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Good Days…Bad Days With Maureen Pratt

Good Days…Bad Days With Maureen Pratt

Chronic Illness: In Advance

posted by mpratt

Second close-up of pictureThe tests I mentioned in an earlier post went very well, and I’m “out the other side” of that particular challenge! And one of the things that helped bring about smooth sailing was what I did in advance of even going out the front door.

In my upcoming new book, Don’t Panic!: How to Keep Going When the Going Gets Tough (which is available now for pre-order on Amazon), I talk a lot about how we prepare to meet crises. Not that we walk around thinking, “The sky is going to fall, I know it!” But that we take steps to make ourselves as strong as we possibly can before a crisis occurs (and we all know that one or more crisis will occur in each of our lives at some time!).

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For the tests I had to have recently, for example, I took some steps to bring a bit of comfort and something distracting. I’ve done this before; once, when I was first diagnosed with lupus and had to go through tests that took the better part of a day (with lots of waiting around time), I took decks of children’s card games (Go Fish!, Old Maid, etc.) and friends took turns visiting with me and playing the games. We were quite a sight – a group of adults intent on being the first to gather all the like card of Go Fish!  But the distraction helped tremendously, and the activity was a lot of fun.

Anyway, this time, for comfort, I took a couple of snack bars, a container of warm water with honey, and a bottle of water, some socks and a cap for my head. For distraction, I took something to read that was far off-topic of the subject of my tests. These preparations truly helped bring even more calm, and I also spent much time praying and thinking of far-flung friends and favorite places.

With serious chronic illnesses, we usually cannot avoid long stretches of time in waiting rooms or undergoing tests, but what we do in advance can help take away much of the stress.

Smooth sailing is a wonderful thing when you’re headed into choppy waters!

Peace,

Maureen

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Chronic Illness: How We Give

posted by mpratt

Second close-up of pictureWhen you have a chronic illness, and associated expenses and unexpected health upsets, it can be hard to figure out how to give to those who are less fortunate (and, yes, although it might be hard to imagine, there are many people who are less fortunate than even the sickest among us!). There might not be enough money in the household budget for meds, copays, and other expenses, and it might be impossible to give time and effort on an ongoing, consistent, regular basis, especially in our church communities. Yet, the pressure is there. And sometimes, I have heard of sad stories of people who are chronically ill being challenged by others that “they can give a little more” or “if they really cared, they’d give more money/time/effort.” I’ve personally encountered negative comments when I respond, “No, I cannot donate blood,” to questions/urgings to participate in blood donation drives, as if I’m making an excuse rather than being truly unable!

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Oh, my, where do I begin?…

Each of us does, I believe, have certain gifts from God that are meant to be used. These include talents and treasure, time and effort. These gifts do not abandon us when we are diagnosed with a chronic illness, however how we use them (or are able to use them) might change drastically and seemingly with regularity as our health challenges wax, wane, and carry on.

One of the things I’ve found most helpful with my particular situation is to wake each day commiting to doing one thing to help someone else. Whether that “thing” is as simple as to smile on someone who looks downcast or collect unused possessions and give them for charity, I’ve found there is always something I can give and that nothing we give is too small (much to the contrary of those who would insist otherwise).

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It is within each of us to discern whether we are avoiding the issue of giving and hiding behind our health conditions or truly intent on finding that “one thing” each day. It is within each of us, too, to figure out how to keep body and soul together, taking stock of our resources and using them wisely.

Yes, how we give is a very personal thing. God knows our hearts. And if we encounter those who would criticize us, well, the one thing we can do? Pray for them, too.

Peace,

Maureen

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Chronic Illness: Prayer that Travels

posted by mpratt

Second close-up of pictureI am about to leave for a long and no doubt fatiguing test. I didn’t expect to have to fit this into my week, but, well, as you know, with chronic illness “thing happen.” I’ll take all the necessary paperwork and cards, a cap for my head when I have to remove my wig, socks (feet get mighty cold), and other necessary things.

And, of course, I’ll take along prayer that travels.

I won’t have the opportunity to read during the test, so I won’t take my prayer books. No opportunity, either, to carry a rosary. But prayer will be in my heart and, perhaps even more important, I know that prayer will be surrounding me, prayer from people I don’t know, prayer from people I do know.

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Prayer that travels – what a wonderful gift! And what a wonderful comfort for those times when we might feel otherwise detached from home, familiar friends, or even our favorite wig! :)

Peace,

Maureen

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Chronic Illness: All the Bluster

posted by mpratt
Image courtesy of bigjom/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of bigjom/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

We had a mighty wind storm over the weekend. The palm trees outside my window were bent all the way to 10 o’clock, and at times, I thought they might snap off! Rain fell in buckets, too, but it was the wind that was particularly remarkable – and made me think of this blog’s subject.

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There are many times when we feel as if there’s a storm raging all around us. Perhaps family or work situations are in bad shape, or the physicality of living with a chronic illness has been so exhausting that daily living seems like a big battle. We might want to retreat at such times, curl up and close our eyes and wait for the storm to pass. And yet, one of the most helpful things we can do – something that I do – is to realize exactly what is happening, to watch the storm unfold, do what I must do about it, but all throughout, keep in touch with the calm, peaceful center within me that is keeping me completely safe, enveloped in God’s care and love.

To get wrapped up in fear means that we don’t have much room in our thoughts and feelings for allowing God’s compassion to touch us. But with one eye on the storm and our hearts fixed on God’s love within, all the bluster in the world won’t roil us – and it, like all of life’s many storms, will eventually pass by.

Previous Posts

Chronic Illness: In Advance
The tests I mentioned in an earlier post went very well, and I'm "out the other side" of that particular challenge! And one of the things that helped bring about smooth sailing was what I did in advance of even going out the front door. In my ...

posted 6:46:52pm Feb. 08, 2016 | read full post »

Chronic Illness: How We Give
When you have a chronic illness, and associated expenses and unexpected health upsets, it can be hard to figure out how to give to those who are less fortunate (and, yes, although it might be hard to imagine, there are many people who are less ...

posted 5:20:22pm Feb. 06, 2016 | read full post »

Chronic Illness: Prayer that Travels
I am about to leave for a long and no doubt fatiguing test. I didn't expect to have to fit this into my week, but, well, as you know, with chronic illness "thing happen." I'll take all the necessary paperwork and cards, a cap for my head when I ...

posted 5:13:21pm Feb. 04, 2016 | read full post »

Chronic Illness: All the Bluster
We had a mighty wind storm over the weekend. The palm trees outside my window were bent all the way to 10 o'clock, and at ...

posted 5:12:03pm Feb. 03, 2016 | read full post »

Chronic Illness: Is the Grass Greener on Another Side?
During the Christmas holiday, I happened to meet a fellow traveler who was returning from a brief trip. He explained that he had a young family and hd been thinking for quite some time about moving out of state, to another place where he felt he ...

posted 10:07:53pm Jan. 22, 2016 | read full post »

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