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Good Days…Bad Days With Maureen Pratt

Good Days…Bad Days With Maureen Pratt

What Do You Let Go Of?

posted by mpratt

Maureen Pratt Author PicChronic 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 make adjustments.  And we might find that the things we used to wear, use, live with and perhaps even cherish before our illness no longer fit or suit us or our lives now.

What do we let go of from our “former lives?”  When do we make the break?

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Some people hang on to those pairs of skinny jeans with the hope that one day, they will fit again.

Others keep job-related gear stowed in the back of a closet, “just in case” illness reverses itself and they can, once again, get back to work.

Perhaps memberships to organizations, gyms, or other past activities come up for renewal and the temptation to keep them running because “maybe one day soon…” echoes over and over again.

Perhaps, too, certain friends or acquaintances, who were so vital to the “old” life, become problematic in the “new,” but letting go seems too difficult to face.

Early on in my new life with lupus, I hung onto business clothes and other things left over from “before.” Two things helped me move on:

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I realized that my diagnosis would require new clothes (sun protective shirts, for example), and didn’t have room for those along with the “old” pieces I had no use for. Ditto for my notebooks and other work-related tools.

Secondly, I realized that, although I could no longer use my professional possessions, but they were still perfectly usable. Someone else might be able to benefit from them, someone in need.

I gradually “deaccessioned” my work clothes and other things, making room for my new life. In the same way, I worked through other parts of “letting go,” understanding that, with illness comes change. Some of it is painful, but some is refreshing. And if it is done with a spirit of hope and help for someone else, all the better.

Blessings for the day,

Maureen

 

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Illness on the Road Part Three

posted by mpratt
Image courtesy of MaggieSmith/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of MaggieSmith/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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 getting back home…although we know that extra work awaits.

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First, there is unpacking, laundry, sorting through the mail and messages piled up during our absence.

Next comes reconnecting with work, friends, and daily routines.

And, perhaps, if you have a chronic illness, there’s an “aftermath” associated with illness.  Higher cholesterol due to those late-night snacks. New aches and pains due to the physical rigors of travel. A few extra pounds gained.

How do we retain all the good from vacation and get on with our “regular” lives?

Slowly. Laundry will get done. Mail will get sorted. No need to rush and undo the good feeling from vacation.

Gradually. Weight cannot be lost overnight. Pain from exertion might take days to fade. Go easy on yourself and take things one day, one step at a time.

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Calmly. If you left the frazzled feeling of pre-vacation behind as you were able to unwind while you were gone, hold that thought, keep that feeling. Pray for patience, peace, and calm to stay with you as your schedule picks up again.

Joyfully!  No doubt you have good memories that can bring smiles when, as you move through the rest of the year, illness flares or setbacks arise. These memories, and the warm feelings they bring, are gifts to you, yours to keep. Treasure them and rejoice that, even with the “bad,” God brings much good!

Blessings for the day,

Maureen

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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 activities, “small” and “large.” Visiting the poor, stopping to bless the sick, addressing the estimated one million plus who have come to celebrate World Youth Day, the Holy Father is in all ways present.

Who would guess, if they didn’t know, that Pope Francis only has one lung and is in his late 70s?!

Three things impress me about this remarkable man on this high-octane, exhausting trip, the first that he has taken to Latin America since he became pope.

First, Pope Francis exudes joy. Physically, he might have tremendous challenges. But spiritually, he is filled with deep joy and it shows. He smiles, laughs, pauses for a friendly word with those who approach him. What a lesson for us – joy of the spirit can impact our ability to enjoy those activities that are required of us, even if they are tiring (or tiresome).

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Second, Pope Francis reaches out. During this visit to Brazil, he has spoken about “going forth,” “going out,” and not remaining still. I think this resonates from the first point: If you are filled with joy, no matter your age or physical make-up, you cannot help but reach out to the world, to others. Even if you are bedridden, or home-bound, you can reach out in prayer and other ways, too.

Third, Pope Francis prays. Several times, at different points, he has bowed his head in prayer or called for others to pray for sweeping petitions or individuals touched by tragedy.  From this very profound example, I take away the lesson that, even if we do reach out, exude joy, and participate in worldy activites (or activities in the world), we cannot forget the importance and power of prayer. It is a support and a strength at all times, especially when we are “working in the vineyard.”

Encouraging and inspiring – this visit to Rio certainly reflects God’s love and vitality. And it reminds us that age and health challenges need not be barriers. When God calls us, we go!

Blessings for the day,

Maureen

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Illness on the Road Part Two

posted by mpratt
Image courtesy of healingdream/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of healingdream/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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, our experience is a bit different from that of our fellow travelers who might be more physically “able.” We need extra hours of rest, more attention to our diet and environment, and, sometimes, stretches of space and time when we can revive our drooping selves (much like a plant that’s placed in new soil).

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Yes, we know we need special attention…but how do we do that when we’re surrounded by others who want to “get up and go” from dawn to dusk? Or, who believe that a vacation means all good/high energy and nothing low-key or reminiscent of the problems supposedly left behind at home?

In my previous post on “Illness on the Road,” I suggested packing all of the relaxation and prayer tools possible, along with the tangible health-related things like medications, insurance cards, etc. We need these for our own purpose, and also to manage our relationships with others as we proceed on our vacation. We have to be strong advocates, even on vacation, and understand that what we do even on vacation will impact our health well beyond. Want a good vacation? Do what is good on vacation.

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Graceful advocacy, firm and gentle insistence on the rest and other things we need – these will enable vacation to be truly blessed for us, as well as others. And in allowing ourselves good things on vacation – good rest, good times, good fellowship, and good tending to our spirits and bodies – we’ll reap many benefits well into winter and on to the next vacation!

Blessings for the day – and the road!

Maureen

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