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Good Days…Bad Days With Maureen Pratt

Good Days…Bad Days With Maureen Pratt

Bio

Several years ago, Maureen Pratt earned her Master of Fine Arts in Theater Arts/Playwriting from UCLA's School of Theater, FIlm and Television. She expected to be writing scripts. God had other plans.

A few years after her graduation, Maureen was diagnosed with a life-threatening case of organ-involved lupus. Her life turned upside down as she grappled with the effects of the illness and other health conditions that ensued. She was no stranger to serious health challenges; even as a child, Maureen had survived numerous bouts of pneumonia, flu, and other infections. But lupus made her take a fresh look at her life goals - and took herlifelong, strong Catholic Christian faith and writing in a direction she'd never imagined.

Today, Maureen writes and speaks about walking with the Lord while living with chronic pain and illness. She is the author of six books, including, "Peace in the Storm: Meditations on Chronic Pain & Illness" (Image Books/Randomhouse), "Beyond Pain: Job, Jesus, and Joy" (Twenty-Third Publications), "The First Year: Hypothyroidism, Second Edition" (Perseus) and "Taking Charge of Lupus: How to Manage the Disease and Make the Most of Your LIfe." She writes the syndicated column, "Living Well," for Catholic News Service, and has also written for Saint Anthony Messenger Magazine, Journey for Women Magazine, The Upper Room Magazine, LupusNow, and Arthritis Today. Maureen's health continues to be a challenge, however she feels honored to be able to bring her perspective, from experience and knowledge, to others.

"Good Days...Bad Days with Maureen Pratt" is a new way for Maureen to reach people who carry the burden of illness and pain in their lives, or who care for someone who does. Through the blog, she hopes to bring issues of health, wellness, and spirit into focus and, especially, inspire others that, no matter what health challenges, illness, or hardships they endure, each person can find a good way to realize the wonderful potential God has placed within each heart and soul.

Chronic Illness: Dare to Be You!

posted by mpratt

Most of us who live with chronic illness become very creative when it comes to coping. Perhaps we have an “alter ego,” in the shape of a stuffed teddy bear or other inanimate object, and vent our frustrations on it […]

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On the Inside Looking Out

posted by mpratt

Just as churches seem to be placing even greater emphasis on “community,” I and many of my fellow chronic illness and pain sufferers are gearing up and going inside before colder weather and cold and flu season. Indeed, for some […]

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The Essence of Coping with Chronic Illness Is a Strong and Willing Spirit

posted by mpratt

Do not stifle the Spirit. 1 Thessalonians 5:19 I cannot count the times that this simple sentence has resonated in my head and heart.  As we all know, life with chronic pain and illness can be wearing, tearing down our […]

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What Season Are You In?

posted by mpratt

After nearly 15 years with lupus, I’ve come to realize that the journey with the disease moves along much like the seasons of the year. Spring, full of energy and promise and new things, is much like the early days […]

Chronic Illness: Sometimes It’s the Little Things…

posted by mpratt

Paper cuts, ear wax build up, a common cold, a brief bump against a table that bruises a leg. For many people, these things are inconveniences that pass quickly. Oh, but we who have chronic illness most probably know differently. […]

The Value of Being Put on Hold

posted by mpratt

If we took all of the minutes and hours that we’ve spent on hold, waiting to talk to someone on the telephone, waiting for test results, waiting for appointments in the doctor’s office…and we received even $.25 per minute, imagine […]

Ahead of the Holidays

posted by mpratt

Are you ready, yet? No, not for this weekend. Not for the rest of this month. Are you ready for the holidays? As I type this, my fatigue level is 100 on a scale of 1-10. And just as my […]

Inspiration for the Underdog

posted by mpratt

So often, when we’re battling symptoms or snags in our healthcare, or just having a bad day, we feel as if life is stacked up against us. Yes, we feel like the underdog, not favored to win or even, perhaps, […]

Chronic Illness: What Is Your Vocation?

posted by mpratt

)n this Labor Day weekend, as we relax and unwind, we might inevitably think about the work that we do and wonder what in the world it has to do with our overall, spiritual purpose in life. This might be […]

Rest for the Weary

posted by mpratt

I met up with a neighbor recently. I hardly ever see her because she’s always working. But on this day, she was dressed casually, carrying a department store shopping bag, and wearing a cautiously cheery smile. “Off today?’ I asked […]

Say What?

posted by mpratt

A kind mouth multiplies friends, and gracious lips prompt friendly greetings. Sirach 6:5 Some days, nothing seems to go right. More symptoms. More pain. Insurance snags. Money troubles. The roof leaks. The dog runs away.  No one answers your calls. […]

National Dog Day

posted by mpratt

August 26 has been named “National Dog Day,” and it’s a fine time to remember all the wonderful ways our furry friends enhance our lives, whether we have chronic pain and illness or not. I’ve known some remarkable dogs. There […]

Your Name In Illness and Pain

posted by mpratt

I’d just come from the dreaded fasting bloodwork and was standing in line at the local coffee shop. As people put in their orders and gave their names to the order taker, I marvelled at how exotic some of them […]

Are You Ever Sorry?

posted by mpratt

Chronic illness and pain are, well, pains to live with.  There are times when we’re angry, snappish, out of sorts. Sometimes, even if we’re at a happy celebration, our conditions can get in the way of feeling completely integrated into […]

Chronic Illness: A Special Home

posted by mpratt

With all the talk swirling around today about the housing and real estate market, I’ve been thinking a lot about what “home” means. For some, of course, it is considered an investment to be flipped at the swiftest and greatest […]

Supersizing Our Lives

posted by mpratt

On a walk recently, I passed by a recently-renovated neighorhood fast food restaurant. Emblazoned on the roof was a banner that invited all to try “our double drive-thru!” A “double drive-thru?” Hmm… Do we order in two parts? Order side-by-side […]

At the Whim of the Weather…Or Not

posted by mpratt

Periodically, I’ve delved into research about whether the weather affects people’s health. Some arthritis sufferers, for example, insist that their condition worsens as rain approaches, and some who suffer from depression often report that their mood is darker when the […]

See Jesus

posted by mpratt

In the Gospel of John, Chapter 6:16:21, we read about the storm on the sea. The disciples were out on the sea in a boat, and a terrible storm blew up. We read, “When they had rowed about three or […]

Is It Hard to Read the Signs?

posted by mpratt

One day, I noticed these signs on a street in a quiet residential neighborhood where, most days, little traffic flows. I couldnt’ resist taking a picture – such a complicated set of do’s and don’t’s when, I’d imagine, simplicity would […]

What Is Your ‘All?’

posted by mpratt

As we move into autumn and toward the holiday season, I’m already receiving solicitations for end-of-the-year donations. No doubt, more will be forthcoming, as well as requests for my participation in activities related various causes. Scripturally, we can find much […]

You Are Brave!

posted by mpratt

You might not have rushed into a burning building, or swam out to rescue someone drowning in choppy surf. But you have gone into the proverbial lion’s den – and you are brave! You live with chronic illness daily, pain […]

Can We Control Others’ Attitudes Toward Us?

posted by mpratt

When I was diagnosed with lupus, I lost many friends. Some simply did not undertand what chronic illness was all about, assumed I’d “get better” as soon as I was under a doctor’s care, and became impatient when the months stretched […]

Don’t Let Anyone Ruin Your Good Day!

posted by mpratt

We have all encountered the wet blanket. The person who seems to revel in stopping our good mood, or our good day, in its tracks. Perhaps the conversation goes something like this: “The sky is blue! Isn’t it lovely?” “See […]

Tempering Temper

posted by mpratt

When we’re angry, do we automatically feel we’re justified simply because we feel the anger? Or, could there be other reasons about which we might have some control? As summer heat matures, pressing down more harshly on certain parts of the […]

What Do You Let Go Of?

posted by mpratt

Chronic illness can lead to major changes in our lives, especially in our bodies. Weight gain or loss, skin tone alterations, hair loss or over-furry growth – these and other things can occur along the way and we have to […]

Illness on the Road Part Three

posted by mpratt

Home! Usually, at some point late in a vacation, your thoughts turn back to home. In some cases, you are having such a good time away that the thought of returning there is unpleasant. But often, we look forward to […]

What I Am Learning from Pope Francis

posted by mpratt

As I type this, I am watching the coverage from Rio, where Pope Francis is participating in the 28th World Youth Day. With amazing stamina and overt joy, the Holy Father seems to be throwing himself into all of his […]

Illness on the Road Part Two

posted by mpratt

You’ve arrived! You made it through the lines and long hours of travel, and now you’ve arrived at your vacation destination. How are you feeling? Exhausted? Good? Or, a combination of the two? Or, something else? When we take our […]

Illness on the Road Part One

posted by mpratt

Vacations can be relaxing, rejuvenating, exciting, and wonderful. But when you have a chronic illness, well, vacations can be something else entirely. As much as we wish it weren’t so, chronic illness doesn’t take a vacation. No matter how many […]

Too Soon? Too Late?

posted by mpratt

In the aftermath of life crises, loss, or a new diagnosis, people often tell us “take your time.” Indeed, we need time to digest what has happened and how it will affect our lives going forward. But we might also […]

“Have a great day!”

posted by mpratt

So, with three major life crises occurring within days of each other, and these having followed on the heels of a major lupus flare and significant medicine changes, I have a totally new perspective on that familiar throw-away line, “Have […]

Controlling the Uncontrollable

posted by mpratt

Ah! If only we could control our illness and pain! At least then we might be able to pick and choose the times and days when these awful challenges could stay in the background, corralled, quieted. But, unfortunately, much like […]

Living the Life of Job?

posted by mpratt

Perhaps one of the reasons so many of us with chronic illnes identify with the biblical tale of Job is that we have (or are) lived it (living it). Recent time has certainly been like that for me, not just […]

Chronic Illness: Letting Light Shine on Illness

posted by mpratt

When Moses parted the Red Sea and when Jesus walked the earth, people with illnesses were ostracized and thought to have something fundamentally, morally wrong with them. Consider the lepers, the blind, or those women who, for perhaps health-related reasons, […]

Chronic Illness and Pain: Go, Team!

posted by mpratt

We who live with chronic illness and pain are athletes in more ways than one. And rather than isolated athletes, running a solo race, we are actually part of a team that takes in ourselves, our loved ones, our doctors […]

Chronic Pain & Illness: Respect and Appreciation for the “Lowly”

posted by mpratt

Now more than ever, I realize how important it is to appreciate everyone who participates in our healthcare. Not only our doctors, but those who provide essential services that we sometimes overlook. In fact, it is the seemingly “least significant” of those people […]

Lupus: Coping Skills 4 and 5

posted by mpratt

How quickly May went by! Lupus Awareness Month is nearly over. Not so, unfortunately, the disease itself. No, it’ll be with us for quite some time, and thus my fourth and fifth “Lupus Coping Skills”: Adaptability and Creativity. These might […]

Live Long – Prepare Now

posted by mpratt

Over Memorial Day weekend, many of us catch up with family and friends. Invariably, we hear of (or meet up with) people who are in their supposedly “old” age, but who have enough energy and strength still to work, keep […]

Thank You to All Who Have Served and Who Serve Today

posted by mpratt

Your strength, courage, sacrifices, and determination shine through – and your service is deeply appreciated. Thank you to all who have served and who serve today – your willingness to face the bad days allows us to experience the good […]

Chronic Illness: Setting Boundaries or Building a Wall?

posted by mpratt

Fatigue is one of the most difficult things to cope with when living with chronic illness or pain. It can make even the most mundane activities seem impossible, and sometimes it can come on so suddenly that it stops you […]

Moore, Oklahoma, and Beyond

posted by mpratt

As many of us watched in real-time as the two-mile-wide behemoth of a tornado bore down on Moore, Oklahoma, yesterday, I was reminded of another night many years ago when I, a small child, my brother and parents hunkered down […]

Chronic Illness: What Do You Do with the Fatigue?

posted by mpratt

Premission to sleep! Chronic illness, whether lupus, fibromyalgia, MS, or another culprit, can bring on fatigue. Not just the “normal” kind brought on by a busy night or day, or strenuous exercise. No, our fatigue is usually called “unrestorative,” that […]

Lupus: Coping Skill # 3

posted by mpratt

The human spirit can endure a sick body, but who can bear it if the spirit is crushed?                  Proverbs 18:14, New Living Translation These few words from Proverbs say it all about the importance of a strong spirit when […]

Struggling to Have a Good Day?

posted by mpratt

Everybody’s happy! Everybody’s active! Everybody’s…NOT! When you don’t feel well, the struggle to make something, anything, good of a day can be exhausting and frustrating and, well, quite frankly, impossible. And yet, between those who say, “You have to have […]

Lupus: Relationships and Us

posted by mpratt

Last week, some friends of mine participated in a lupus event, and they invited me to come with them. I cannot tell you how wonderful it was to see their caring in action. Truly, the benefit of being enveloped by […]

Lupus: Coping Skill # 2

posted by mpratt

When I was diagnosed with lupus, I found it extremely helpful to immediately organize all the information, appointments, and other things pertaining to life with the diagnosis. That, then, was my “Coping Skill # 1.” Next, I set about finding […]

Chronic Illness and Pain: Are You Prepared?

posted by mpratt

I’m behind on my blog postings, again! Not because I didn’t want to put fingers to keyboard. Oh, no. Yesterday, the power in my neighborhood went out. Four times! My exercise consisted of walking around to reset my clocks – […]

Lupus: Getting Involved in Awareness Month

posted by mpratt

Before this Lupus Awareness Month gets too far underway, I wanted to highlight a few activities that will be taking place to educate, encourage, and raise funds for research. I realize that budgets can get stretched and energy sapped easily […]

Lupus Coping Skill: Number 1

posted by mpratt

When you are diagnosed with lupus, you have to absorb a lot of information in a brief period of time. Lupus is a very complex disease; even if your case is mild and you do not have to take any […]

Lupus: First Symptoms

posted by mpratt

The first significant symptom that I had that indicated something was seriously wrong was that my hair began coming out of my scalp in thick, cylindrical clumps, leaving behind smooth, round bald patches from which no further hair would grow. […]

Lupus: Why Is It Called “Lupus?”

posted by mpratt

One of the most confounding things for many people when they first hear the term lupus is, “Why is it called ‘lupus?’” The name doesn’t resonate with people today; it doesn’t seem to describe any kind of body part or […]

Lupus Awareness Month: For Starters

posted by mpratt

May is Lupus Awareness Month, and during this time, I’ll be blogging frequently about aspects of the disease, living with it, and coping with it. I realize my personal experience is unique; each person with lupus has his or her […]

Chronic Illness: Determined Adaptation

posted by mpratt

Never say “give up!” That’s one of my mottos for life with lupus. The flare that was stirred up after I had to go off one of my lupus meds has also made me extremely sun- and fluorescent light sensitive, […]

Chronic Illness: Riding Along

posted by mpratt

Several weeks ago, I learned that one of my lupus medications had begun to damage my retinas. I had to stop that medication immediately, but the hope was that I’d have some protection from it for up to a year, […]

Chronic Pain: Feeding the Soul

posted by mpratt

We all have our favorite comfort foods. For some, simple bread or a cup of herbal tea soothes. For others, a hearty, full-course, down home dinner does the trick. I keep chocolate handy, and also, of all things, relish (pardon […]

Chronic Illness: Find Your Spark Again!

posted by mpratt

Inside each of us, there is a light. But somedays, it seems as if that light has burnt out. When that happens in our homes or offices, we buy another and replace the old with the new. It’s not quite the […]

The Practical Patient: Medical Records and You

posted by mpratt

Throughout healthcare facilities large and small, offices are moving toward (or have already made it to) electronic records. This can be useful when it comes to coordinating care or having ready access to test results or emergency contact information. But, […]

Boston Then and Now: When Life Changes in an Instant

posted by mpratt

Everyone who ran, everyone who watched, indeed everyone who has heard of what happened in Boston on Monday will never forget. And those who were injured – emotionally or physically – will carry images, emotions, and perhaps physical reminders of […]

Chronic Illness: One Size (Often) Does Not Fit All

posted by mpratt

Have you ever had someone tell you you “must” do something for your illness, but your doctor has advised against it? Or, had someone say, “I know someone with [your illness], and he/she is really healthy.” [implying, “what’s wrong with […]

Chronic Illness: Taking Charge

posted by mpratt

The first book about chronic illness that I wrote, with rheumatologist David Hallegua, MD, was called “Taking Charge of Lupus: How to Manage the Disease and Make the Most of Your Life.” This was not the book’s original title; I’d […]

Chronic Illness: When the Future Is Unclear

posted by mpratt

When you’ve lived through the sharp flares and relative calms of chronic illness, you begin to understand that nothing is guaranteed. As I’ve experienced recently, sometimes the medications we take to keep some symptoms under control suddenly stop working or […]

Chronic Pain, Depression, and the Suicide of Pastor Rick Warren’s Son, Matthew

posted by mpratt

I am not an expert on depression. Lupus can cause it, or a lupus patient can certainly become depressed. But depression is not one of the conditions from which I have suffered throughout my life with serious illness. However, I […]

Chronic Illness: Finding “Peace in the Storm”

posted by mpratt

My book, “Peace in the Storm: Meditations on Chronic Pain & Illness” will celebrate 8 years in print this month! It’s been wonderful to see the book still find its audience: those who live with chronic pain and illness and […]

Chronic Pain: Easter Bunnies and Everyday Rabbits

posted by mpratt

I still enjoy the glow from a very good Easter. Good liturgies, good lessons, good weather, good fellowship, good food. Yup, it was all good. And it has truly put a smile in my heart, even two days removed from […]

Even with Pain, Even with Illness, Alleluia!

posted by mpratt

Holiday celebrations can sometimes be forced affairs. A date on a calendar is hardly reason of itself to raise spirits and feel emotions that the holiday evokes. Living with a serious illness or debilitating pain can certainly overshadow any “happy” […]

Chronic Pain: Good Friday and The Longest Walk

posted by mpratt

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Equ0RIiulOA There is a gospel song that resonates through my spirit on Good Friday. Simply named, “Calvary,” (I’ve linked one version of it that I found on YouTube, sung by Jami Jackson at the First Presbyterian Church of Brooklyn)  a traditional, […]

Chronic Illness: Our Bread and Wine

posted by mpratt

Sharing a meal with friends is a wonderful way to build fellowship, feel part of a social circle, and live wonderful occasions of love and care. For some, however, eating poses certain problems that might be mechanical (an esophagus that […]

Moments of “Holy” in Holy Week

posted by mpratt

Lent is almost over, and soon we will be raising our voices to celebrate Easter, the Resurrection of Our Lord, and a renewed sense of faith and optimism. In these last days of Lent 2013, I find myself doubling up […]

Palm Sunday for Us

posted by mpratt

In the Catholic Church, Palm Sunday is also Passion Sunday, and the gospel reading is about the Lord’s arrest, crucifixion and death on the cross. It is hard to hear about how Jesus suffered, and even harder to imagine someone […]

Chronic Pain and Downward Dog: Yoga in All of Us

posted by mpratt

So, I was rounding a corner to home after a morning of errands. My head was full of the rest of the day’s “to do” list. I was hurting, and the idea of a nap did flit through my head. But […]

Chronic Illness: Bathing Suit Season and Us

posted by mpratt

I saw it the other day. Had to blink and clear my eyes to make sure I’d seen correctly. Yup. It was there. Plain as these springtime-lengthened days. What was it? An advertisement for bathing suits. What is a lupus […]

Chronic Illness: We May Be Suffering, We May Be Down, But We Are Strong!

posted by mpratt

Throughout history, the suffering patient has had an uneasy role in society. In biblical times, lepers, the blind, the lame, and other ill or physically challenged people were often ostracized and thought to be or inhabited by evil. Moving toward […]

Chronic Pain: Bad Day, Bad Mood, Better Response

posted by mpratt

We’ve all done it – and probably felt even worse afterward. Done what? Taken out our frustration and anger about our pain on ourselves or someone else. The physical weight of the pain coupled with the ever-growing sense of being […]

Chronic Illness and Pain: What Does It Take for You to Bloom?

posted by mpratt

Today, the African violet leaves that I planted back in June of 2012 are bearing beautiful blooms! Not just ones and twos, but many of the plantlets have grown and are putting forth colorful flowers. The splashes of magenta, purple, […]

Chronic Illness: Worried?

posted by mpratt

I’m embarking on a new leg of my journey with lupus, after learning that one of the medications I’ve been taking for a long while is causing damage to my retinas. The next year will be, to say the least, […]

Chronic Illness: Seeking Answers

posted by mpratt

The process of getting a diagnosis for some illnesses can be fairly straightforward. But for some it can take years of testing and perseverance. Some lupus patients I know went 5+ years before their doctors determined the reason for their […]

Chronic Illness: When We Don’t Know What’s to Come

posted by mpratt

Yesterday was a tough doctor day for me. I had to have retests of my retinas for a problem that may or may not be related to one of the medications I take to treat lupus and keep it (moderately) […]

Chronic Pain: Why Isn’t Everyone Cured?

posted by mpratt

When I heard the news story today about the Mississippi child who was born with HIV and now, 2 1/2 years later, seems to be cured, I was very happy for researchers and others who have been working in the […]

Chronic Illness: How to Handle the Snowball

posted by mpratt

Whenever someone visits or lives in a place where snow has recently fallen, I ask them to “throw a snowball for me.” It was one of my favorite things to do, when I lived in blizzard-prone places, and I still […]

Heart Health: Great Things!

posted by mpratt

I am constantly amazed by the great strides researchers in all aspects of medicine are making to identify, diagnose and treat heart problems. From ethical research focused on using an adult’s own cardiac stem cells to regenerate heart tissue that […]

Chronic Illness: What Is ‘Successful’ Prayer?

posted by mpratt

We do live in a competitive, success-driven society!  I once heard someone say that she had prayed for a cure for her kidney-involved lupus and her prayer was successful; she believed she was cured completely, lupus-free, although her kidneys were […]

Lent 2013: The Grace in Pain

posted by mpratt

So far, this has been a more painful Lent than usual. Lung inflammation, joint pain – ah, lupus! The twinges, aches, and stabs sure make pain immediately present. And one of the things I’m trying to do when they occur […]

Chronic Illness: You Do Not Have to Do It All

posted by mpratt

Calling all multi-tasking, over-stressed, well-intentioned people with chronic illness! (and I mean myself, too): You do not have to do it all. Not even if the nicest person from church calls you to ask you a “favor” because he/she knows […]

Chronic Illness: Taking Our Time

posted by mpratt

In one of my first blogs, I shared a picture of an African violet that I grew from a single leaf. It had just bloomed for the first time, only a few months after the leaf cutting was taken. That […]

Chronic Illness: Not Impolite, Just Prudent

posted by mpratt

Sometimes, moving about in public resembles running a gauntlet of things unhealthful. Smokers. Angry drivers. Sick people sneezing and coughing freely. Dodging these perils can be nearly impossible – but imperative, if we with chronic illness want to keep our […]

Chronic Illness: Retiring the Blame Game

posted by mpratt

“I got this from my father’s side.” “She couldn’t have gotten it from my side of the family.” “I shouldn’t have smoked three packs a day. “If only I’d exercised more, this would have never happened.” The blame game abounds […]

Chronic Illness: Wearing Our Pain

posted by mpratt

Ash Wednesday always seems like a contradiction to me. On the one hand, as a Christian, joyful in the spirit, I appreciate and honor Our Lord’s words of wisdom: “When you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites. They […]

Chronic Illness: Steering the ‘Type A’ in All of Us

posted by mpratt

I’ve heard many lupus patients say, over the course of time in which I’ve spoken with patient groups, that many of us were and still are “Type A” personalities. The ones who did it all. The ones who would take […]

Chronic Illness: How Can We Ever Plan Ahead?!

posted by mpratt

Sound familiar? You plan to do something, having been planning for weeks. And then…Here it comes again. Wham! Fatigue like a brick squashing a tiny bug. And no matter how much encouragement others might try to give, all those plans are […]

Heart Health: Are We Obsessing Over Obesity?

posted by mpratt

During each of my conversations with experts on heart health, I hear a common refrain: The risk factors for heart disease are improper diet, lack of exercise, smoking, and obesity. This last factor has also been in the news frequently; according […]

Tips for Coping with a Loved One’s Long-Distance Health Crisis

posted by mpratt

The first day of February started off as a good day for me. Full of energy, lots of plans. A completely unexpected phone call in the midst of it changed that; my father was hospitalized with heart problems. The irony […]

Heart Health: Who, Us?!

posted by mpratt

I was diagnosed with cardio-vascular problems in my 30s. A friend of mine had her first heart attack in her 50s. Another person I know had one in his 40s. Truly, heart disease is not something only “old” people get. Even […]

Heart Health Month for Everyone!

posted by mpratt

Sometimes, a vibrant, powerful color provides just the right spark to lift our spirits and help us act with energy, determination, and eagerness. This month, red is that color, and it goes along perfectly with everything happening as February unfolds: […]

Permission to Sleep

posted by mpratt

Want to make your good day even better? Give yourself permission to sleep! Before my lupus diagnosis, I overslept my alarm, steeled myself from taking naps that I craved, and felt guilty because I was so very, very fatigued. When […]

Prejudice – To Those Who Are Annoyed or Put Off

posted by mpratt

As a companion blog to “Prejudice – How We Cope,” I thought this might respond to those on the other side of chronic pain and illness: “To those who may be annoyed, put off, or otherwise inconvenienced by people with chronic […]

Prejudice – and How We Cope

posted by mpratt

A recent news story about a waiter who refused to serve customers who made derogatory comments about a special needs child in a restaurant really hit home for me. How unusual – and refreshing – that an able-bodied person unrelated […]

Word Play: How Do You Say ‘Comfort?’

posted by mpratt

Cold weather and pain are seldom a pleasant combination. For me, even when the temps dip below 50, I struggle (I also have Raynaud’s, which causes me to react to the cold in a finger-numbing way). Just thinking about it…Brrr! […]

Resolutions: Week Three, Forgiving and Forgetting

posted by mpratt

Ooph! I’ve returned to my pre-holiday exercise routine…well, mostly…and the going is getting, well, it isn’t exactly what it was a couple of months ago. I expect for the next few weeks, I’ll be making up for those lose workouts […]

For Inspiration – Look to the ‘Geezers’ of Tennis!

posted by mpratt

Whenever I speak to a group of people who live with chronic illness and/or pain, I like to use the analogy of our patient-hood as an athletic pursuit. Yes, we are athletes! Besides being like the Apostle Paul, who “ran […]

When a Good Day Is Also a Bad Day

posted by mpratt

Yesterday, among the weekly supermarket circulars and coupons, there was a one-sheet announcement. A large nearby store, part of a chain that has been recently sold to another company, announced it was closing and would hold a “liquidation sale” beginning […]

As Flu Season Accelerates

posted by mpratt

This year’s flu season is already shaping up to be scary. It’s early, virulent, and rapidly overwhelming many U.S. hospitals and doctors’ offices. One of the things that makes this time of year very worrisome is the thought of adding […]

Birthday coming up? Don’t worry, be you!

posted by mpratt

Aging can be problematic for many people, but especially for those of us whose health conditions sometimes make us feel as if we’ve aged way beyond our years.  Nothing like arthritis in your 20s, or a heart attack in your […]

Cleaning Out the Medicine Cabinet? Think of the Environment!

posted by mpratt

  Our world is a precious, God-given gift.  Thinking (and being) green when we clean out fhe medicine cabinet is one of the ways that we who live with chronic pain and illness can participate in environmentally conscious activities.  How?  By disposing […]

Feel Like You’re Failing Because of Your Pain or Illness?

posted by mpratt

Today’s the “day after” my iron infusion and I’m at a very low ebb. Achy, headachy, slow…and wouldn’t you know that, when I got back from the long day yesterday, I had numerous emails and voicemails awaiting me. Things to […]

On Pain and Purposeful Laughter

posted by mpratt

 Don’t like pain? Don’t like needles? I’m right there with you. But today, I’ll be up close and personal with both. One of the illness I suffer from is iron deficient anemia, and periodically I have to get iron infusions. […]

Inspiration All Around

posted by mpratt

Beginning the first week of the new year with going to a friend’s funeral might not be one of the easiest ways to start 2013, but it brought to mind something tremendously important to me: For inspiration in life, we […]

Epiphany: See the Star!

posted by mpratt

Three wise men followed a singular star to Bethlehem to pay homage to Our Lord. On the surface, this seems simple and direct; the three had seen an extraordinary sight and needed to follow it. But in the sky over […]

A Bumpy Start Doesn’t Have to Mean a Bad New Year Is Ahead

posted by mpratt

This new year, like many before, stretches ahead with promise and, I’m sure, lots of good days ahead. But it has begun a bit on the bumpy side. Holiday travel stirred up more than the usual aches and pains, some […]

Prayer for a New Year

posted by mpratt

Heavenly Father, you are with us now, Walking alongside us as we move into a new year. We are eager for all of the uplifting and inspiring things in store, But fearful, too, about the difficult times that are part of life. […]

Up Ahead: A New Year!

posted by mpratt

The concept of a new year and how we approach it – with retrospectives, predictions, and resolutions – both puzzles and pleases me. It is good to take stock once in awhile, to assess where we’ve been, how much growth […]

After Christmas Time- Now I Feel It!

posted by mpratt

Busy days, these have been, and well spent. But, if you, too, live with a chronic illness, you’ll understand:  With the joy and cheer come extra fatigue and pain. I’m not complaining. Christmas is one of my favorite holy-days (Easter […]

Glory to God in the Highest!

posted by mpratt

Christmas Eve, Christmas Day! Glory to God in the Highest! We have come through Advent with a fuller understanding of what this holy season means and is, and we have deepened prayer and faith. We are here! And Christ is […]

Advent 2012: Is Your Family Broken?

posted by mpratt

Advent Day 22: Is your family broken? Often, we hear about people coming from broken homes, where parents decide to live apart and children may be shuttled from one to the other. But, today’s question isn’t about broken homes, it […]

Advent 2012: Does Your Timing Seem Off?

posted by mpratt

  Advent Day 21:  Does your timing seem off? One of the most difficult things about the holiday season is wanting to do it all, but not having enough time to do it in. This is particularly appropriate for those […]

Advent 2012: Are Your Plans Falling Apart?

posted by mpratt

Advent Day 20: Are your plans falling apart? Does this seem familiar?  Just as we’re getting down to the last weekend before Christmas, plans are unravelling. A flight is cancelled and you have to spend the night on the floor […]

Advent 2012: What Do You Really Want?

posted by mpratt

Advent Day 19: What do you really want? As the days move swiftly to Christmas, we might get caught up in the undeniably enticing world of gift-giving and gift-getting. Whether at a gift swap at church or between two family […]

Advent 2012: What’s Stirring Within?

posted by mpratt

  Advent Day 18:  What’s stirring within? You’ve been working so hard for almost three weeks. Preparations for Christmas. Perhaps, travel. Visits with family and friends. Work. School. Health. And Advent. Many of your activities have been external, and you’ve […]

Advent 2012: Afraid of Getting Sick for the Holidays?

posted by mpratt

  Advent Day 17:  Afraid of Getting Sick for the Holidays? I’ve heard that the flu season has arrived early this year, and with is comes the “stop-you-in-your-tracks” possibility of being ill during this festive season. If you do not have […]

Advent 2012: A Week Away, a World Away?

posted by mpratt

Advent Day 16: A week away, a world away? If Christmas Eve is only one week away, why does it seem like a world away? We’re in the thick of the Advent season, now. Perhaps it is increasingly difficult to […]

Advent 2012: Have You Noticed?

posted by mpratt

Advent Day 15: Have you noticed? Today in church, we hear the Psalm Isaiah 12:2-3, 4, 5-6. I’m particularly struck by the refrain: Cry out with joy and gladness: for among you is the great and Holy One of Israel. […]

Advent 2012: Shooting At a School in Connecticut: How Do We Respond?

posted by mpratt

Advent Day 14: Shooting at a school in Connecticut: How do we respond? The horror of Friday’s shooting in a Connecticut school will be fresh in our minds for days and months to come. My heart breaks for the families […]

Advent 2012: What Do You Love Most about These Days?

posted by mpratt

Advent Day 13: What do you love most about these days? The colors, smells, sounds, and sights of the Christmas season are varied and awesome. Each of us has at least one favorite thing, whether it is a treasured ornament, […]

Advent 2012: Feeling a Chill?

posted by mpratt

Advent Day 12:  Feeling a chill? The holiday season can bring out the best in people – and the worst. Whether on purpose or by accident, sometimes loved ones say the wrong thing at the wrong time, and a chill […]

Advent 2012: Have You Found Your Voice?

posted by mpratt

Advent Day 11:  Have you found your voice? John the Baptist cried out in the wilderness to “Prepare the way of the Lord.” Christmas songs spill one after the other from radios, televisions, and loudspeakers all around us. Have you […]

Advent 2012: What about You?

posted by mpratt

Advent Day 10: What about you? Rise early. Hurry up. Juggle.  Add one, two, three more things to your list. Retire late. Repeat tomorrow. And tomorrow. And tomorrow. Still two weeks away from Christmas, and you might already be feeling […]

Advent 2012: Are You in a Drought?

posted by mpratt

Advent Day 9: Are you in a drought? The readings for today’s mass in the Roman Catholic liturgy begin with a wonderful, action-packed reading from Isaiah, Isaiah 35:1-10. It says, in part: The desert and the parched land will exult; […]

Advent 2012: What Is Your Light?

posted by mpratt

Advent Day 8: What is your light? What a beautiful time of year this is! Decorations in bright reds and greens, silver and gold adorn homes and shops and schools and streets. And, the lights! Those beautiful lights! For Advent, […]

Advent 2012: Are You Afraid to Say “Yes”?

posted by mpratt

Advent Day 7: Are you afraid to say “Yes”? Receiving a diagnosis of an illness is never easy. In fact, it might be nearly impossible to understand. Each of us has our own way of dealing with it. For some, […]

Advent 2012: How Far Have We Come?

posted by mpratt

Advent Day 6: How far have we come? As we hurry about, preparing for Christmas, another important day is remembered: Pearl Harbor. Each year, fewer people remain with us who were here on that day and who recall when and […]

Advent 2012: Word Play: How Do You Say, “Merry?”

posted by mpratt

Advent: Day 5 Word Play: How do you say, “Merry?” “Merry Christmas!” “Merry Merry!” Meeerrrrrry Christmas!” We say it so often this month that we find ourselves saying it differently, whether just for variety or for emphasis. But, what does […]

Advent 2012: Do You Hear What I Hear?

posted by mpratt

Advent Day 4: Do you hear what I hear? Yes, there’s a Christmas song with those lyrics (one of my favorites, actually). And there’s also a potent and pertinent sentiment behind them. As we rush through these Advent days, do we take […]

Advent 2012: Are You on Hold?

posted by mpratt

ADVENT DAY 3:  Are you on hold? Waiting on the telephone is often one of the most aggravating things that can happen in a day, especially because nothing much happens! Oh, we might hear a loop with the same music […]

Advent 2012: Are We There, Yet?

posted by mpratt

ADVENT: Day 3 Are we there, yet? There is a child in each of us, and the Christmas Season brings it out like at no other time of year. As adults, we know the importance and benefit of delayed gratification […]

Advent 2012: What are we waiting for?

posted by mpratt

It’s Advent already?! Christmas is four weeks away!? There is precious little time these days to linger over lengthy blog posts. So much has to get done between now and December 25! And it’s not as if the rest of […]

Alzheimer’s Disease: You, an Advocate?

posted by mpratt

Before this year, I have to admit that being an advocate for Alzheimer’s disease was not on my list of things to do. I was aware of the disease, had written a few columns about it, and had known people […]

Alzheimer’s Disease: Holiday Gift Giving

posted by mpratt

What do you give someone who has Alzheimer’s disease? What can you possibly say or do that will express the love and gratitude you have for him or her, even if the disease is progressing and he or she is slipping […]

Are You Alone on Thanksgiving?

posted by mpratt

At Thanksgiving, many people will make great efforts to gather with loved ones, whether friends or family. The big dinner table groaning with food and surrounded by a crowd of adults and children has become almost essential when describing how […]

Traveling? Mercy! Faith Features on the Road

posted by mpratt

Oh, the joys of traveling at the holidays! The perfect scheduling, the ease of flying, the lack of crowds, the pain-free transit… Wait…what?! Well…not quite. Traveling at any time can be tough on even the healthiest person. But if you […]

Even with Alzheimer’s Disease, the Soul Still Sings

posted by mpratt

When Laura Young, Jewish Chaplain at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, presented her spiritual reflection on Alzheimer’s disease to the other Pastoral Care chaplains at Cedars, she did not know that I had requested an interview only a day […]

How to Find Words When Words Won’t Work?

posted by mpratt

How can you communicate with someone whose mind and personality have changed so much that you do not recognize them any longer? How do you find the words? Or, are words necessary? Pamela Lazor is a Chaplain at Cedars-Sinai Medical […]

For All Veterans on Veterans’ Day

posted by mpratt

I don’t think it’s by accident that the month of November, when we celebrate Thankgiving, also includes Veterans’ Day.  In fact, as we honor Veterans of our Armed Services, I think it is so very fitting to extend our deepest thanks for […]

Light a Candle for Alzheimer’s

posted by mpratt

Often, when I bring up the subject of spirituality, inspiration, or faith  with patient advocacy groups, the response I receive is lukewarm or even negative.  As important as these elements are to sucessfully coping with any physical challenge, some people […]

Alzheimer’s Disease and Caregivers: An Interview with Dr. Keith L. Black

posted by mpratt

In my journey to find out more about Alzheimer’s disease, I quickly realized that the most effective healthcare professionals were going to be those who combined scientific, quantifiable knowledge and skill with that all-important ingredient of  compassion. I feel blessed […]

Prayer for Election Day

posted by mpratt

Lord, whether limited to issues in a small town or of national concern, the votes cast today throughout the United States will make a difference for the future. Please bestow your peace upon all who will be voting today. Let your Spirit […]

Encouragement for Caregivers of People with Alzheimer’s disease

posted by mpratt

I waited, waited for the Lord; who bent down and heard my cry. Drew me out of the pit of destruction, out of the mud of the swamp, Set my feet upon rock, steadied my steps. And put a new […]

As We Begin National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month

posted by mpratt

Alzheimer’s disease has touched several people close to me, and as November is Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month, I would like to post several blogs about various aspects of this difficult health challenge. Already on the Beliefnet site are several pieces […]

Rainbow Rising

posted by mpratt

 God’s promise of unending love for us is so magnificently evident in the play of colors and graceful arc of the weather phenomenon that never ceases to make me pause, smile, and feel comforted. But, as those living in the […]

Really Bad Days

posted by mpratt

As Superstorm Sandy was battering the East Coast, I was going through some Really Bad Days, too. Nothing like losing myhome or seeing my community devastates, changed forever. But Really Bad Days nonetheless. And, I cried. It’s odd how, in […]

Weather or Not?

posted by mpratt

As this blog posts, the East coast of the United States may or may not be hit by “Frankenstorm,” an unprecedented melding of Hurricane Sandy and another weather system barrelling across part of the country. I’m far away from the […]

One Simple Sentence – One Great Act

posted by mpratt

One simple sentence in the Bible has been resonating within my head and heart lately, especially as I speak and correspond with people who are in some way facing scary health situations. Here’s the sentence: Do not stifle the Spirit.  […]

Something’s Blooming!

posted by mpratt

Earlier this year, as spring warmed into summer, I received a package of African violet leaves. No plants, or even seedlings. Just leaves, carefully labeled with the name of the variety. I placed each leaf in a little “seed starter” […]

Word Play: How Do You Say, “Pain?”

posted by mpratt

“Ouch!” “Eeeee!!!”  “Ow!”  “Oooh…” You may or may not find these words in your favorite dictionnary, but if you live with chronic pain, you’ll probably have used them or others to describe how a particular pang, ache, or jab feels. […]

Prayer: National Domestic Violence Awareness Month

posted by mpratt

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month.  This horrible scourge affects people at all levels of society and, although women are most often the victims of domestic violence, many children and men suffer, too.  Here is a prayer to accompany this […]

Job’s Friends

posted by mpratt

In my book, “Beyond Pain: Job, Jesus, and Joy,” much of the section on Job involves Job himself – his life, his suffering and, eventually, his finding immense joy. But integral to telling Job’s story is also the subject of […]

A Good Bad Hair Day – For All Those Sisters Living with Hair Loss

posted by mpratt

Bible passages about the beauty and symbolic strength of human hair abound – and became rather difficult for me to read around the time that I began to develop full-blown lupus. One of the first symptoms indicating something was seriously wrong […]

A Little Bit of Whimsey, a Whole Lot of Love

posted by mpratt

What makes you smile? Oh, not a toothy grin, and not a sad melancholy expression. And, not life’s laugh tracks, the times we’re supposed to laugh just because everyone else is (and usually because of embarrassment, not joy). Rather, what […]

Setting Ourselves Up to Succeed

posted by mpratt

How often have you wanted to accomplish something, yet pain or illness prevented you from reaching your goal? How did you feel about that? Not good? Discouraged? Frustrated? Hopeless? Success means something different to each of us, but to many […]

Feeling Very Alone?

posted by mpratt

  “I don’t need anyone to help me with my illness. I don’t need other people, and I don’t need God. I can do it all by  myself.” The woman speaking had come to one of my booksignings. She sat […]

When We’re Down, Sometimes It Helps to Look Up

posted by mpratt

Chronic pain can often have us looking down for days. Looking down at life, other people who don’t seem to understand, doctors, even our dearest friends. Pain can get us down, too, to someplace that seems heavy, burdensome, and without […]

A HEARTY “THANK YOU!” TO THE PERSON WHO INVENTED THE ELASTICIZED WAISTBAND!

posted by mpratt

    If you can perform everydays tasks without pain, you might not fully understand the deep emotion that accompanies the title of this blog post. To you, I say, please read on. And to those who “get it,” well, you are […]

WORDPLAY: HOW DO YOU SAY, “FATIGUE?”

posted by mpratt

When I was newly diagnosed with lupus, people would often ask me, “What symptoms do you have?’ When I’d say, “Well, I get fatigued,” they might reply, “Oh, but, you take naps, so you must feel better after that,” or, […]

OPENING THE DOOR TO TEMPTATION…WHEN YOU LEAST EXPECT IT

posted by mpratt

Lunch time. I walked into the kitchen and quickly assembled all the ingredients for a healthful meal – fresh mushrooms, zucchini, onions, a little olive oil, three egg whites (and, okay, one yolk), and seasonings of herbs garlic and pepper. […]

WHAT’S SO IMPORTANT ABOUT FAITH WHEN WE LIVE WITH ILLNESS AND PAIN?

posted by mpratt

As I’ve lived with serious illnesses for many years, people often ask me what helps keep me positive and determined to make the most of life. I always answer: Faith. Keeping faith foremost is not always the easiest thing to […]

Good Days, Bad Days – Our Days

posted by mpratt

Hello! I’m delighted to start off this Monday with my first Beliefnet Blog. Health, wellness, spirit and faith are all potent subjects, so there’ll be lots to talk about here. And, I hope to hear from you, too, as the […]

Previous Posts

Being Good to Your Heart
It's Heart Health month, and no time like the present to think about being good to your heart, inside and out. Of course, ...

posted 7:00:36pm Feb. 09, 2016 | read full post »

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 »

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