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Good Days…Bad Days With Maureen Pratt

Good Days…Bad Days With Maureen Pratt

Chronic Illness: When You’re Just Not Pretty

posted by mpratt
Image courtesy of Arvind Balaraman/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Arvind Balaraman/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

However hard we try, sometimes, in life with a chronic illness, we are just not pretty. Rashes, hair loss, weight gain or loss, bruises, swelling in places we don’t want it – oh, the list is long! And, when the visible signs of chronic illness (or the audible sounds of an infection) are very, very strong, well, we just might opt for opting out of activities that put us in social situations where we’ll feel conspicuous. Better, we might think, to be in a protective environment than have to explain ourselves or silently bear the stares and glares of others. And, yes, sometimes that is better, because our emotions are tied in with our health, and sometimes we’re just too fragile to warrant venturing out.

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But sometimes, it’s good to take stock of those less-than-attractive attributes and creatively, positively deal with them in a way that gives us a bit more confidence and helps us live a bit more socially.

Nearly 20 years ago, at the beginning of the horrible flare that ushered in lupus, I lost all of my hair. Since then, I’ve had one year when it grew back enough so that I did not have to wear wigs or other head coverings. I’ve long ago shed (pardon the pun) my embarrassment at being bald, and instead have learned to enjoy the variety available in the wigs, etc., that I have acquired. Moreover, I’ve learned how to move beyond “this is not pretty” to acceptpositively I interact with others; if I wilt under someone’s stare, I project weakness and sadness. But, if I smile back, despite how I feel or how lupus is affecting me that particular day, I project strength and faith.

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Above all, it’s important to remember that we are, each of us, beautiful within. No cliche meant, here, only truth. Because each person who lives will experience physical changes that dismay, confound, or confuse. The aging process does not skip anyone! But it is the Spirit inside, the light and the humanity within, that carries abiding beauty that never ages and always shines – as long as we cherish and nurture it!

Blessings,

Maureen

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Chronic Pain and Illness: Who Is By Your Side?

posted by mpratt

Maureen Pratt Author PicLong days of illness can wear on us, and often make us feel as if we are navigating choppy waters in a leaky boat all by ourselves. How well I know the feeling when I’m especially ill of the hours dragging on, thinking that everyone else is out in the world, busy, being productive, while I’m confined and my most immediate goal is to manage to take all of my meds at the right time and in the right combination!

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But, for me, those times do not last for long. Oh, the flare or the illness might continue, sometimes for weeks or months. But the feeling of being on my own doesn’t last if I keep in mind those who are by my side all the way, in heart and soul, if not physically.

God is present at all times, and if I imagine Him standing beside me, I feel a surge of strength and comfort.

Friends are only a call or an email away, and just that knowledge eases any sense of loneliness.

Doctors, pharmacists, and others, directly or indirectly accompany me through the ups and downs of lupus and infections, and the confidence I have in them is powerfully supportive when the pain is especially bad or other symptoms hurt.

If you think of the support that you have, the people and the Spirit by your side, you can chase away much of the loneliness you may feel, especially at the hardest moments, when it seems like everyone “has a life” but you.

Truly, you are not alone! Invite those by your side to come in closer – and feel their encouragement and love.

Blessings!

Maureen

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A Praying Spirit: Do You Judge When You Pray?

posted by mpratt
Photo courtesy of Gualberto107/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Photo courtesy of Gualberto107/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

It’s easy to pray for those we love. Friends, family, neighbors, people who help us or encourage us. But, what about praying for those people who have hurt us? Or, who have committed crimes, acts of violence, or other attrocities? It can be  much more difficult to pray compassionately for those whom we feel have no compassion, and it can be nearly impossible to lift up those who have deeply injured us.

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But, we are called to pray for everyone – in the words given by Our Father – “Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.” Moreover, we are called to be non-judgemental toward those tough intercessions.

Think about the ways in which you judge before you pray. Perhaps you sift through your prayer list and only consider those who are close to you, or whom you love a great deal. Or, perhaps you do pray for those who have injured you, but that prayer is tinged with dissatisfaction or dislike.

The more we are mindful to be compassionate toward all, the more of a difference we can make in those darker corners of the world. And the more we will model our Heavenly Father, walking with Christ throughout our daily lives.

Blessings,
Maureen

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Climbing Back, Slowly

posted by mpratt

Maureen Pratt Author PicA few days before Easter, I caught a really bad bug. I’ll spare the details, but suffice to say, it was one of those things that we with chronic illness (especially if we’re taking immunosuppressive drugs) dread. Not only does it make us feel absolutely miserable, but it throws everything else in our carefully-orchestrated lives off. I had to stop the immunosuppressive drugs while ill, and most everything else had to be put on hold, too.

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Now, I’m feeling better, slowly. And resolved to climb back into “regular” life slowly, too – and much more cautiously. This, I think, is one of the most difficult aspects of recovering from an illness, especially if you have other chronic conditions that affect daily life, too. We’re happy we’re feeling better, and others are happy, too. We can’t wait to get back to the activities and people that make us smile, that give us enjoyment. At this time of year, well, we simply cannot wait to get out and about!

But I know too well that the days right after a bug has been squashed are days to be held a little more closely than our happy hearts would like us to.  Energy will be lower, perhaps resistance to other bugs will be lower, too. Climbing back slowly will help build strength for healthier days to come.

So, I’ll resist the urge to speed up too soon. And along the way at this slower pace, I’ll be able to appreciate the life and world that God has given – beautiful, bright, and comforting!

Blessings and joy,

Maureen

 

Previous Posts

Chronic Illness: When You're Just Not Pretty
However hard we try, sometimes, in life with a chronic illness, we are just not pretty. Rashes, hair loss, weight ...

posted 5:36:18pm Apr. 22, 2015 | read full post »

Chronic Pain and Illness: Who Is By Your Side?
Long days of illness can wear on us, and often make us feel as if we are navigating choppy waters in a leaky boat all by ourselves. How well I know the feeling when I'm especially ill of the hours dragging on, thinking that everyone else is out ...

posted 5:24:50pm Apr. 20, 2015 | read full post »

A Praying Spirit: Do You Judge When You Pray?
It's easy to pray for those we love. Friends, family, neighbors, people who help us or encourage us. But, what about ...

posted 5:15:39pm Apr. 18, 2015 | read full post »

Climbing Back, Slowly
A few days before Easter, I caught a really bad bug. I'll spare the details, but suffice to say, it was one of those things that we with chronic illness (especially if we're taking immunosuppressive drugs) dread. Not only does it make us feel ...

posted 1:06:39am Apr. 13, 2015 | read full post »

A Praying Spirit: Praying Praise
Happy Easter - again and again! I'm just digging out of a really bad bug - one of those things that flattens you out ...

posted 6:06:34pm Apr. 11, 2015 | read full post »

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