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Good Days…Bad Days With Maureen Pratt

Good Days…Bad Days With Maureen Pratt

Food for Thought: Sifting through All That Info!

posted by mpratt

Maureen Pratt Author PicWhen you’re diagnosed with a chronic illness especially one that is very serious and affects many aspects of your life, you might feel overwhelmed by the amount and variety of information available to you. The moment you leave the doctor’s office, your head might start spinning with what he or she told you and the further questions you have. By the time you get home, confusion, muddy and murky, might set in, so you start making phone calls, looking at books, and, of course, consulting the Internet. There, oh, my! Far from clarity, you might find even deeper, unfathomable waters!

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Sifting through all the information available through these and other venues can be more than a full-time job. And if you are troubled, sad, or otherwise negatively impacted emotionally by the diagnosis (which is completely natural), along with your quest for understanding might be more than a dollop of frantic hope that somewhere, somehow, you’ll be able to get a quick cure and all will be well again.

“Back in the day,” salespeople traveled around the country selling elixers, potions and lotions and other alleged balms, most of which did not work and many of which did harm instead of good. Today, you might not have someone knocking at your door, but there are plenty of ill-advised avenues on the ‘Web and elsewhere. Some things never change!

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Beyond the hype and above all the noise of conflicting information, here are some things I’ve found helpful:

o  Your primary doctor is your primary source of treatment and information. He or she knows your health history best and is in the best position to guide you. Trust your doctor as your primary source for guidance and, certainly treatment or, if your medical condition is best treated by a specialist, work with that doctor, too, and facilitate communication between him or her and your primary doc.

o  Write down all of your questions and take them into your doctor. Schedule an “information” appointment, if need be, and bring a tape recorder or a friend so that you can revisit what your doc says. Ask your doctor what he or she thinks is the most credible source of additional information (a patient advocacy group, for example, or a book)

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o When you tell your physician about any medications you are taking, include everything, including any dietary supplements or over-the-counter medication. This is crucial to your doctor’s ability to effectively evaluate and treat your condition.

o  Understand that there is still much that medical science hasn’t figured out, and sometimes, your doctor might tell you he or she doesn’t know how long your symptoms will last or why they came up in the first place. Continue to touch base with your doctor about anything new that has developed in the realm of treatments and/or other considerations regarding your illness – for many diseases, research has only just begun!

o  Be honest about how you contribute to your overall health. If exercise, diet, weight management, and other considerations figure into effective treatment or maintenance living with your illness, you are the person who has to take responsibility for following the guidelines and instructions given to you by your doctor, physical therapist, or other medical professional.

Peace,

Maureen

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A Praying Spirit: From the General to the Specific

posted by mpratt
Photo courtesy of Gualberto107/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Photo courtesy of Gualberto107/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

If you are rushed, tired, angry, or in great pain when you pray, you might find that your prayers are more general than specific. For example, “Please, Lord, take away my pain,” or “Please help all those who are suffering.”

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It’s good to place all our petitions to God in prayer, but even more effective to move from the general to the specific – when we pray and when we meditate on the feelings and meanings behind those prayers.

If we accept our lives and our physical conditions as our burdens and crosses to bear, what pain do we want the Lord to take away? The emotional pain of physically hurting? The twinges in our hinges?

If we have true compassion for people, especially those less fortunate or more ill than we are, what kind of help do we want the Lord to impart? Greater strength of will and hope? Tangible relief from poverty, hunger, and violence?

Once we better define our prayers, we can gain more insight into our spirits and character, as well as communicate more clearly with Our Lord. Of course, He knows what’s in our hearts before we even speak. But it’s good for us to clarify ourselves anyway – to shape us more firmly into the kind of loving people we are meant to be!

Blessings,

Maureen

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A Day-full of Devotionals?

posted by mpratt
Image courtesy of Franky242/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Franky242/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

It’s been building up over the past few years, but this year, it seems to truly be turning into a swift and powerful waterfall – it’s the number of devotionals available to us, especially those to observe during Lent! And I, for one, am pruning before I even start!

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It’s not that I don’t appreciate all of the time and effort (and the very good things) that each individual 40-day observance has to offer. But, there are so many of them! And, if you tried to do even half of the ones that sound marvelous, well, there wouldn’t be any time for deeper personal reflection.

So, I’m paring down my choices to two, and holding onto my own prayer and meditation time very protectively. If a day is too full of doc appointments, symptoms (especially fatigue), and other busy-ness, then I’ll opt for just “me and God” time.

It’s okay to say “no” to a devotional “program” for Lent, especially if you have already committed to one or you know that you’ll be unlikely to do justice to it and your personal time with God (including getting the most out of church services and fellowship with friends). Maybe you can revisit the programs you don’t follow next year. Maybe God will lead you in another direction.

Yes, maybe, it will be through quiet time, listening to God’s soft, loving voice within, that you will find greater wisdom and direction for the days after Lent.

You’ll never know unless you give it a very good, earnest try!

Peace,

Maureen

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TLC Tuesday: Chronic Illness, Deprivation, and Lent

posted by mpratt

Maureen Pratt Author PicLent begins tomorrow, and today, many people will be indulging in overindulgence so that they can “tank up” before depriving themselves (mostly) of whatever they choose to give up for Lent.

(I realize that doesn’t fully describe “Fat Tuesday,” or, “Mardi Gras,” but I choose to be general about it.)

You see, I don’t really observe the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday as a 24-hour chocolate binge (or any other binge for that matter). I prefer to add something during Lent, rather than take something away, and if you have a chronic illness that precariously balances on the edge of a routine, with little disruption, then you probably understand why I do this.

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When you live with a chronic illness, you essentially live deprivation of many kinds. So, I prefer to try to do something more, something “more good,” during the 40 days of Lent and, hopefully, beyond. And, like every year, I will keep this to myself, not seeking public acknowledgement, but rather, being “anonymous” to anyone but God.

Perhaps you feel you have no joy. Try to cultivate it for Lent. Or, perhaps, you have a hard time being compassionate toward people who are less ill than you, but complain more loudly. Try to turn around your heart. Maybe you really abhor the body that has become yours over the course of your illness. Try to see it through God’s prism: one of love for his unique child, one worthy of respect and love.

Take today to muster determination for tomorrow and all through Lent – to add something positive instead of focusing on the negative!

Peace

Maureen

 

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