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Good Days…Bad Days With Maureen Pratt

Good Days…Bad Days With Maureen Pratt

Good Days...Bad Days With Maureen Pratt Archives

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 […]

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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 […]

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Chronic Pain and Illness: Priorities, Priorities

posted by mpratt

If you find it difficult to prioritize responsibilities and activities while juggling the effects of life with chronic pain and illness, you’re not alone. I do, too, and sometimes I feel akin to a circus act – wondering if I’ll […]

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Chronic Illness: Keeping Current

posted by mpratt

Seems like each day, one or more of my apps or computer programs has to be updated. And, sometimes, a single app or program updates more than once. Of course, most times, it’s important to keep these tools updated, but […]

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 […]

Chronic Illness, Dining Out, and Holy Thursday

posted by mpratt

For those who are healthy, dining out can be pure pleasure. You get to select from a wide array of foods, you don’t have to labor in the kitchen to prepare your meal, and you don’t have to clean up […]

Chronic Illness: Waiting?

posted by mpratt

The last time you went into a bad flare, did you wait to go to the doctor? Wait until someone said, “Gee, you really don’t look all that good.” or, worse, “I’m taking you to the doctor NOW! you’ve waited […]

Chronic Illness and Pain: Letting Your Guard Down

posted by mpratt

I’ve had to increase the dosage of the immunosuppressive drug I’m taking for my lupus and anti-retinal antibodies. This makes me even more susceptible to infections – at a time when the flu season is just kicking into high gear! […]

Food for Thought: Sifting through All That Info!

posted by mpratt

When 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 […]

Chronic Illness: A Disability Doesn’t Equal Immaturity

posted by mpratt

I was on a call the other day, trying to make sense of error messages spewed forth by my computer (I eventually learned that the hard drive had died…another story entirely!). The connection was really, really bad and the person […]

TLC Tuesday: Strengthen Your Weakness

posted by mpratt

We try to hide them, deny them, and, when we cannot ignore them, we try to get away from them as quickly as possible. They are our weaknesses, and many of us may find them so very embarrassing that these […]

Chronic Illness: How Can You Have Hope When They Say, ‘There’s Nothing More We Can Do’?

posted by mpratt

Toward the end of last year, I received an email from one of the patient advocacy groups I keep informed of. It said that a lupus drug had failed in trials and was being scrapped – but not to lose […]

TLC Tuesday: Picking up the Pieces

posted by mpratt

Pine needles are scattered down the hallway, a stray ornament has rolled under a living room table. The manger scene will remain on my piano through Epiphany and then it, too, will be stowed away until next/this Christmas. The time […]

Chronic Illness: Just a Moment of Peace

posted by mpratt

Wish you had just a moment of comfort in the midst of your tough day? Wish you had just a moment of peace? Life during this holiday season is packed with activity, and if you’re living with a chronic health […]

Food for Thought: The Theory of Everything, Part One

posted by mpratt

Movies can be tremendous entertainment, taking us out of our ordinary lives into an extraordinary world of storytelling. But sometimes, movies strike so close to home that they set off a cascade of thoughts, feelings, and questions. I recently say […]

Chronic Pain and Illness: Why the Front Office Matters

posted by mpratt

They are more than just bodies that stand or sit between you and your doctor. They know more than what your co-pay is or what the office hours are. But, oh, how often, do we forget that the front office […]

Chronic Illness: All Right to Ask

posted by mpratt

Yesterday, I had a doctor’s appointment. The nurse who took me into the examination room did not wash her hands before moving to start my eye exam. The nurse who took me into another examination room immediately after a couple […]

TLC Tuesday: What One Thing Could You Make Easier?

posted by mpratt

No doubt about it, as I’ve aged, things that were easy to do are getting harder to accomplish. Oh, I don’t mean “major” things like hearing I have yet another diagnosis. I mean less major, but no less important, things […]

When you think, “Can’t I have just one good day?”

posted by mpratt

If you are really down, and challenges are heaping themselves upon challenges, then you might find yourself thinking, “Can’t I have just one good day?” Yup, I’ve been there myself -and it’s okay to ask that question, borne of frustration […]

TLC Tuesday: Feeling De-feet?

posted by mpratt

Ah, the bliss of putting my feet up! Throughout the day, our feet take a beating. And if we have joint issues “higher up,” in the knees, for example, or the hips, those precious feet can truly begin to feel […]

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: Engage your senses

posted by mpratt

All too often, we race through our day and barely notice the wonderful things about the “basics.” How we move, how we talk, what we see, touch and taste. Today’s TLC Tuesday suggestion is to take a bit more time […]

When You Have to Relearn Basic Skills

posted by mpratt

Eating. Walking. Breathing. These and other “basic skills” are second nature to many of us. Or, perhaps, not. Sometimes, a chronic health condition requires us to relearn what we thought we already knew how to do. And it can be […]

TLC Tuesday: Find What You Love About Yourself

posted by mpratt

Our bodies change. Our spirits are challenged. Our “regular” lives become almost unrecognizable. When we think nothing more can happen health-wise to bring change, well, something does! When you have a serious chronic illness, there is much about ourselves that […]

Chronic Illness: Too Many Moving Parts? Here’s Help!

posted by mpratt

  This doc wants bloodwork and so does that doc, but the appointments aren’t on the same day, so you end up with 2 sticks instead of one. Then, the first doc needs more blood and another test, and a […]

Chronic Illness: When Everyone Has Their Own Ideas

posted by mpratt

Don’t you just know, one person’s rheumatoid arthritis is another’s “Oh, it’s just aches and pains?” Or, one person’s propensity to infection is another’s “Don’t worry, I only have a little cold, you can be around me.” Or, one person’s […]

Chronic Illness: Worship and Contagion

posted by mpratt

My immune system is, once again, in overdrive and making new and serious antibodies, among them to my retinas. I’ve had to begin a more aggressive form of treatment, and it will make me more susceptible to infection. As a […]

TLC Tuesday: Banish the Guilt!

posted by mpratt

You have to rest, you have to take care…but your stomach cringes and you find yourself close to criticizing yourself for being lazy…Please, dear friend, banish the guilt! Yes, at times, you might feel guilty that you are taking care […]

Refreshing Exercise

posted by mpratt

True confession: I was never fond of exercise. In fact, I used every excuse not to exercise way back in high school. Now, of course, I understand the benefits much better than I did then, and I also like exercising – […]

Chronic Illness: Embracing smooth sailing!

posted by mpratt

Like the calm before the storm, or the comfort before the next flare, the period of relatively “smooth sailing” can be a bit nerve-wracking. We know that “chronic” means ongoing, and have had flares rise up unexpectedly in the past. […]

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 […]

Chronic Pain: For the Birds!

posted by mpratt

Seagulls regularly land on my skylights and attempt to crack open shells. Invariably, they make a ruckus! But they also tend to lose their footing rather quicky and slide down, making a screeching noise reminiscent of fingers on chalkboard. Does […]

Chronic Pain: Are you a camel?

posted by mpratt

Some days, I just hurt. I hurt so badly that it’s difficult to tell where the pain is coming from, let alone what to do to make it better. Some days, there’s no easy way around or through it. We […]

Chronic Illness: A Full-time Job

posted by mpratt

I get a little tongue-tied sometimes when people ask me what I do. Not that writing isn’t the first thing that pops into my head. But, I have to think too, of the other job, the other full-time job: managing life with […]

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 […]

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: How do you describe it, exactly?

posted by mpratt

Time often flies by when you’re living, and when you have a chronic illness, time passes sometimes in odd ways. Slowly, in some measure, because living with pain is especially, well, painful, and the more pain you feel, the slower […]

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 […]

Chronic Illness: Faith and the Future

posted by mpratt

Fifty years ago, or perhaps even less, someone with a diagnosis of lupus could not expect a “normal”  lifespan. There was so little understanding of the disease, and few ways to treat the symptoms and flares, proctively or otherwise. Today […]

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 […]

To Be Encouraged, Encourage Someone Else

posted by mpratt

Time and again, I’ve seen the amazing transformation in someone who is deeply suffering (whether with pain, illness, or other pressures), when they receive a kind, uplifting, or unexpectedly positive remark from someone else. Part of this is, I think, […]

Happy Independence Day!

posted by mpratt

Happy Independence Day – and Independence Day Weekend! I hope you enjoy your celebration, however you manage to commemorate the day. This year, I have been reflecting on the concept of “independence” day, both for this country and for life […]

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 […]

Chronic illness: Nurturing Creativity

posted by mpratt

Whether it’s juggling the household budget so you can keep a roof over your head and maintain your medical needs, or it’s learning to live differently from “before illness,” and thrive, we who have chronic illness must often rely on […]

Chronic Illness and Pain: Pet Friendly

posted by mpratt

This weekend marks the 18th anniversary of…drum roll please…My fish tank! Although I really enjoy them, I’m allergic to dogs and cats (and horses and, well, just about anything else that moves about…), so fish are the obvious choice for […]

Chronic illness: Wading into unknown territory

posted by mpratt

It’s never just a “common cold,” is it? Well, for some people, it is. But for many of us lupies and people with other orphan or rare illnesses, the “always sometime new” often turns out to be something so very […]

Chronic illness and gardening: Learning to Grow

posted by mpratt

I’ve heard it said that, “as we grow, we learn.” Well, I’m finding out things a bit differently: “As I learn, I grow.” Lupus requires that I don’t spend a great deal of time outdoors, especially during the sunniest times […]

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? […]

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 […]

Stress buster: The stress within

posted by mpratt

So often, we talk about stress as something that comes to us from without. Traffic, work, a new diagnosis, disappointment over how a loved one reacts to our illness, or other factors happen outside of us and can stir up […]

Stress buster: Tips for those long waits in doctors’ offices

posted by mpratt

Oooh, they’re getting longer, not shorter, those waits in doctors’ offices. And, if you’ve exhausted all those rat-eared magazines and examined drab artwork long enough, you’re probably feeling impatient, patient. Edgy, perhaps. Or, even angry. But, wait! (as if you […]

Wisdom from Romans

posted by mpratt

Do not conform yourself to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect. —Romans 12:2 Sometimes, don’t you just feel […]

Chronic Illness: Developing a Fighting Spirit

posted by mpratt

Oh, my word, another diagnosis. Just when I thought I’d “collected the whole set” of lupus-related, autoimmune illnesses, I’ve been given another. And with it is another medication, monitoring by another specialist, and all the other things that go with […]

Illness: Is God Punishing You?

posted by mpratt

Early on in my journey with lupus, a Christian said to me, “You’re not cured because you’re not faithful enough.” When I challenged her on this, she said that she though God was punishing me for my “lack of belief!” […]

Lupus Awareness Day – Putting on the Purple

posted by mpratt

Lent is over. Advent is a long while away. But, today, I’m going to wear purposeful purple! May is Lupus Awareness Month, and today is Lupus Awareness Day, and the color is purple. Purple is a deep color, sometimes mysteriously […]

Fatigue and Friends

posted by mpratt

May is Lupus Awareness Month. For those of us with lupus, it might seem beside-the-point; it’s almost impossible to have lupus and not be aware of it each day, not only in May! I’m not going to go into “what […]

Why Centering Prayer Is So Important

posted by mpratt

If you’re like me, you find that your prayer list gets longer each day. World problems, individual petitions, personal prayers – we skip around this globe quite a lot when we sit down to have our quiet time with God. […]

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 […]

Easter Monday: What Next?

posted by mpratt

A hoarse voice from all that praiseful singing, a stray foil wrapper without the chocolate egg, hosiery with the beginning of a run, achy joints from wearing Sunday-best shoes a little too long… It’s Easter Monday, and we’ve celebrated the […]

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 […]

Peace in the Storm

posted by mpratt

Nine years has gone by in a flash! April 19, 2005, my book, “Peace in the Storm: Meditations on Chronic Pain & Illness,” first appeared in bookstores. I remember holding my first copy, looking at the cover, and wondering, “What […]

Done Something Foolish?

posted by mpratt

In honor of April Fool’s Day, some thoughts about those foolish moments – better known as “Ooops!” We’ve all had them. Those moments (or days, or months…) when we’ve known better, but still… We knew it would be better not to attend a social […]

Happiness from the Outside, In

posted by mpratt

“Happiness is a by-product. You cannot pursue it by itself.”  Samuel Levenson, American humorist (1911-80) My page-a-day Old Farmer’s Almanac calendar often has pithy quotes that stir my thinking. The one above, on Thursday’s page, struck me as tremendously appropriate […]

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 […]

Spring will come

posted by mpratt

A dear friend of mine who also suffers from severe lupus is not a believer. Nevertheless, we share a very profound sense of faith that’s summed up by saying, “Spring will come.” Of course, from my perspective, the phrase relates […]

Love Inside, Love Outside

posted by mpratt

Happy Valentine’s Day! Despite the challenges we face, and the pain we endure, this is an uplifting day…and one for reflecting on the active, reflective effect of love on our world. What do I mean by that? I think especially […]

The Daring Life We Lead

posted by mpratt

Driving home one afternoon, I stopped at a stop sign to wait for traffic to clear before proceeding. Across the street and to my left, a woman with a sight dog (seeing eye dog) waited, too. The dog stood by […]

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 […]

Oh, that most difficult of questions: How are you?

posted by mpratt

It’s become a part of our greeting ritual, but it’s also one of the most difficult questions we face. “How are you?” Usually, there’s a perfunctory, “Fine. How are you?” And the answer to that one? “Fine, thanks.” And the […]

How do you react?

posted by mpratt

People can be so cruel. Recently, I was driving home and saw a person in a car nearly hit a pedestrian who was “of a certain age,” and moving more slowly than the impatient driver wanted her to. True, the […]

Your Olympic season

posted by mpratt

If you read the title of this blog post and laughed, you’re not alone. Many people simply do not think of themselves as athletic, let alone Olympic caliber. But if you’ve lived awhile with the challenges of chronic illness and […]

That spark of something

posted by mpratt

Living with chronic illness often entails suffering tremendous losses. These blows to a fragile spirit can quickly lead to a dull, deep down feeling of hopelessness. You might ask, “Will my life ever mean anything, again?” or, “What’s the point […]

Advent of a New Year

posted by mpratt

The period between New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day is short, but we do spend a lot of time thinking and wondering about it. For many, there is relief at seeing the “old” year go, and for some, anxiety […]

Sit Back. Listen

posted by mpratt

It’s crunch time, now. No matter how physically impaired you might be, if you’re looking forward to Christmas, you undoubtedly see a lot of “musts” in your path between now and December 24/25. Errand. Doc appointments. Visits. Travel, perhaps. Present […]

Winter Wonder-land

posted by mpratt

Didn’t it begin earlier? Winter, I mean. Snow has already blanketed much of the Northern Hemisphere, and cold temps have thrown many areas into a deep freeze. Yet, calendar-wise, winter has only begun on December 21. Makes me wonder if […]

Happiness in a Box?

posted by mpratt

I’ve had more doctor appointments than usual, lately, because of the episode with my eye. So, I’ve tried to “lighten” things up by finding bits of humor. I recommend this for any heart that is heavy with the burdens of […]

Chronic Illness: Teetering on Your Pedestal?

posted by mpratt

During holiday season, we come in contact with many more people than we usually do. In the course of our conversations, we probably talk about the health challenges we’ve endured throughout the year-almost-past (or, at least some of them).  And, […]

Chronic Illness and Pain: Be Forkful!

posted by mpratt

Hold onto your waistlines! One of the most challenging parts of the holidays is eating, especially if you have a restricted diet to begin with. The temptations – “Just one cookie won’t hurt,” “You can always work it off afterward,” […]

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 […]

Prepping for the Holidays

posted by mpratt

Are you ready? Ready for the Holiday Season? Perhaps some of you are. But if you are more inclined to utter an “Oh, no!’ instead of an “Amen!”, I understand completely.  We’re never fully ready, are we? And if we […]

Seeking a Mentor

posted by mpratt

When I was first diagnosed with lupus, I asked my doctor if she thought that joining a support group would be a good idea for me. She hesitated, then said, “No. There will be people who are depressed, negative, and […]

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 […]

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 […]

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, […]

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. […]

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 […]

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 […]

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. […]

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, […]

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. […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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: 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. […]

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: 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 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 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: 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 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: 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 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: 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: 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: 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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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. […]

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 […]

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 […]

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posted 4:47:49pm May. 24, 2015 | read full post »

A Praying Spirit: Too Easy?
Is your prayer time over before you know it? Gone through the list and all finished? Sometimes, we get into a routine ...

posted 5:02:35pm May. 23, 2015 | read full post »

Chronic Pain: When It Seems As If You're Playing A Losing Game
Lately, my pain experience has been much like playing that arcade game where you hold a hammer and wait for a thing - sometimes an artificial mole, sometimes something else - to pop up from one of the many holes on the game playing board. When ...

posted 2:00:48am May. 21, 2015 | read full post »

TLC Tuesday: Accept No Substitutes!
"I'll go to the gym instead of taking a nap - I'll feel more energy afterward." "I'll get this report done before I call a friend; I'll have time later." "I take this easier class instead of the hard one; I'll get less credit, but I won't ...

posted 10:00:42pm May. 19, 2015 | read full post »

A Praying Spirit: One Word at a Time
When I was a youngster, I used to be really mad that people in church seemed to rush through the prayers. "They're going too fast," I used to tell my mother. "They should slow down." As I developed my own prayer life, I realized that there ...

posted 1:31:56am May. 16, 2015 | read full post »

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