Advertisement

Good Days…Bad Days With Maureen Pratt

Good Days…Bad Days With Maureen Pratt

Heart Health Archives

Chronic Pain: Feeling the Heat?

posted by mpratt

Searing. Exhausting. Oppressive. These and other words are often used to describe the high heat of the summertime. And they’re also words that we use to describe pain, especially the kind of pain that is chronic and unrelenting. This summer […]

Advertisement

Chronic Illness: The Choices We Make

posted by mpratt

It might not seem as if we have many choices when our priority is to stave off flares, infections, and other consequences of living with a chronic illness. But there are some things over which we have control, and one […]

Advertisement

Chronic Illness: Health First

posted by mpratt

Complete your outdoor tasks, and arrange your work in the field; afterward you can establish your house. Proverbs 24: 27 Very few of us probably work in a field these days. But there’s a resonance for us in the verses […]

Advertisement

Chronic Illness: Recognizing Progress, However Small

posted by mpratt

I remember the day when, months after I was diagnosed with lupus, I could pick up a drinking glass without feeling pain in my fingers. It wasn’t a huge, “Oh, I’m cured!” moment. After all, I still had lots and […]

Chronic Illness and Pain: All Tied Up in Ribbons?

posted by mpratt

I noticed that the cashier at a store where I shop was wearing a red dress ribbon, for heart health. I commented on it, and she said, “Oh, yes, we had a promotion for cancer awhile ago. I like the […]

Chronic Illness: Compose Yourself!

posted by mpratt

Wait! Wait! I’ve got it…uh…it’s…I’ve got it…Oh, no I don’t! If you have an illness where there is a component of brain fog (as with lupus and many other autoimmune illnesses), you’ve probably had the experience of trying to remember […]

Chronic Illness: When You’re Just Not Pretty

posted by mpratt

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 […]

Food for Thought: Focusing the Lens

posted by mpratt

So many times, we go through the day without a clear focus. Not that we don’t understand what we should be doing, or the way to accomplish the tasks before us. Nor do I think that we speak in jibberish […]

Chronic Pain and Illness: How We Do It All

posted by mpratt

When I talk with people about what I do, their response is frequently, “How do you fit it all into a day?” My response, generally, is, “I don’t.” The concept of “a day” is very different for those of us […]

TLC Tuesday: Snowed In But Not Snowed Under

posted by mpratt

As I write this, a light breeze is tickling the fronds of the palm trees outside my window. The sun is shining – a bright spot after some gentle rain last night. It’s warm enough for a walk later today. […]

Food for Thought: Never Too Old

posted by mpratt

Over the Christmas holidays, I was blessed to see Angela Lansbury in the play, “Blythe Spirit.” It was amazing – Dame Lansbury, a celebrated British-American actress whose career spans decades and includes television, film, and the stage, is 89 years […]

A Praying Spirit: Where Does Your Prayer Go?

posted by mpratt

If you’re stuck when you pray, if you don’t think your prayers are being heard, you might be holding back, even if you think you’re pouring your heart out to God. How can that be? Sometimes, we desire something so […]

Food for Thought: Given a Precious Gift

posted by mpratt

I’m fascinated by how, after Jesus was crucified, died, and rose from the dead, those devoted to Jesus did not scatter like cowards, fearing they would be next to die on the cross. Rather, they gathered in an “upper room” […]

A Praying Spirit: Keep Light

posted by mpratt

After Christmas, we take down our tree and the lights that adorn it. We stow away our Advent wreath, and perhaps stow away partially-used candles. We remove decorations, including lights around our windows and doors. And we might find the […]

Chronic Illness: Too Tired Too Soon?

posted by mpratt

Wow, I am behind. Behind in decorating, doing, and all else having to do with the holidays.  Too soon this Season, I’m feeling that bone-deep fatigue that comes with lupus, anemia (just found out about that), and activity.  Steer me […]

TLC Tuesday: A Breath of Fresh Air

posted by mpratt

Today, give yourself a breath of fresh air. Not just a shallow, timid gasp. A full-fledged, rejuvenating intake of blessed and cleansing oxygen. When we’re busy or tense, stressed or preocuppied, we might ignore the simple ways that we can […]

Chronic Illness and Pain: The Gift of Planning Ahead

posted by mpratt

Next year’s birthday cards – done! This year’s holiday gifts – done! Yummy chicken soup prepared and in the freezer ahead of cold and flu season – done! I’ve often written about how hard it is to make firm commitments […]

Chronic Illness: Does Ebola Scare You?

posted by mpratt

It seemed so far away. Until now. As I type this, a second person in Dallas has been diagnosed with ebola, and more are being monitored.  People are talking about it on the news and elsewhere, and asking the question, […]

TLC Tuesday: Give Yourself 15 Minutes!

posted by mpratt

Lights! Camera! Action! Today, TLC Tuesday, give yourself 15 minutes – 15 minutes, that is, of time during which you report on and spotlight all of the things you’re doing right. Don’t let one, single, negative action or word creep […]

Chronic Pain: Lost and Found

posted by mpratt

Somewhere, amid the pain and the frustration we feel over lost health and today’s health trials, there are bright, uplifting memories we’ve lost track of, times when life was easier or days when we heard and enjoyed laughter, did good […]

TLC Tuesday: What if you missed Tuesday?

posted by mpratt

If you have a chronic illness or live with serious pain, you know that sometimes, you “miss” a day or two in the week. It’s too hard to get out of bed. You are going through medical tests, and the […]

Chronic illness: Forming our destinies

posted by mpratt

One of my favorite subjects was and still is history. I think we can learn a lot about our todays and our futures by learning from the past. For example – think about how hard life was in the 18th […]

Wear is your best?

posted by mpratt

“Why don’t you wear that lovely ewelry/that dress/those shoes more often? “Oh, it’s too good to wear everyday. I only save it for special occasions.” “So, when was the last time you wore it?” “Oh, it’s been so long, I can’t […]

Writing about chronic illness and pain

posted by mpratt

Frequently, people will tell me that they want to write a book about their experience with chronic illness and pain. When they ask me for advice, I give them a response that’s probably not what they’re expecting. Instead of talking […]

Giving when you think you don’t have anything to give

posted by mpratt

I understand the Scriptural basis for tithing and giving monetarily to church and charitable causes. I know, clearly, the story of the widow who gave her precious coin to the Temple. But the truth is that, today, living with a […]

Chronic Illness: Managing the Munchies

posted by mpratt

I really, really, really like chocolate. Chocolate and almonds. Or, just chocolate. And yet, I know how bad it can be if I over-indulge. Extra weight on lupus-arthritic joints can add pain on top of pain. So, I try to […]

Chronic Illness: Managing the Usual with the Unusual

posted by mpratt

I’m typing this with a sore arm and a couple of month’s journey – again – to determine “once and for all” the reason why I don’t hold onto iron. For years, I’ve dealt with iron levels that get lower […]

Let’s Hear It for Christmas in July!

posted by mpratt

I used to think that “Christmas in July” events were only commercial enterprises, destined to convince people to “shop now!” or “buy now!” But, this year, I’m embracing “Christmas in July” for what it truly can be – a reminder […]

Chronic illness: If you think you cannot believe

posted by mpratt

I’ve said many times that I cannot imagine facing my health challenges without faith. Many other people I know feel the same way; they rely on God throughout every trial, and every praiseful moment, too. But, what if you cannot […]

Chronic Illness: History Matters

posted by mpratt

During this week of celebrating our nation’s independence, we hear a lot about the importance of history.  Learning about the past is one of my favorite things; from an early age, I have enjoyed reading historical topics, learning about people […]

Sabotaging Your Health?

posted by mpratt

You’re upset over a new diagnosis, and you reach for the package of cookies. You know you shouldn’t eat them; your blood sugar’s been like a roller coaster lately. But it’s as if you’re on auto-pilot. Upset + availability of cookies […]

Under the eyes of a watchful, loving God

posted by mpratt

So often I hear one or more people living with illness or pain say, “Why did God let this happen?” As many of you probably already know, I tend to take an “illness is neither bad nor good, it just […]

Coping with chronic illlness: Sorting it all out

posted by mpratt

Living with chronic illness is hard, but sorting through all the symptoms to communicate with our doctors can be even tougher, sometimes. For example, perhaps you feel tired. Is it the same kind of tired as when your illness flares? […]

Chronic Pain: Many ways to say, “Hallelujah!”

posted by mpratt

Sometimes, praising God is tough. Physical pain can make it impossible to lift a limb, let alone raise hands to heaven. Emotions might be anything other than joy-filled. And spirits can sag, especially as life with chronic pain goes on […]

A Beautiful Flag Day to You!

posted by mpratt

I’m not much for awareness ribbons. There are so many of them, now, and of so many different colors, that I’m at sea as to which is which. I am, however, very appreciative of the flag, particularly the flag of […]

Stress buster: A thankful spirit

posted by mpratt

How often do you give thanks each day? I try to sprinkle liberal doses of thanks throughout mine. And, besides the obvious – that thanks is a prayer to God that I am grateful for even the smallest thing in my […]

Thank you, Mom!

posted by mpratt

We give flowers, gifts, meals. We make visits and phone calls. We hug them, help them, maybe even harmonize with them – remembering a lullaby or other song from our childhood. But, what can we say for all they’ve done […]

Prayer When You Hit a Dead End

posted by mpratt

Oh, Lord, I’ve been told that there is nothing that can be done, that I’ve run out of options, that I’ve hit a dead end. But I know that you, Lord, are endless, timeless, all-knowing and all-loving. I know, too, […]

A Moment with Meerkats

posted by mpratt

I’m forever marveling at the wonderful diversity of God’s creation, especially in the animal kingdom. Meerkats, in particular, are fascinating to me. They live very active, sometimes, frantic lives, taking care of life in their communities, dodging predators, searching for […]

Living with Heredity

posted by mpratt

Well, I’m nearly 15 years into my diagnosis of lupus, and “they” still don’t know what causes it, really. Sunlight can trigger it in some people, and certain medications can bring on drug-induced lupus. But beyond that, well, it’s pretty […]

When You Feel Like Going Back in Time

posted by mpratt

At some point during life with chronic illness, you feel like going back to the time “before.” Before your diagnosis. Before the disease or health condition took away so much of what you used to do and were. Maybe, at […]

The Miracle and Mystery of It All

posted by mpratt

It’s so easy to dwell on the pain, illness, and constraints that a chronic health condition imposes on us. So very easy, too, to think of what’s falling apart, what abilities are becoming (or have become) disabilities. But, here I […]

Is It Christian to Take Care of Yourself before Others?

posted by mpratt

We are fast approaching the most profoundly Christian time of the year, Holy Week and Easter, during which we will hear again about Jesus’ ultimate sacrifice, death on the cross, which redeemed us, washing away our sin and opening up […]

Can You Be a Peacemaker When You’re at War with Yourself?

posted by mpratt

  We all have heard the Beatitudes, and especially (no doubt) remember, “Blessed are the peacemakers…” In a world of trouble, violence, and anti-faith, this is a tall order!But there’s another thing that makes being a peacemaker in our world […]

Building up Strength

posted by mpratt

A friend about to undergo chemotherapy. An aging parent who is wobbly. You, terrified of the next doctor’s visit and what news you might get. Right now, there are many of us who are anticipating something that will require much […]

Lent’s Call

posted by mpratt

Happy the people who know you, Lord, who walk in the radiance of your face.     Psalm 89:16   Happy Lent to you! Happy?  Lent? You might ask. Yes, a very happy Lent. Because we can feel a bit […]

Reminder: No Two Snowflakes Are Alike!

posted by mpratt

This was one of the first things I heard when I was diagnosed with lupus. “Lupies are like snowflakes – no two are alike.” It’s turned out to be a truly wise statement, in myriad ways. And it’s good to […]

Be gentle – to yourself

posted by mpratt

A friend and I were going to get together, but she ended up in bed with the flu.  She was “really, really sorry” that our plans couldn’t work out. But, “Be gentle to yourself,” I told her. All else can […]

Having a bad day? Cue the music

posted by mpratt

What is the soundtrack of your life? What songs lift you up? Make you want to move? Make you laugh? Make you cry? What songs do you take with you when you’re going to the doctor’s office? Or, having surgery? […]

Caring and not caring about what others think

posted by mpratt

Illness can be very ugly. Yes, it can be that horrible blot on our lives, and certainly change our appearance in undesirable ways.  And one of the hardest things to handle it is when we’re out in public – or […]

Hearing and Listening

posted by mpratt

“He just didn’t listen to the doctor,” she said to the paramedic as he opened the ambulance door. “He went out there and shoveled that snow anyway.” “I heard the doctor,” he said, lifting his head from the stretcher. “But […]

The Heart to Go On

posted by mpratt

One of the things that helps me most to move forward is to look back, to see where I’ve been. Many times haven’t been easy, and many situations have not had clear answers or resolutions. But I “in the now” […]

Willing to teach

posted by mpratt

A couple of blog posts ago, I wrote about how those people who are ill, infirm, or otherwise in need of care are not burdens on society but rather, they teach others to care. They also allow others to act […]

Just for fun

posted by mpratt

Today is the perfect day to do something just for fun. Actually, every day is perfect, but why not start today? Just because you have a chronic illness or just because my knees buckle doesn’t mean we are unworthy of […]

We teach others to care

posted by mpratt

Every time I hear or read about the “burden” that the ill, frail, and disabled place upon society, I want to scream. The reference is usually made in terms of the financial cost, but it can also be couched as […]

Lazarus and us

posted by mpratt

What a powerful story of love and God’s power is the story of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead! And what a blessing that, in Scripture, we have more than just a paragraph of the account. In John, for example, […]

How can you set goals when they keep moving?

posted by mpratt

It’s slippery, skittish, and speedy – chronic illness can lie relatively quiet for a time and then pounce on you from seemingly nowhere. One day, one moment, you might be forging ahead on steps toward a goal: Tapering medication, finishing […]

Where Does It Hurt?

posted by mpratt

A couple of weeks ago, I gave a talk about “Spiritual Suffering” at a large medical center in Los Angeles. The topic came at the end of a difficult, yet grace-filled year – a great way for God to help […]

Alzheimer’s Foundation 2014 Candlelighting Event

posted by mpratt

The weekend of November 15-17, 2014, will again be the time when groups and individuals affected by Alzheimer’s disease may commemorate their and their loved ones’  journey through the Alzheimer’s Foundation National Candlelighting Event.   There will be events throughout […]

Feeling Like a Failure?

posted by mpratt

At some point in a life with chronic illness and pain, we feel as if we’ve failed. Failed at keeping healthier. Failed at following doctor’s orders. Failed at relationships. Failed at life. No matter how many reassurances we get from […]

How do you grow a good life?

posted by mpratt

So often, I hear people who have chronic illness say, “I want a life!” or “I don’t even have a life!” I understand what they mean. All of us experience that wrenching away from what we have enjoyed or found […]

All Saints…All Souls

posted by mpratt

This beginning of November combines many poignant things – celebrating the saints who have gone before us, many of whom lost their lives because of their faith, and commemorating the lives and passing of people closer to us, loved ones, […]

Who do you wish you were? And, why?

posted by mpratt

Even if you don’t celebrate Halloween, it’s hard to miss the identity changes that take place all around us (especially in Southern California). Adults become children, children become their favorite super-heroes. People open their doors to perfect strangers – and […]

Finding Fitness Feats that Fit

posted by mpratt

Ah, exercise! Love it or hate it, most of us have heard our doctors tell us that it’s vital to overall wellbeing, not to mention our particular illnesses and/or pain.  But for many, that’s not exactly total motivation; that is, […]

Run, Run and then Collapse?

posted by mpratt

Today is the “day after.” And I’m preparing this blog in advance because I know exactly how I’m going to feel: Exhausted! I was asked to give a talk at a major medical center, and eagerly accepted the invitation. God […]

Rooting for Team You!

posted by mpratt

This is a sports-centric time of year. College and professional football, the baseball World Series, end-of-season tennis tournaments and, soon, college and pro basketball. We could go hoarse cheering on our favorites! Of course, as with any socially-prominent trend, I […]

Our Time with God

posted by mpratt

If you knew that you were going to spend long days with a beloved friend, how would you want to pass the time? What sorts of things would you plan to do? Lots of outings, going to see the sights […]

Soft, but Strong

posted by mpratt

It was a day like any other – except I was having a terrible flare and could barely move. I had all of my meds, food, water, a book I could barely read because holding it hurt. But, what I […]

Brain fog and list-less?

posted by mpratt

Brain fog is one of the key maladies that can really frustrate, confound, and seriously crimp a day’s activities – it truly can feel as if the whole world around is shrouded in thick fog, making it hard to figure […]

Your Journey, Your Gift

posted by mpratt

Often, I hear people with serious chronic illness tell me that they feel so alone, so lost, and they don’t feel as if they have anything to give others. Illness has stripped them of their past careers, relationships, and even […]

How Do You Tell A Child that Mommy or Daddy Is Sick?

posted by mpratt

One of the most difficult things a parent will ever tell a child is that he or she, Mommy or Daddy, is sick. And not just “I have a cold” sick, but rather, “I am very sick.” Perhaps, at first, […]

When the Storms Don’t Come

posted by mpratt

I’ve heard that it is a particularly quiet hurricane season this year. There is a storm in the gulf (Tropical Storm Karen, I believe), that might cause substantial damage. But there has been nothing like last year’s catastrophe along the […]

On Harmony and Home

posted by mpratt

Chronic illness can truly affect dynamics at home. If a child is ill, other siblings might resent the attention that parents have to give to him or her. If a parent is ill, the other parent might have to do […]

Chronic Illness: Less Balance, Less Stress?

posted by mpratt

I wish I could remember where I heard it (lupus brain fog kicking in here), and if I ever do, I’ll be sure to give credit where it’s due…(and if you know where you heard, it please let me know!), […]

Chronic Pain: Own It, Then Put It in Perspective

posted by mpratt

Oh, how we wish we could just throw it away! Pains great and small, banish them to outer space and never take them back again. Yes, how we wish…but then, there’s how we feel and how we live. Pain still […]

Chronic Illness: The Next Generation

posted by mpratt

One of the most significant ways that our life with illness affects others is in providing guidance and influence over the next generation of patients, caregivers, and healthcare professionals. When I was first diagnosed with lupus, I didn’t consider this […]

Chronic Illness: When the Same Old Gets Old

posted by mpratt

Living and coping with a long-term illness often calls for establishing a routine. Meds have to be taken at certain times and with or without food or in certain combinations.  Symptoms need close monitoring. So much sleep. So much exercise. […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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: 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 […]

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: 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 […]

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: […]

Previous Posts

Thoughtful Gifts for Someone You Know with Chronic Illness
resisted the recent spate of "Christmas in July" store and on-line promotions, but there is no doubt that time is flying by ...

posted 1:19:09am Sep. 03, 2015 | read full post »

World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation
Pope Francis has announced today, September 1, as the "World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation," and by doing so ...

posted 1:10:39am Sep. 01, 2015 | read full post »

Chronic Illness: Stranger Intrusion - the Good and the Bad
During these very hot days of August, I decided to try something different to keep myself sun-protected, but a bit cooler than when I wear wigs under my broad-brimmed hats. I purchased a long and sheer scarf, folded it into a triangle, tied the ...

posted 8:38:11pm Aug. 31, 2015 | read full post »

Chronic Illness and Pain: Sisters, Please Read This!
f you have just been diagnosed with a serious chronic illness, or if you have been living with one for a long time, I just want to take time out to just say something, sister-to-sister:  Please do not be angry with yourself if you find that you ...

posted 8:32:25pm Aug. 27, 2015 | read full post »

Chronic Illness: Do You Wonder? And, Why It Matters
The clouds in the sky. A flash of lightning. A baby's giggle. A "common" cold. When you see or hear these things, do you disect them scientifically? Or, do you wonder? What are the things in your life that you try to analyze? What are ...

posted 7:23:11pm Aug. 25, 2015 | read full post »

Advertisement


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.