, rather than the typical Chronicle? I have to tell you something funny about that. I use a free program called Grammarly for my writing online to make sure I’m spelling things correctly and using proper grammar (you’d be surprised how many times I use commas inappropriately!). When I registered the new domain name at Hover.com, there was no problem…www.achronicalofhope.com is all mine. But when I went to the hosting site Bluehost.com to actually host the domain, Grammarly corrected the word Chronical to Chronicle and I didn’t notice (I was doing this at 3am) and it totally screwed up everything. I couldn’t launch my new site for the life of me, and I couldn’t figure out why…everything was set up properly, everything was pointing in the right direction, but nothing…it would not come up online. I finally noticed the problem and a fine young man named Deepak at the Helpdesk spent 30 minutes working with me to resolve the problem – most of the time being taken because it takes time to switch things over. I had to laugh…good old Grammarly, doing its job too well!

I’m also doing something a tiny bit different in that I’m using WordPress.org, instead of WordPress.com to produce content on the new blog. All this means is that I own the content of A Chronical Of Hope – on WordPress.com, they own everything, because you are being hosted on their platform, which is why it’s free. I pay Bluehost a fee to host my new blog so I own the content. Big difference.

The main reason I’ve started the second blog though is that I plan on turning it into a monetizing blog – one where I can earn money.  I could do that with There Is Always Hope, but I would have to change-up my theme again and make a bunch of other changes to it, and I’m just not prepared to do that. I want to keep this blog for simply writing for the joy of writing. I will be marketing A Chronical Of Hope in a different way although to the same audience – those who live with Fibro and Chronic Pain and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Invisible Illness. I’ll be working with Affiliates such as Amazon, selling products that would appeal to people with those conditions and I will use this blog to cross-market by linking to A Chronical Of Hope when appropriate. I also have plans to sell my e-Book on the other blog as well as I wasn’t able to set it up to sell on this one.

e-Book you say? Yes, I put together an e-Book with 30 Positive Affirmations in .pdf format so you can carry positive words in your heart. If your device can open a .pdf file, you can take these words with you wherever you go and read them whenever you need them. All done up in a pretty format, I think you’ll like it. Just $3.00 and payable via PayPal. You can click here to order if you’re interested and it’s now available to order off the last post as well.

I hope you’ve been enjoying my blogging journey as much as I have been. I’ve received a lot of positive feedback on my writing and the topics I’ve chosen to write about and I hope to bring you more in the near future. Thank you for following me. I appreciate each and every one of you. Remember…

There is always hope!

 

Feeling Crafty

I mostly write about Fibromyalgia, Chronic Pain, Chronic Fatigue and Invisible Illness, but I do occasionally deviate from these subjects to talk about other things. Today I wanted to share with you some of the crafty stuff I like to work on.

One of the first things I started on quite some time ago was this:

MultiMediaPiece

The colour is done in chalk and the leaves are from cut out paper. The lamb is a pin that I found in a box of jewelry. It’s not finished yet, as I’m not sure what I want to do with the rest of it. Maybe something to break up the horizon, or some tiny flowers. I just feel like it’s incomplete somehow so I’ve put it aside until I figure out what to do next. If you have any ideas, leave them in the comments for me.

Other projects I’ve been working on included this mixed piece:

OurNest

It’s a wall hanging with beads and buttons and 3D butterflies and moss grass etc. Mostly I did it to play around with texture. It hangs in the Craft Room/Sewing Room and while it’s pretty simplistic, it was a start.

I’ve also done some very basic flower arranging:

The thing that I seem to be into the most right now is beading. I have been creating hanging beads for outside, including these:

They hang on the beam along the sidewalk by our parking space and serve no purpose except to look pretty. I’m also creating hanging beads that will go in front of the slats of our fence on our back patio, for the same reason:

BeadIdeaForFence

I’ve put cardboard behind so you can actually see the beads, but they would normally just hang through the slats

PatioFence

I think when it’s done it will look really pretty. I’m going to put a bell on each one so it acts like a wind chime as well. The bell will go where the middle slat is. The ones I showed you are hanging in our front patio and I might make more for there as well. Depend on how many beads I have and how tired I get of stringing them!  LOL!

I’m not really very crafty. I have to follow instructions pretty closely in order to do things, but this is pretty easy stuff. I’m hoping the shiny beads will attract more hummingbirds as well…I get a few to my feeder and we have tons of birds around here, so we’ll see. Maybe I’ll scare them all away!!

If you are a crafter, what type of things do you like to do? Leave me a comment to share your favourites and maybe I’ll learn something new!

There is always hope!

Stream of Consciousness Saturday

Welcome!

I’m taking part in a new thing, from the blog of author Linda G. Hill.  Every Friday, she provides a word to get Bloggers writing, and I found out about it from my friend and fellow blogger Amelia at youcanalwaysstartnow .

Today’s word is “call“. The idea behind this stream of consciousness writing is that you write without thinking about a subject using whatever word or phrase is given and you can only edit for spelling errors. So, here goes.

After posting about One Being the Loneliest Number, I had to admit to myself that I have been very lonely lately. I don’t have many friends on the Island and  those that I do have are busy people and not easily accessible when it comes to getting together. This week is especially bad as Ray is away on a bike trip with the guys and won’t be back until next week on either Tuesday or Wednesday. That’s only 5 days but it’s 5 long days for me. I miss him even though we don’t do a lot together when he is here because he goes to bed so early because of his long days at work.

Anyways, so I was feeling particularly lonely tonight so I went to my favourite online Facebook group and I posted about it. This group is a group of fans of Jenny Lawson’s, the author of Let’s Pretend This Never Happened and Furiously Happy, as well as her book/colouring book You Are Here. And what I posted was my address and that I would love postcards and notes and cards to cheer me up. And people responded!!! I have a number of online friends from this group whom I dearly love and they were all so sweet…they’ll be writing to me soon. And other people who I don’t know well in the group said the same thing!! Plus I got three wonderful emails after leaving my email address for one person who is on bed-rest in the hospital awaiting the birth of her son, and those made me cry, and I just feel so loved and a whole lot less lonely in this big ole world!!

and all it took was for me to put a call out into the world to say I’m lonely.

If you’d like to take part in Stream of Consciousness Saturday, here are the rules from Linda Hill (all references to “I” belong to her)

1. Your post must be stream of consciousness writing, meaning no editing (typos can be fixed), and minimal planning on what you’re going to write.

2. Your post can be as long or as short as you want it to be. One sentence – one thousand words. Fact, fiction, poetry – it doesn’t matter. Just let the words carry you along until you’re ready to stop.

3. I will post the prompt here on my blog every Friday, along with a reminder for you to join in. The prompt will be one random thing, but it will not be a subject. For instance, I will not say “Write about dogs”; the prompt will be more like, “Make your first sentence a question,” “Begin with the word ‘The,’” or will simply be a single word to get you started.

4. Ping back! It’s important, so that I and other people can come and read your post! For example, in your post you can write “This post is part of SoCS:” and then copy and paste the URL found in your address bar at the top of this post into yours.  Your link will show up in my comments for everyone to see. The most recent pingbacks will be found at the top. NOTE: Pingbacks only work from WordPress sites. If you’re self-hosted or are participating from another host, such as Blogger, please leave a link to your post in the comments below.

5. Read at least one other person’s blog who has linked back their post. Even better, read all of them! If you’re the first person to link back, you can check back later or go to the previous week by following my category, “Stream of Consciousness Saturday,” which you’ll find below the “Like” button on my post.

6. Copy and paste the rules (if you’d like to) in your post. The more people who join in, the more new bloggers you’ll meet and the bigger your community will get!

7. As a suggestion, tag your post “SoCS” and/or “#SoCS” for more exposure and more views.

8. Have fun!

There is always hope!

 

August Link Ups

August Link Ups for A Chronic Voice

I’m taking part in my very first Link Ups on the blog A Chronic Voice.  Sheryl is the Authoress of the page and she hosts these online parties every month, providing 5 word prompts to help get us writing. We’re allowed to submit one post per month utilizing these prompts, so I thought I’d give it a go.

Prompts for the Month

  1. Figuring
  2. Completing
  3. Boring
  4. Cuddling
  5. Chatting

1.Figuring: I spend a lot of time figuring out what I want to share with my readers when I’m writing up new blog posts. A lot of my posts have to do with my own personal health, but sometimes I switch things up and share about other things, such as our pets that bring us such comfort when we’re feeling ill, or about body image or feeling invisible. But I often wonder if that’s what my readers want, or if they want more generalized posts about Fibro and Invisible Illnesses, so I second guess myself a lot. I’m a fairly new blogger, having only seriously been at it for the last 3 months now. I think my best bet is to mix it up and include a variety of posts and see what type of comments and traffic I get and just decide from there if I’m doing the right thing.

2. Completing: When I’m in pain, I tend to start a lot of different projects to keep my mind busy, but I’m not always good about completing them. I have half done crafts all over the place – artwork I’ve started and never finished, a multi-media piece that I don’t know what to do with, beads that I want to make something with, polymer clay that I want to create with, crochet needles and yarn that I bought to teach myself how to make a scarf and a needlepoint kit of a cow, because I love cows. I need to learn how to focus on one thing at a time, complete that particular project and then move on to something new instead of having 6 different things going and none of them being worked on.

3. Boring: Being housebound because of Chronic Illness can be awfully boring sometimes. You wouldn’t think so with all the things I have that I could be doing, like all the projects I just mentioned. I could also be watching Netflix or reading a book or making a coffee date, but here’s the thing…most of the time, I hurt too much to consider doing much of anything at all. I try not to complain to anyone, least of all my husband, but most days, I start off by having a wee cry. The rest of the day is basically one long blur of bore with each day the same as the one before. I’m always up super early because I don’t sleep well, I spend a lot of time on Facebook, I work on my blog, I play a few Facebook games, I spend time with our cat Dorie, and I wait for the mail. Hubby comes home, we have dinner, he goes to bed fairly early, I do more on Facebook or my blog and finally, around midnight, I try going to sleep, just to wake up at 4am to start all over again. Boring!

4. Cuddling: I am 5’2″ tall and my husband Ray is 6’5″ tall. You wouldn’t think so, but it makes for perfect cuddling!  When I hug him, my ear is right at the level of his heart and I can hear how his heartbeat quickens when we connect like that. Laying together, we fit like two perfect pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, each body part meshing with the other. We spoon together, I snuggle up to him – no matter how we cuddle together, it’s always a perfect fit.

5. Chatting: I love chatting online with people and the one thing I can honestly say about myself is that I love to help other people. I stay up to date on current affairs, but mostly, I’m a counsellor. I like to listen to people and it seems they naturally like to share their problems with me. I’ve lived an interesting life and have a lot of common sense, so I enjoy offering them good old fashioned advice like Ann Landers. That’s why I was delighted to find websites like Quora and The Mighty  – they’re perfect for me. I’m able to share my knowledge and wisdom with others while learning at the same time.

So, there we have it, my first attempt at the Link Up Challenge! I hope you all enjoy the read and decide to follow me for more of my posts. Just click the little “follow me” button on the right side of the page and voila! you’re done! You’ll get an email every time I post something new.

Thanks for your ongoing support. I blog to share my thoughts, to educate the public on Fibromyalgia, Chronic Pain, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Invisible Illness and to give from the heart. Remember…

There is always hope

The Mighty Strikes Again!

I really love The Mighty. It’s an empowering website for people with Chronic Illness to share and learn and they encourage input from people like me, who live with Invisible Illnesses. This is from their website:

The Mighty is a digital health community created to empower and connect people facing health challenges and disabilities.

We have over 1 million registered users and are adding a new one every 20 seconds.

Our stories and videos are viewed and shared more than 90 million times a month.

But those are just stats. This experience from a community member is what we’re really after:

“How is it that I read an essay on The Mighty and it is the only place in the world where I feel truly understood? Time and time again you speak to me through your contributors. I read this headline and it could have come from my very lips…I wanted to say thank you – words can never express how truly grateful I am to the author for sharing her story, for all Mighty contributors, and to The Mighty itself. You have changed my life. I have made a close friend who lives many miles away because of our shared pain. I gain insight every day and I finally, finally do not feel so alone in this world. Thank you. Bless you!”

I’ve had one story published already and now they’ve gone ahead and published a second article of mine. They took my post Some Body To Love and condensed it so it can be shared with the world. I’d love it if you’d check it out here!!

There is always hope!