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Good Days…Bad Days With Maureen Pratt

Good Days…Bad Days With Maureen Pratt

For Our Health Archives

Tips for the Caroling Coward

posted by mpratt

Are you the one who hangs back in the crowd, hoping that no one can hear you croak as others carol? Do you pretend to not be able to find the right page in the hymnal as others are singing […]

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The greater the cheer, the greater the pain?

posted by mpratt

If you have felt great loss this year, or if your health challenges are weighing heavily upon your spirit and life, the “cheer” that accompanies this season can be particularly difficult to be around.  In fact, the great the cheer […]

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A Different Kind of Advent

posted by mpratt

Prepare the way! Advent is here – four weeks of waiting and watching and listening…and doing all manner of things to get ready for Christmas.  Because Advent comes every year, we’ve probably memorized all of the Scripture readings, song lyrics, […]

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Peace at home is peace at heart

posted by mpratt

Soft rain is pattering against the roof, punctuated by the occasional seagull screeching in flight.  The Christmas music is on. The tree is lit. It’s a fittingly quiet day after a very good Thanksgiving – and a blessedly peaceful one, […]

Chronic Illness and Pain: Camera Shy?

posted by mpratt

With apologies to the beloved Christmas tune, “It’s the most photographed time of the year!” From now until the New Year, millions, if not billions of pictures will be snapped. Hours and hours of video will be shot. And you, […]

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 […]

Caregivers of People with Alzheimer’s: Does It Matter What You Say?

posted by mpratt

I have heard from a few people with relatives in the last stages of Alzheimer’s, and some have asked, “Does it matter what you say?”  This seems to come up especially with regard to general conversation and prayer: With the […]

Prayer for Caregivers of People with Alzheimer’s Disease

posted by mpratt

Lord, I pray today for the people who care for men and women with Alzheimer’s disease. You know how hard their work is, how scant their resources, and how heavy their burdens. Perhaps tending to the needs of a stranger, […]

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 […]

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 […]

Alzheimer’s disease caregivers: What not to assume

posted by mpratt

As I  mentioned in a previous post, I am going to focus  this Alzheimer’s disease Awareness and Education Month on the role and work of the caregiver.  These amazing men and women (and some younger people) are in the trenches […]

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 […]

Updating worn-out shoes

posted by mpratt

One of my most comfortable pair of shoes is just about worn out. This particular pair has been my go-to-when-I’m-out-and-about shoe for several years, and it’s been greatly helpful in terms of cushioning my steps and keeping me from experiencing […]

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 […]

Science, Frogs, and Faith

posted by mpratt

I had such a good time on my interview on Relevant Radio’s “Morning Air with Sean Herriott” yesterday that I thought you might enjoy hearing the interview, too. What’s it about? Science, Frogs, and Faith! Click on the link and […]

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 […]

After Cancer, Then What?

posted by mpratt

Today, there is great hope for many people diagnosed with cancer. There are more survivors than ever before, thanks to early diagnostics and better and more effective treatments. We still have a long way to go, but ongoing commitments of […]

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. […]

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 […]

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 […]

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. […]

The Value of Being Put on Hold

posted by mpratt

If we took all of the minutes and hours that we’ve spent on hold, waiting to talk to someone on the telephone, waiting for test results, waiting for appointments in the doctor’s office…and we received even $.25 per minute, imagine […]

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 […]

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 […]

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. […]

National Dog Day

posted by mpratt

August 26 has been named “National Dog Day,” and it’s a fine time to remember all the wonderful ways our furry friends enhance our lives, whether we have chronic pain and illness or not. I’ve known some remarkable dogs. There […]

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 […]

Supersizing Our Lives

posted by mpratt

On a walk recently, I passed by a recently-renovated neighorhood fast food restaurant. Emblazoned on the roof was a banner that invited all to try “our double drive-thru!” A “double drive-thru?” Hmm… Do we order in two parts? Order side-by-side […]

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 […]

See Jesus

posted by mpratt

In the Gospel of John, Chapter 6:16:21, we read about the storm on the sea. The disciples were out on the sea in a boat, and a terrible storm blew up. We read, “When they had rowed about three or […]

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 […]

Can We Control Others’ Attitudes Toward Us?

posted by mpratt

When I was diagnosed with lupus, I lost many friends. Some simply did not undertand what chronic illness was all about, assumed I’d “get better” as soon as I was under a doctor’s care, and became impatient when the months stretched […]

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 […]

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 […]

Illness on the Road Part Two

posted by mpratt

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 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 […]

“Have a great day!”

posted by mpratt

So, with three major life crises occurring within days of each other, and these having followed on the heels of a major lupus flare and significant medicine changes, I have a totally new perspective on that familiar throw-away line, “Have […]

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 […]

Lupus: Coping Skills 4 and 5

posted by mpratt

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 […]

Live Long – Prepare Now

posted by mpratt

Over 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 […]

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 […]

Chronic Illness: What Do You Do with the Fatigue?

posted by mpratt

Premission to sleep! Chronic illness, whether lupus, fibromyalgia, MS, or another culprit, can bring on fatigue. Not just the “normal” kind brought on by a busy night or day, or strenuous exercise. No, our fatigue is usually called “unrestorative,” that […]

Lupus: Coping Skill # 3

posted by mpratt

The human spirit can endure a sick body, but who can bear it if the spirit is crushed?                  Proverbs 18:14, New Living Translation These few words from Proverbs say it all about the importance of a strong spirit when […]

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 […]

Lupus: Coping Skill # 2

posted by mpratt

When I was diagnosed with lupus, I found it extremely helpful to immediately organize all the information, appointments, and other things pertaining to life with the diagnosis. That, then, was my “Coping Skill # 1.” Next, I set about finding […]

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: Getting Involved in Awareness Month

posted by mpratt

Before this Lupus Awareness Month gets too far underway, I wanted to highlight a few activities that will be taking place to educate, encourage, and raise funds for research. I realize that budgets can get stretched and energy sapped easily […]

Lupus Coping Skill: Number 1

posted by mpratt

When you are diagnosed with lupus, you have to absorb a lot of information in a brief period of time. Lupus is a very complex disease; even if your case is mild and you do not have to take any […]

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. […]

Lupus: Why Is It Called “Lupus?”

posted by mpratt

One of the most confounding things for many people when they first hear the term lupus is, “Why is it called ‘lupus?’” The name doesn’t resonate with people today; it doesn’t seem to describe any kind of body part or […]

Lupus Awareness Month: For Starters

posted by mpratt

May is Lupus Awareness Month, and during this time, I’ll be blogging frequently about aspects of the disease, living with it, and coping with it. I realize my personal experience is unique; each person with lupus has his or her […]

Chronic Illness: Riding Along

posted by mpratt

Several weeks ago, I learned that one of my lupus medications had begun to damage my retinas. I had to stop that medication immediately, but the hope was that I’d have some protection from it for up to a year, […]

Chronic Pain: Feeding the Soul

posted by mpratt

We all have our favorite comfort foods. For some, simple bread or a cup of herbal tea soothes. For others, a hearty, full-course, down home dinner does the trick. I keep chocolate handy, and also, of all things, relish (pardon […]

The Practical Patient: Medical Records and You

posted by mpratt

Throughout healthcare facilities large and small, offices are moving toward (or have already made it to) electronic records. This can be useful when it comes to coordinating care or having ready access to test results or emergency contact information. But, […]

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 Pain, Depression, and the Suicide of Pastor Rick Warren’s Son, Matthew

posted by mpratt

I am not an expert on depression. Lupus can cause it, or a lupus patient can certainly become depressed. But depression is not one of the conditions from which I have suffered throughout my life with serious illness. However, I […]

Chronic Pain: Easter Bunnies and Everyday Rabbits

posted by mpratt

I still enjoy the glow from a very good Easter. Good liturgies, good lessons, good weather, good fellowship, good food. Yup, it was all good. And it has truly put a smile in my heart, even two days removed from […]

Chronic Pain: Good Friday and The Longest Walk

posted by mpratt

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Equ0RIiulOA There is a gospel song that resonates through my spirit on Good Friday. Simply named, “Calvary,” (I’ve linked one version of it that I found on YouTube, sung by Jami Jackson at the First Presbyterian Church of Brooklyn)  a traditional, […]

Chronic Illness: Our Bread and Wine

posted by mpratt

Sharing a meal with friends is a wonderful way to build fellowship, feel part of a social circle, and live wonderful occasions of love and care. For some, however, eating poses certain problems that might be mechanical (an esophagus that […]

Moments of “Holy” in Holy Week

posted by mpratt

Lent is almost over, and soon we will be raising our voices to celebrate Easter, the Resurrection of Our Lord, and a renewed sense of faith and optimism. In these last days of Lent 2013, I find myself doubling up […]

Palm Sunday for Us

posted by mpratt

In the Catholic Church, Palm Sunday is also Passion Sunday, and the gospel reading is about the Lord’s arrest, crucifixion and death on the cross. It is hard to hear about how Jesus suffered, and even harder to imagine someone […]

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: Bathing Suit Season and Us

posted by mpratt

I saw it the other day. Had to blink and clear my eyes to make sure I’d seen correctly. Yup. It was there. Plain as these springtime-lengthened days. What was it? An advertisement for bathing suits. What is a lupus […]

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 Pain: Bad Day, Bad Mood, Better Response

posted by mpratt

We’ve all done it – and probably felt even worse afterward. Done what? Taken out our frustration and anger about our pain on ourselves or someone else. The physical weight of the pain coupled with the ever-growing sense of being […]

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: Seeking Answers

posted by mpratt

The process of getting a diagnosis for some illnesses can be fairly straightforward. But for some it can take years of testing and perseverance. Some lupus patients I know went 5+ years before their doctors determined the reason for their […]

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: What Is ‘Successful’ Prayer?

posted by mpratt

We do live in a competitive, success-driven society!  I once heard someone say that she had prayed for a cure for her kidney-involved lupus and her prayer was successful; she believed she was cured completely, lupus-free, although her kidneys were […]

Lent 2013: The Grace in Pain

posted by mpratt

So far, this has been a more painful Lent than usual. Lung inflammation, joint pain – ah, lupus! The twinges, aches, and stabs sure make pain immediately present. And one of the things I’m trying to do when they occur […]

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: Taking Our Time

posted by mpratt

In one of my first blogs, I shared a picture of an African violet that I grew from a single leaf. It had just bloomed for the first time, only a few months after the leaf cutting was taken. That […]

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: Steering the ‘Type A’ in All of Us

posted by mpratt

I’ve heard many lupus patients say, over the course of time in which I’ve spoken with patient groups, that many of us were and still are “Type A” personalities. The ones who did it all. The ones who would take […]

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 […]

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: […]

Permission to Sleep

posted by mpratt

Want to make your good day even better? Give yourself permission to sleep! Before my lupus diagnosis, I overslept my alarm, steeled myself from taking naps that I craved, and felt guilty because I was so very, very fatigued. When […]

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 […]

Word Play: How Do You Say ‘Comfort?’

posted by mpratt

Cold weather and pain are seldom a pleasant combination. For me, even when the temps dip below 50, I struggle (I also have Raynaud’s, which causes me to react to the cold in a finger-numbing way). Just thinking about it…Brrr! […]

For Inspiration – Look to the ‘Geezers’ of Tennis!

posted by mpratt

Whenever I speak to a group of people who live with chronic illness and/or pain, I like to use the analogy of our patient-hood as an athletic pursuit. Yes, we are athletes! Besides being like the Apostle Paul, who “ran […]

As Flu Season Accelerates

posted by mpratt

This year’s flu season is already shaping up to be scary. It’s early, virulent, and rapidly overwhelming many U.S. hospitals and doctors’ offices. One of the things that makes this time of year very worrisome is the thought of adding […]

Cleaning Out the Medicine Cabinet? Think of the Environment!

posted by mpratt

  Our world is a precious, God-given gift.  Thinking (and being) green when we clean out fhe medicine cabinet is one of the ways that we who live with chronic pain and illness can participate in environmentally conscious activities.  How?  By disposing […]

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 […]

On Pain and Purposeful Laughter

posted by mpratt

 Don’t like pain? Don’t like needles? I’m right there with you. But today, I’ll be up close and personal with both. One of the illness I suffer from is iron deficient anemia, and periodically I have to get iron infusions. […]

Inspiration All Around

posted by mpratt

Beginning the first week of the new year with going to a friend’s funeral might not be one of the easiest ways to start 2013, but it brought to mind something tremendously important to me: For inspiration in life, we […]

Prayer for a New Year

posted by mpratt

Heavenly Father, you are with us now, Walking alongside us as we move into a new year. We are eager for all of the uplifting and inspiring things in store, But fearful, too, about the difficult times that are part of life. […]

Up Ahead: A New Year!

posted by mpratt

The concept of a new year and how we approach it – with retrospectives, predictions, and resolutions – both puzzles and pleases me. It is good to take stock once in awhile, to assess where we’ve been, how much growth […]

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 […]

Advent 2012: A Week Away, a World Away?

posted by mpratt

Advent Day 16: A week away, a world away? If Christmas Eve is only one week away, why does it seem like a world away? We’re in the thick of the Advent season, now. Perhaps it is increasingly difficult to […]

Advent 2012: Have You Noticed?

posted by mpratt

Advent Day 15: Have you noticed? Today in church, we hear the Psalm Isaiah 12:2-3, 4, 5-6. I’m particularly struck by the refrain: Cry out with joy and gladness: for among you is the great and Holy One of Israel. […]

Advent 2012: What about You?

posted by mpratt

Advent Day 10: What about you? Rise early. Hurry up. Juggle.  Add one, two, three more things to your list. Retire late. Repeat tomorrow. And tomorrow. And tomorrow. Still two weeks away from Christmas, and you might already be feeling […]

Advent 2012: What Is Your Light?

posted by mpratt

Advent Day 8: What is your light? What a beautiful time of year this is! Decorations in bright reds and greens, silver and gold adorn homes and shops and schools and streets. And, the lights! Those beautiful lights! For Advent, […]

Advent 2012: Word Play: How Do You Say, “Merry?”

posted by mpratt

Advent: Day 5 Word Play: How do you say, “Merry?” “Merry Christmas!” “Merry Merry!” Meeerrrrrry Christmas!” We say it so often this month that we find ourselves saying it differently, whether just for variety or for emphasis. But, what does […]

Advent 2012: Are You on Hold?

posted by mpratt

ADVENT DAY 3:  Are you on hold? Waiting on the telephone is often one of the most aggravating things that can happen in a day, especially because nothing much happens! Oh, we might hear a loop with the same music […]

Advent 2012: Are We There, Yet?

posted by mpratt

ADVENT: Day 3 Are we there, yet? There is a child in each of us, and the Christmas Season brings it out like at no other time of year. As adults, we know the importance and benefit of delayed gratification […]

Advent 2012: What are we waiting for?

posted by mpratt

It’s Advent already?! Christmas is four weeks away!? There is precious little time these days to linger over lengthy blog posts. So much has to get done between now and December 25! And it’s not as if the rest of […]

Alzheimer’s Disease: You, an Advocate?

posted by mpratt

Before this year, I have to admit that being an advocate for Alzheimer’s disease was not on my list of things to do. I was aware of the disease, had written a few columns about it, and had known people […]

Traveling? Mercy! Faith Features on the Road

posted by mpratt

Oh, the joys of traveling at the holidays! The perfect scheduling, the ease of flying, the lack of crowds, the pain-free transit… Wait…what?! Well…not quite. Traveling at any time can be tough on even the healthiest person. But if you […]

How to Find Words When Words Won’t Work?

posted by mpratt

How can you communicate with someone whose mind and personality have changed so much that you do not recognize them any longer? How do you find the words? Or, are words necessary? Pamela Lazor is a Chaplain at Cedars-Sinai Medical […]

Alzheimer’s Disease and Caregivers: An Interview with Dr. Keith L. Black

posted by mpratt

In my journey to find out more about Alzheimer’s disease, I quickly realized that the most effective healthcare professionals were going to be those who combined scientific, quantifiable knowledge and skill with that all-important ingredient of  compassion. I feel blessed […]

As We Begin National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month

posted by mpratt

Alzheimer’s disease has touched several people close to me, and as November is Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month, I would like to post several blogs about various aspects of this difficult health challenge. Already on the Beliefnet site are several pieces […]

Really Bad Days

posted by mpratt

As Superstorm Sandy was battering the East Coast, I was going through some Really Bad Days, too. Nothing like losing myhome or seeing my community devastates, changed forever. But Really Bad Days nonetheless. And, I cried. It’s odd how, in […]

Weather or Not?

posted by mpratt

As this blog posts, the East coast of the United States may or may not be hit by “Frankenstorm,” an unprecedented melding of Hurricane Sandy and another weather system barrelling across part of the country. I’m far away from the […]

Something’s Blooming!

posted by mpratt

Earlier this year, as spring warmed into summer, I received a package of African violet leaves. No plants, or even seedlings. Just leaves, carefully labeled with the name of the variety. I placed each leaf in a little “seed starter” […]

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. […]

WORDPLAY: HOW DO YOU SAY, “FATIGUE?”

posted by mpratt

When I was newly diagnosed with lupus, people would often ask me, “What symptoms do you have?’ When I’d say, “Well, I get fatigued,” they might reply, “Oh, but, you take naps, so you must feel better after that,” or, […]

OPENING THE DOOR TO TEMPTATION…WHEN YOU LEAST EXPECT IT

posted by mpratt

Lunch time. I walked into the kitchen and quickly assembled all the ingredients for a healthful meal – fresh mushrooms, zucchini, onions, a little olive oil, three egg whites (and, okay, one yolk), and seasonings of herbs garlic and pepper. […]

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 »

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