Good Days…Bad Days With Maureen Pratt

Good Days…Bad Days With Maureen Pratt

Lupus: Coping Skills 4 and 5

posted by mpratt
Image courtesy of porbital/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of porbital/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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 seem obvious. Of course, when you have an unpredictable, chronic illness, you have to learn to adapt and be creative about life. But, in reality, many of us lupies, myself included, struggle with losses that lupus brings. As these add up (loss of appearance, friends, employment, health, lifestyle things like going out in the sun…etc.), we often face a crossroads. We could go blythly onward as we had before, out into the sun, for example, but given the consequences, say, a worsened lupus flare, we might be in worse shape than before – and face even more tough decisions.

The other way includes accepting the losses and limitations, but instead of remaining with gaping holes moving forward, we find other, healthful pursuits, foods, habits, and friends, to fill the voids. Thus, adaptability and creativity.

I might not be able to go outdoors during the day as I used to.  But, I can do many things indoors – including exercise and spending time with friends.  New gadgets can make it easier to adapt joint pain and limited mobility to still-important activities such as cooking. Moving the time when I do some activities (such as blogging) to when my energy is at a good level helps me to feel I’ve accomplished something during the day, while still acknowledging that other times of the day might not be as energy-filled.

Even if you are the least artistic person on the planet, you have the capability to be creative, to devise activities and a way of looking at the world that takes into account what you are capable of doing, given illness, and what your dreams and goals are. Adapting to lupus, and finding creative solutions to the problems posed by the losses it brings can truly help forge a path to dreams fulfilled and life goals met.

Blessings for the day!

Maureen

 

Live Long – Prepare Now

posted by mpratt

Maureen Pratt Author PicOver 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 active, and engage in intriguing and inspiring conversations. I think of my 70-something friend who continues to work as an actress, my nearly 90 relative who still drives around town and mows his own lawn, and the 107-year old military veteran who still sits on his front porch each day to greet the world.

There have been studies of what makes for a “golden” retirement, and what might help promote productive longevity. Of course, not everything is applicable to each one of us, but from all the research, conversations, and observations, I’ve gleaned a few things:

1) Many of the top leading causes of death or poor health in later years can be attributed to the choices we make along the way. For example, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is directly attributable to smoking. Heart disease can have genetic components in some cases, but a poor diet, smoking, and/or lack of exercise can contribute to it significantly. Diabetes can cause very debilitating health issues, as can obesity. Want to minimize the risk? Don’t engage in risky behavior.

2) The most active people I know, who are older, have continued to either work or put their heart into volunteer pursuits or hobbies. They are very curious about the world around them, even if that world has narrowed over the years. And, they reach out to others as others reach out to them. They continue to “exercise the brain,” and they nurture their spirits as well as their physical well-being.

3) Those who seem happiest to me (again, of course, all of this is subjective), are not likely to say, “I’m too old to…” but rather, “I’ll find a way.” This is not only encouraging, but inspiring, and has spawned a host of gizmos and gadgets to help older people do just what it is they wish to do. No doubt there will be more in the years to come – just in time for the rest of us who are not yet quite in their age range.

4) Taking stock of one’s life as the years go by is important and natural. But dwelling on the past or fixating on “the end” can certainly take away from pleasure  and purpose now. Just as in # 2 above, engaging in today, with all that God gives, is a wonderful way to affirm that life is not over at any age – and that each life, no matter how long lived on earth, is precious, worth while, and worthy of respect.

To be sure, the body ages, and sometimes creaks and cracks and infirmity can be limiting. But by living grace-fully now, a better older age is more possible.

Blessings for the day,

Maureen

Thank You to All Who Have Served and Who Serve Today

posted by mpratt

American Flag by Michael ElliottYour 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 days!

Blessings to you,

Maureen

 

Image courtesy of MichaelElliott/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Chronic Illness: Setting Boundaries or Building a Wall?

posted by mpratt

Maureen Pratt Author PicFatigue 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 in mid-sentence.

To better manage life with ongoing fatigue, many of us try to set boundaries. Limiting the time spent on telephone calls, for example, or scheduling only one outside activity per day instead of over-booking and then feeling the ill-effects for days afterward.

But, sometimes and often subtly, the boundaries become thick, impenetrable walls, shutting out things that might bring us a better sense of wellness, productivity, or spiritual resilience.  One, brief phone call might become no calls at all. One dinner with friends might become dining each night alone.

Fear can be a powerful catalyst in building walls. Fear of rejection (because of illness). Fear of becoming more ill. Fear of forgetting how to be sociable.

Depression, too, can play a part in wall-building. That feeling of not wanting to do anything, go anywhere, talk to anyone can take over little by little until it becomes all-encompassing.

Balancing our lives and the fatigue that can crush us is never easy. And, sometimes, it is completely appropriate to hibernate. But sometimes, we have to look at our boundaries through more reflective glasses and ask, “Am I retreating out of fear?” “Should I speak with my doctor about the possibility of depression?” “Am I doing enough to take care of myself so that I can have ‘good days’ when I can be more social and more active?”

Good questions, all. And helpful to each of us, no matter how far along the “living with chronic illness and pain” journey we are.

Blessings for the day,

Maureen

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