Three Tips On Living Life More Optimistically

Having a chronic disease not only has a way of zapping your energy, but it can also deliver a mighty blow to your optimism as well — especially when you are first diagnosed and trying to sort out all the new information:

I have WHAT? I need to give myself a SHOT to feel better? I CAN’T play softball anymore? I need HELP opening the salsa jar now? I don’t have TIME to be slowed down by this disease! Bah!

Thomas Edison was an optimistic fellow and has some great tips that one can apply to managing their disease or to life in general. The folks over at Life Dev have the complete post, but I’ll offer up my favorite tip to get you started:

1) There is no such thing as a failure- there are only unexpected outcomes which will provide valuable guidance for future work

Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time. -Thomas Edison

Edison believed that most people gave up to soon and walked away from success, accepting failure. He viewed negative events as temporary setbacks on his inevitable path to success. To live like Edison, coach yourself to not take setbacks personally, and instead think of them as temporary glitches on your way to success.

When I am having a bad day, I think of that line from the movie Galaxy Quest: Never give up; never surrender!” That helps keep me on the right track, mentally.

On days when your body isn’t cooperating and you just feel like crawling back in bed, but you can’t because you have responsibilities to attend to … how do you stay positive? Leave your tips in the comments.

Read Life Dev’s full post on living optimistically here.

How To Explain To Friends And Family What It’s Like to Live With A Chronic Disease

Spoon with a SmileIf you live with an arthritis-related chronic disease, it is imperative that you know about The Spoon Theory.  Imperative, I say! It might just be the best tool out there for helping your loved ones understand your disease a little bit better.

Blogger, website founder, and Lupus & Fibro warrior Christine Donato came up with the most excellent description (on the fly, no less!) about how the lifestyle of someone with a chronic disease is different from a person who is healthy. Hence, the Spoon Theory was born!

Essentially, the theory explains that someone with a chronic disease has a limited amount of “spoons” to get them through each day, therefore he/she has to budget them wisely so that he/she does not run out before the day is over. For instance getting up, making breakfast, showering and getting dressed would require at least four spoons.

Excerpt from the Spoon Theory:

Its hard, the hardest thing I ever had to learn is to slow down, and not do everything. I fight this to this day. I hate feeling left out, having to choose to stay home, or to not get things done that I want to. I wanted her to feel that frustration. I wanted her to understand, that everything everyone else does comes so easy, but for me it is one hundred little jobs in one. I need to think about the weather, my temperature that day, and the whole day’s plans before I can attack any one given thing. When other people can simply do things, I have to attack it and make a plan like I am strategizing a war.

Christine’s theory is a great way explain to friends and family alike why you sometimes have to cancel plans, or why you need to rest in between activities, or why sometimes you don’t have the benefit of a “second wind.”

Have you come up with creative ways to give your loved ones insight into your disease? Share your story in the comments!

The Spoon Theory (PDF) [via ButYouDontLooksSick.com]

Best Giveaway At The JA Conference

Warm Whiskers SlippersA company called Warm Whiskers was giving away what looked like a cute little stuffed dog to all the kids in attendance. Upon closer inspection, I learned these furry friends actually doubled as heat wraps! Some of their animal-shaped products include, neck wraps, body wraps, body pillows, slippers, pocket critters, and eye pillows. What a great idea for relieving tension The little pup at the top of this page is my favorite!

Most of the critters can be heated or frozen, and are filled with buckwheat, flaxseed, and sometimes lavender.

Warm Whiskers

The Difference Between Curing And Healing

Dr. Rachel Naomi RemenA recent podcast of NPR’s Speaking of Faith struck a chord with me. It features an interview with physician and author, Dr. Rachel Naomi Remen, who has lived with Crohn’s disease since she was 15 years old. I found the discussion in the podcast to be immensely inspiring, plus it gave me hope. How refreshing it was to learn how Dr. Remen’s experience with battling Crohn’s has actually shaped her as a doctor.

She developed a course called “The Healer’s Art,” which is now taught at universities around the U.S. Students learn that healing and curing are two different types of relationships, while being reminded “of their power to make a difference through their human response and connection to their patients.” Continue reading

Arthritis Word Cloud

I stumbled across this fun li’l web tool (aka time-suck) the other day and tried it out by making a cloud with all the words that came to mind when I spent a few minutes thinking about how I manage my disease. Here’s my result.  I also used this tool to create a simple header for my blog until I get the snazzier one uploaded.

Create your own and post a link to it in the comments!

Wordle [via Lifehacker]

Perspectives On A Chronic Ailment

I found Siri Hustvedt’s philosophy on dealing with chronic migraines fascinating. After years of intense migraines and a period of time where she ruthlessly searched for a cure, she found that acceptance and the ability to “let go” were the keys to a more tolerable migraine.
Siri Hustvedt writes:

“I have come to think of migraines as a part of me, not as some force or plague that infects my body. Chronic headaches are my fate, and I have adopted a position of philosophical resignation. I am aware that such a view is resoundingly un-American. Our culture does not encourage anyone to accept adversity. On the contrary, we habitually declare war on the things that afflict us, whether it’s drugs, terrorism, or cancer.”

Continue reading