What I’ve Learned Living with Chronic Illness

Living with a Chronic Illness/ Chronic Pain changes life so completely. For me living with Psoriatic Arthritis and Fibromyalgia has forced me to slow down a great deal to readjust how I deal with the world. I’m most assuredly a Spoonie!

In some ways, it has also made me a better person.

More mindful. 

 

More compassionate.  

 

I have time now.   Like everyone else, I’ve always had to hustle through my life. Work, work, work, with little time for anything else. One thing we have living with these challenges and being disabled is time. I so enjoy spending time in my garden, with my family and friends. Giving back to my community. Doing all the things I didn’t have time for before.

 

 

I’ve learned Patience. Waiting for insurance approval, in Doctors offices, for medications, for lab work. So much of my life is spent waiting. I’ve not only learned Patience, I’ve greatly increased the amount of reading I do. Just sitting and waiting in offices is a wonderful place to read a book!

I’ve also learned to be more patient with myself. I probably won’t finish my daily to-do list and that’s perfectly fine. Every day is a new beginning.

 

Gratitude to truly appreciate all the little things as well as the big. Time with friends and family. A beautiful sunset. A new day. The sounds of my cats purring.  I realized how truly blessed I am.

 

Creativity true I still can’t draw. However, I truly enjoy writing, cooking, baking and gardening. Making my finances work is truly creative.

To Advocate for Myself  ~  I’ve always been really good at standing up for what I believe in. Not so much for myself. Doing the research and truly getting involved in each step of my own care is something I have learned to do since I’ve been living with Chronic Illness.

What have you learned? I’d love to hear from you and be able to add to this list.

I hope this helps. Hugs and Love

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dining on a Dime

We all have those times when money gets tight. Living with a Chronic Illness is expensive! And its never just one. Doing it while on disability is beyond challenging.

So I thought I’d share some of my family’s favorite money-saving meals.

Breakfast burritos ~  eggs, cheese, a little green chile and chorizo or sausage if it’s in the fridge. Cook the sausage or chorizo til crumbly and cooked through, add scrambled eggs to the pan and cook season as you like. Sprinkle cheese on tortilla and heat in microwave about 20 seconds. Wrap egg mixture and enjoy.

Simple Stroganoff ~ 1lb hamburger and Knorr Stroganoff Noodles. I get the noodles when they are on sale 10 for 10. If I have them I’ll add mushrooms and sour cream. Brown the meat drain the juices away and set aside. Saute mushrooms. Prepare noodles according to package directions. Add meat and mushrooms. Put a small dollop of sour cream and blend through to add creaminess.

Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup ~ I know basic but delicious! I get the Tomato Bisque on sale. Whole Wheat bread and Sargentos Swiss Cheese. There are almost always coupons for this brand and the taste is so wonderful!

Chicken Alfredo with Broccoli florets ~ leftover chicken, Knorr Alfredo Noodles, from the above sale, and broccoli.

Fried Chicken Salad ~ Chicken Nuggets, salad greens, tomato and avocado. Good quality chicken nuggets. this is also one of the meals I like to make when I’m flaring. Salad, however, you like it. Optional toppings mandarin oranges, cornbread croutons.

Taco Salad ~ 1 lb hamburger, taco seasoning, salad greens, tomato and avocado. Cook hamburger crumbling it as it cooks, drain away the fat and then add the taco seasoning. Make your salad, however, you prefer it. In my house, a basic salad must have avocado, then top with the taco meat. Optional toppings are tortilla chips, cheese, sour cream. Ranch and blue cheese dressings and of course hot sauce.

Chicken Fajita Soup ~ 1lb chicken, red, green and orange peppers, yellow onion, and fajita seasoning. Chicken broth and water. You can use rotisserie chicken if you like. I usually bake mine a day ahead. Shred chicken.  Chop peppers and onion and place in stockpot. I like to use butter to saute my veggies. Add garlic and onion powder. A little pepper. Once your veggies are almost done add the shredded chicken allow extra time for the chicken to heat and then add the fajita seasoning. I recommend mixing the seasoning and water in a cup ahead of time as you’ll get a better flavor.

Shrimp and Grits ~ I get my Shrimp at Trader Joe’s, you can a 1 lb bag for less than $10.   Shrimp, chili powder, garlic and onion powder, fresh ground pepper. Grits. I also like to add red pepper flakes. I like it spicy.

What are some of your preferred money saving recipes??

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Positive Approach

Living with Psoriatic Arthritis, Fibromyalgia, any Chronic Illness is challenging. Still, each day has the potential for great joy! When I moved to Ohio around 11 years ago my life changed so quickly and so completely it was unrecognizable.

This most recent move again brought to light how much my life has changed. I have to move slower. In trying to unpack and put my place together quickly I ended up on the couch or in bed for two weeks flaring like crazy.

Recently though I have started giving back again. I’m volunteering at a local church. I’m getting involved in my community. In small ways. When I come home after helping for a few hours I’m tired and achy but I’m happy and feel more satisfied. More myself.

For the first time in years, I have a garden apartment. So I’ve got my flowers in the soil as well as in pots. My windchimes hanging and slowly but surely it’s starting to look more and more like a home. My cats have found their new areas and are settling in as well.

I find I’m moving more  ~ doing yoga and tai chi slowly but surely and feeling so much better.

I haven’t made any big changes in my life. However the impact in how I feel, my attitude is tremendous. What do you find keeps your spirits up? Helps you feel you most like your authentic self?

 

Blue Moon Corona Cupcake

I saw these on Erica’s Sweet Toothhttp://www.ericassweettooth.com and thought what an awesome idea!! Summer fun, Cinco de Mayo, and a Father’s day must. Well, maybe a first Father’s Day or when the kids are older.

So with her gracious permission ~ I am sharing her recipe here.

For the beer cup cupcakes ~

3/4 cups unsalted butter at room temperature

1 3/4 cups sugar

21/2 cups flour

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

3 eggs at room temperature

1tsp vanilla

1/2 tsp orange or lime zest

1 cup Blue Moon or Corona plus more for brushing on tops

Preheat oven to 375 and line 24  muffin cups with cupcake liners.

In a medium bowl blend flour, baking powder and salt.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2-3 min.

Add eggs beating after each addition, then add the vanilla and zest.

Combine milk and beer, alternatively, add this mixture and the flour mixture to the butter/sugar with the mixer on low-speed, beginning and ending with the flour.

Fill the cupcake liners 2/3 full and bake for 18 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean.

When cupcakes are done. poke holes in s of cupcakes with toothpicks and brush some beer on each while still warm.

 

For citrus cream cheese Frosting ~

12 oz cream cheese cold

6Tbsp butter at room temperate

1 Tbsp freshly squeezed orange/lime juice

1tsp orange/lime zest

4 cups powdered sugar

Cream together the cream cheese and butter in an electric mixer until smooth and creamy about 2-3 minutes.

Add citrus juice and zest and gradually add the powdered sugar until well combined. Beat until smooth. About 2 minutes.

Load frosting in a piping bag fit with a large star tip and pipe cupcake tops once cooled.

Recipe yields 24 cupcakes

 

 

 

 

 

Movies to Watch on Father’s Day

The Other F Word ~ this is such an awesome movie! It’s members of prominent punk bands as fathers with their families.

Father of the Bride

Parenhood

Mrs Doubtfire

Three Men and a Baby

Father of the Bride 2

Beginners

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

Three Men and a Little Lady

the Sound of Music

Knocked Up

Juno

the Lion King

Mr Mom

Sleepless in Seattle

What movies do you enjoy watching on Father’s day?

 

 

 

 

Unpacking An Apt

I’m in my new apartment now and have been unpacking for the last two weeks. I still have a long way to have to go put it’s starting to look like a home.

I’m not good at packing or unpacking. Thank God for my new aide Mika! She constantly reminds me to take breaks. Tells me to stop when she leaves and to just relax.

I’m one of those psycho, crazy people who just keep pushing through til things are done.

And now I’m flaring.

So I’m adding to my unpacking advice now ~

Be sure to take breaks every two hours ~  Stop whatever you’re doing get a glass of water and just relax for 15 -20`minutes.

Snack along the way ~ Be sure to have healthy snacks  close at hand while you work. Carrots, celery, almonds with craisins, peanuts with craisins and raisins, popcorn with just a little sea salt.

This is especially helpful if you’re especially “brillant” like me and forget to eat. Not so great when your diabetic, like me.

Drink water ~ 8 glasses a day at least.

I know its hard to live in an apartment filled with boxes and not being able to find everything. I’m living it right now. It’s still better to listen to your body and go slower.

Having labeled your boxes before moving you know which ones you need to unpack first and which ones can wait. I’m not a big fan of paper plates but they are wonderful during moves.

I hopes this helps. What are your unpacking tips?? I’d love to hear from you.

My Pantry Must Haves for Flares

When flares strike, I’m doing good to make my own cereal. Heat soup. I go for those meals that are easiest and can get me back in my comfy bed or snuggled on the couch with a blanket and pillow the quickest. I seriously doubt I’m alone in this.

I decided to share my favorite my absolute must flare foods that I keep on hand just in case of flares.

In the Cupboard

Soup ~ I try to always have homemade in the refrigerator as it’s so much healthier and usually tastier.  Life happens. I also make sure I have a few cans of soup at all times.

Knorr Pasta Sides Noodles ~ I especially like the Alfredo noodles. I add lots of chopped spinach and tomatoes. Not to mention they often go on sale 10 for $10 and I can stock up.

Oatmeal ~ I always have the instant packs on hand for these times.

Polenta ~ the roll kind. I purchase this at Trader Joe’s. Talk about an easy meal. Slice it and fry. Add berries and it’s done. Delicious!

Kind Bars

From the Refrigerator

Yogurt

Cottage Cheese

Fresh veggies ~ I like to cute up a portion of my veggies for snacking. So I have pepper strips, broccoli, baby carrots and carrots ready to go when I want a snack or if my family drops in. This has proven to be a lifesaver when flares hit.

Berries ~  Alone or mixed with yogurt, in a salad. I love fresh berries.

 

Countertop

Fresh fruit 

 

From the freezer

I always make sure to have a few frozen meals on hand just in case as well.

Tyson Chicken Nuggets ~ I especially like this brand as it’s NonGMO. I use these in my Fried Chicken salad and when I’m having a bad flare day just in a bowl.

Tempura Shrimp ~ this is a family favorite I have shopped Trader Joe’s since I was in my early 20’s. My family loves this dish! When I’m flaring I pull out just one tray, 5 shrimp and bake.

Macaroni and Cheese ~  the one I like has Asparagus and is made with Brie all for less than $4

Siracha Shrimp Bowl

What foods do you keep in your pantry for flare days?? I’d love to hear from you.

Carnitas and Tamales ~ I buy these from my local Marqueta and then freeze a portion of each. I freeze the tamales in packs of two or three. This way they’re ready to go when I need them.

 

 

Things that Bring me Joy

Living with Psoriatic Arthritis and Fibromyalgia, or any combination of Chronic Illnesses, I believe we need to surround ourselves with people and things that bring us, Joy.

Life is beyond challenging with all the medications, flares, dietary changes to stay as healthy as possible. etc…

So here is a list of thing that bring me Joy

Having a nice apartment community to live in. I’ve lived in many different places over the years and having good neighbors really makes a  big difference.

Books I love reading. No matter how harsh my day is I can find peace and happiness in a good book.

Cats seriously is there any happier sound on Earth than a cat’s purr??

I can think of only one. Family  Not just the born you’re into but the one you create for yourself along the way.

Music I need my music.

Plants I have plants everywhere in my house and on my patio. Not only do they make me happy, they clean the air in my little corner of the world.

When I’m flaring and can’t do the things I have to or need to. I turn to DVD’s and Netflix. We all have those favorite movies or shows that no make us feel better.

Cooking.

Writing.

Baking.

I love to create! It brings me so much Joy! Whether its chopping and creating a new recipe, writing a story or making up a new cookie recipe for my nephew.

What brings you Joy??

 

 

A Word on Suicide

Suicide is such a huge issue in our society today.  The rate among people who are living with Chronic Pain is remarkably higher according to a study done by the American Journal of Preventative Medicine.

I decided to write about this as I have tried to commit suicide in the past. I’m so very thankful that I failed!

I suffer from severe depression and have battled with depression since my early teen years.

I was in high school when I first tried to kill myself.

I’ve been in counseling for a very long time and highly recommend it if you’re feeling depressed, anxious or having any suicidal inklings.

Life is CHANGE.

No matter how good or bad it passes quickly and suicide is too permanent an answer for a temporary problem. I have lost dear friends and my beloved Uncle to suicide.

Now I’m a Mom and though I still have those ideas  ~ I know that suicide isn’t an option for me. I have way too much to live for! I couldn’t do that to my son! Or to my Mom.

Living with a chronic illness, chronic pain makes life more challenging in a lot of ways. At the same time, I feel like I’ve learned to appreciate life so much more.

I don’t just glance up at the gorgeous rainy day as I rush to work. I actually get to open the sliding glass door and enjoy it.

I’ve always been a night owl and now I sit out and watch the stars.

True I’m no longer able to teach Montessori. I have found a new passion though ~ I write. Something I thought I could never do and I dearly love.

Still, there are measures that I’ve taken and that I highly recommend.

Always have a “Go” bag ready and easily available to the door ~ This one is a good idea for any time you need to go to the hospital for any reason. In the Go bag, I keep the following

a copy of my id and insurance cards

copy of my medication sheet this includes all Drs I’m seeing and allergies

copy of my living will

a change of clothes ~ I don’t know about you but I have had to call 911 when I’m in my pajamas before and been caught out without a change of clothes before.

cell phone charger and change purse just in case you need to use a payphone

Count your Blessing ~ I know I say this quite often but it seriously helps and as someone with severe depression and suicidal tendencies I can tell you it works. Write it down or just do it in your head. do you have a home? many do not. food on the table? many do not. Start simple and build, I promise it gets easier!

Go outside ~  check out those gorgeous stars, dig in the soil, visit a friend or relative, go to the beach, take a walk with a friend.

Pray

Watch a favorite movie or a season of your favorite TV show ~ pop some popcorn and make some quality time for you

Snuggle time with Pets~ No matter what is going on in my life, it can always be improved but some quality time spent snuggled and/or playing with my cats.

Reach out to someone ~ I can’t express how important this is. Call a friend, family member, Priest, Counselor

Calming/Soothing items to have on Hand ~

Warm fuzzy socks

a worry stone

chamomile tea and honey

a favorite scent of candle

lavender lotion

soft fuzzy eye mask

a good book

journal and pen

coloring book and pencils

2 -3 soothing CDs ~ I like jazz or classical when I get really wound. Nature Sounds.

 

If things are really bad call family the one you were born into or the one you made and stay with them for a few days. Call your counselor and get in ASAP. Most offices have someone on call at all times.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline  1 800 273 8255

 

What do you have to help you when your feeling down?? I’d love to hear from you. Hugs~ Shellie

 

Pantry Basics

Whether you’re getting your first apartment or just relocating ~ every move means restocking your pantry to some degree.  I like to keep a healthy, well-stocked pantry so that I can easily make meals and cut down on my weekly marketing expenses.

 

Refridgerator

Milk

Butter

Eggs

Sausage/Bacon

Salad dressing

Mayonaise, Mustard, Tabasco, Hot Sauce

Shredded Mexican, Cheddar and Swiss cheeses

Peppers, Carrots, Celery

Zucchini, Yellow Squash, Mushrooms

All Fruit Spread

Maple  and Boysenberry Syrup

 

Freezer

Chicken, Steak, Hamburger

Swordfish, Crab, Shrimp

2 bags frozen peas ~ for pain relief

Frozen Waffles

Chicken Nuggets ~ for when I’m flaring

 

Cupboard

Peanut butter

Pasta ~ whole wheat noodles, rice

Vegetable Stock

Crushed tomatoes

Chipotle Peppers in Adobo sauce

Fire roasted tomatoes with Green Chiles

Popcorn

Refried Beans

Flour, Sugar, Brown Sugar, Baking Soda and Powder

Oatmeal, Cereal

Dried Fruits and Nuts

Polenta

Grits

Cream of Potato soup

Cream of Mushroom soup

Barley

 

Seasonings

Garlic Powder

Onion Powder

Taco seasoning

Southern Gravy Mix

Red Chili flakes

Cayenne Pepper

Paprika

White Pepper

Cinnamon

Vanilla, Lemon and Almond Extracts

 

 

Oils & Vinegar

Extra Virgin Olive oil

Vegetable oil

Non-stick Cooking Spray

Tamari

Low sodium Soy Sauce

Balsamic Vinegar

Apple cider Vinegar

 

Countertop

Fresh Fruit

Onions, Garlic

Bread, Tortillas

Honey

What pantry basics are a must for you??