Tuesday, July 21, 2009


And just like that, I was back. Six months later.

I was sitting outside in the sun just now, trying to give myself the pep talk I need right now. The house is quiet, with the kids away at camp during the day, and I was gearing up to paint my son's room. I wanted to paint today, but the pain in both my feet and hands is back and I'm finding it hard to ignore.

Hence the sitting in the sun, talking myself.

I forgot the comfort that comes from laying it out here, speaking the truth that doesn't come up in polite conversations. I know what comes next as I feel my coping skills waning. It is the panic, and the fears behind the panic - that the pain will take root and grow, making my life difficult to manage - that leave me paralyzed.

So I am waiting to paint another day, trying to decide if rest is called for or if being distracted would help.

But saying it here, helps.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Hips don't lie

Oh, so you thought I'd write this post last Friday?

Me too.

But Friday ended up being my freak out day of doing mindless activities - namely searching for miniature bundt pans - after finding a lump in my left breast.

I saw the doctor last Tuesday and scheduled my first mammogram and I felt relatively calm about it.

Then it sank in, and all I could think about was how I took Imuran for a year.

So sitting down and writing because crazy-making behavior. I swore off google searching the hours away reading about breast cancer, and filled my weekend with so much activity, I never had time to seriously worry.

Good thing too, because it was nothing. I came away with a base mammogram/ultrasound but not a worry in the world.

Except for my hips.

The weather has changed and I have become a Granny action doll, complete with bum hip. (Sore shoulders sold separately.)

I've given Jazzercise a rest and have gone back to some gentle yoga in the mornings.

This new pain - that wakes me up at night - gives me new insight and sympathy for the elderly and their talk at nauseum about their joints.

Because when your hips hurt, it's hard to ignore.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Guest Post: Rosalind Joffe (privacy and disclosure and living with chronic illness)

I wanted to know: How do you handle disclosing chronic illness, in the workplace and I guess, in your personal life as well. How much is too much and what is the responsible information an employer deserves to know?

I’ve lived with chronic illness for almost 30 years and I still find that disclosure isn’t simple. Let’s be clear. Disclosure means talking about something for the first time – in this case living with chronic illness. The on-going conversations about chronic illness aren’t necessarily easy. But I’ve found that the first conversation is often the hardest.

That’s why I suggest you consider the following when disclosing to a new friend or your supervisor: Be as public as you need to be and as private as you want to be.

This means that you don’t HAVE to talk about this with anyone unless it’s hurting you not to do so (“as you need”. And, you can say as MUCH or as LITTLE about it as you feel comfortable sharing (that’s where your sense of privacy should be considered).

If this seems overwhelming or is making you anxious, you can simplify the situation by asking:

• What do I hope to achieve – my desired outcomes -- by disclosing to this person?
• How could this information impact my relationship with this person/people?
• What is the best time and place to say this?
• What does this person need to know for me to achieve my desired outcomes?

The last question leads to the heart of this issue: what do you want to say and what not to say.

Chronic illness is unpredictable and it creates a level of uncertainty for you and for others. Because work relationships are inevitably based on your performance, you want to assure this person that you’ve got the situation under control and your illness will not become a burden for anyone else.

Similarly, when you’re telling a new friend or someone whom you don’t know very well that you live with a chronic illness, start slowly so you don’t overwhelm the other person with information. I suggest keeping 3 things to keep in mind:

• Know the facts about the illness and stick to them.
• Talk about how this affects what you can do rather than vague descriptions of how it feels.
• Keep the conversation as unemotional as possible.

If you find this information useful, chapter 6 Talking About Your Chronic Illness of my book, Women, Work and Autoimmune Disease, Keep Working Girlfriend! describes the various situations you might find yourself in and offers more options to consider.

Living with chronic illness can be an isolating experience, particularly if you don’t share it with those around with you. But sometimes we can err on too much sharing and even our closest friends and allies will feel they’ve heard more than they want to know. It’s in your best interest to develop your sense of what is enough.

Thanks, Rosalind! I will be back tomorrow to do my best Shakira impression, because my hips, they speak the truth.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Keep Working, Girlfriend blog tour

I am fasting this morning for a big blood work up so of course, my tummy is rumbling ala Pooh Bear in protest.

Join me tomorrow as I welcome Rosalind Joffe of cicoach.com, and author of Keep Working, Girlfriend. You won't be disappointed.

(You can find the blog tour dates and locations by clicking the book above.)

Monday, September 22, 2008

back to normal

My back finally started feeling better - am I so glad - and the aches and pains seemed to disappear as suddenly as they came on.

Story of my life.

I'm still working out, going to Jazzercise and taking several walks a week, and on most days, I can tell a difference in my energy levels.

I think squeezing in those workouts helps me deal with pain better, sleep sounder and generally feel happier. And hopefully, I'll be able to squeeze into some cuter (read: not MOM) jeans.

Fall is here and it's my favorite time of year...

(I posted a fairly healthy soup recipe over at Mama Milton, if you are so inclined now that the days are getting shorter.)

Friday, September 05, 2008

such a liar and woe to me

Posting regularly again? Boy, I missed the boat there.

But school's back in session and I will see if I can manage two blogs again. I guess I won't make any promises.

My husband and I took a trip to Bermuda in August and we had a great time: No mid-flights cluster headaches, only some mild soreness and swollen ankles.

I was poised to hit the gym - Jazzercise, specifically - when I was struck down by the flu. Yes, no kidding, 104 degree temp, red eye, aching influenza. I guess it's flu season somewhere, and I brought it back with me.

What followed: Sinus infection, of course, and this ridiculous backache.

It's been nearly a month, and I can't shake it.

I've tried:
  • heat
  • baths
  • ice
  • topical creams
  • tennis balls
  • whining
  • sleeping on back
  • walks
  • tearful pleas for back rubs when my hubby's home
  • aerobics
  • muscle relaxers
  • complaining
  • magnesium
  • prayer
  • fish oil
  • epsom salt baths
  • prescription NSAIDS

Nothing seems to do it. Funny thing is: I'm pretty sure it originated from laying around so much. Or I picture a team of secret op virus strains crawling into my muscles and throwing one hell of a party.

So, I am tossing it out to you, dear readers. I'm a bad bad blogger, here on this site, but if for merciful heavens you have any advice, please. I'm begging...

And I will be so very grateful for some relief.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

not perfect

I caught a summer cold, compliments of my kids.

They are thoughtful like that.

I managed to hit Jazzercise Saturday morning, but my throat was miserable.

Sunday, I was dragging and my perfect staging abilities - our house is on the market - was hampered. I let the house relax a bit while I sunk into the couch.

Of course, my slacker tendencies meant I left for a movie with the house less than perfect AND someone wanted to see it.

Doh. I hate that.

But like always, I am doing the best I can on any given day. And sometimes that's not saying a whole lot.