Thursday, April 22, 2010

Guest Blogger - Jamee from A New Kind of Normal!!

My name is Jamee and I am 28 years old.  I am a new mom, wife, and seminary student.   I have also been diagnosed with multiple chronic illnesses.  I was diagnosed with endometriosis in September 2003 after having my first of many surgeries.  From 2006 to 2008 I had three consecutive surgeries each occurring in May.  The last of which was a total hysterectomy with bilateral oopherectomy (basically stated – I’ve no longer got any of my lady parts which means no pregnancy for me).  In the mix of all of this I was diagnosed with fibromylgia, migraines, and a host of other issues that we haven’t quite yet been able to put a label on. 

I was super stoked when Andrea asked me to do a guest post so that I can share a little piece of my life with you!  While I would have never of asked to be faced with chronic illness (and I would be happy to be rid of it), I try to seek out how to live abundantly in spite of it.  These are just a few things that have helped me find joy even in the midst of pain:
·         Surround yourself with beautiful things.  Notice that I said beautiful (not necessarily expensive…though it would be nice to go out and splurge on designer bedding since we spend to spend so much extra time in bed).  Wherever you spend a lot of your time, take a few moments to make it beautiful.  Maybe that means putting up a picture of your loved ones.  Maybe putting some fresh flowers in a vase nearby.  Personally, I spend 8 hours a day at work and it can get rough.  So I created a custom bulletin board (black frame and hot pink fabric) that I have at my desk that holds family pictures and inspirational quotes to help keep me perked up during the day.  Maybe you need a wall of inspiration too!
·         Get organized (with help of course!).  Am I the only one who gets so freaked out and overwhelmed when things are not put in their place?  Maybe it’s just my perfectionism coming out :)  Let’s face it.  Often with chronic illness we don’t always get to clean as much as we like (unless you are one of the lucky ones out there that has a housekeeper) but it helps to have a place for everything.  And let’s be honest . . . fibro fog can get the best of us and we can forget where we put things such as keys (waving my hands frantically) but if we can create a system and a spot of things we can make our lives a little easier.  Maybe that means having a cute basket on the table as you come in the door where you can always put your keys (instead of frantically searching on your way out the door).  Or organizing your DVDs so when you are in a flare you can actually find the movie you want to watch as you attempt to relax on the couch.  These are just a couple examples.
·         Find an outlet.  Chronic illness is hard. Period.  And without an outlet things are bound to head south.  For me, I know that I would never be able to get through this experience without my faith.  My faith allows me to make sense of things and create a framework in which I can function day to day with chronic illness.  So my faith (and in turn my ministry) is a major outlet for me personally.  Also another outlet for me personally is blogging.  It allows me to both share my faith as well as my experiences with chronic illness.  In writing about it, I am forced to process it (okay, not exactly forced.  I could write empty words but I choose not to.  I think you know what I mean).  Maybe you are a blogger too (which I imagine many of you are since this is posted on a blog).  Maybe your outlet is art or music.  Maybe you write short stories.  Regardless of what it is, finding an outlet is so important.  I’m just going to step on my soapbox very briefly (I promise) to say that maybe you are at a point where it would be beneficial to see a professional counselor.  If so, please go.  You will benefit greatly.  I hate that our society paints such a negative picture sometimes of those who seek counseling.  I went to see a professional counselor while we were in the midst of infertility and my looming hysterectomy and I am so very, very glad that I did.  So please, if you feel like you would benefit, make that call.  Ok, I’m off my soapbox now.
·         Wear cute lounge clothes instead of grubby sweats.  Grubby sweats have their place (if worn sparingly) but in the midst of a flare, doesn’t it make you feel worse feeling all grubby?  Again, maybe it’s just me!  LOL.   Maybe it means cute flannel pants (I used to have a pair with pigs on them that I loved!).  Or cute socks (toe socks anyone?).  Maybe it’s trying your pony tail with a ribbon.  Anything to help you feel more beautiful and feminine is a plus in my book and I know gives me a boost when I’m feeling low.
·         Know your limitations.  This is definitely not my favorite.  It’s not fun and it is definitely where I struggle the most.  I like being in control and having my independence and doing what I choose.  But unfortunately that is not always the case.  There are days when I have to say “no.”  There are days when I have to ask for help.  Know when you need to ask for help too.  

I hope this has helped you in some way, shape, or form (at least pretend for me, ‘kay?).  Over at A New Kind of Normal, we will be having a month long series called “Making Time for Me in May” so please come over and join in!

I recommend you go, go, go!! Jamee's blog is filled with inspiration, interesting medical news, and motivation tips.  So good.  A great first guest blogger :).  Hopefully there will be more! xo, Annie


Dawn said...

These are excellant pieces of advise. I especially like making your space more beautiful. I spent quite a bit of time redecorating my master bath, since I spend so much time in there with IC and soaking worn out muscles related to my CFS/ME. I need to work on my bedroom - that would be nice. In the den, I have all of my DVDS arranged and a beautiful fish tank that my son maintains that I can see very well from my position on the couch.

Thanks again

Toni said...

This is such an inspiring post! I need to remember to surround myself with beautiful things. I'm headed over to A New Kind of Normal to look at Jamee's blog.

Thanks Annie and Jamee.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for a great post, and it's so nice to "meet" you!

I'm a firm believer in surrounding myself with beautiful things too, and it can be so simple. I also try to stimulate my other sense, by lighting candles and turning on my digital picture frame while I listen to music. I find during really bad flares, if I keep my other senses busy, it distracts a bit from the pain ;) If been meaning to write a post about this, but haven't

Take care,