How to find accurate medical information on the Internet

Did you know that 93 million Americans (80 % of U.S. Internet users) have searched the Internet for medical information?  That's according to a study released by the Pew Internet and American Life Project in 2013.  I would be willing to bet that the figures are even higher now.  I'd also venture that close to 100% per cent of people with both chronic illness have prowled the web for articles related to their condition.

The Internet has brought a world library right to our fingertips. We can access it from anywhere, at any time This includes the wee hours of the morning, when our symptoms seems more ominous and a symptom checker reveals that our ache could be due to a stubbed toe -- or to cancer!)  Rightly used, the Internet can help us understand our recent diagnoses, provide nutrition and exercise info., give us tools for talking about our conditions with loved ones, help us have informed conversations with our physicians, and connect us with people who have similar medical …

Chronic Illness: Ten Resources for Healthy Eating

We all know that nutrition rich food promotes health, while junk food doesn't. Yet, for a person with chronic illness, a healthy diet can be hard to achieve.  Here are just five of many factors that can complicate healthy eating:

1) Fatigue and pain can interfere with shopping and cooking.
2)  Aging, illness, and medication can all affect a person's sense of taste.  Likewise, illness and medication can produce nausea.  A symptom of may autoimmune issues is mouth sores.  All of these things can  alter how a person eats.
3)  Many aging or chronically ill patients live on reduced budgets, making it difficult to pay for the best foods or for things like food delivery services.
4)  Our culture makes junk food easy to reach for, and it makes healthy eating seem more complicated than it should be.  People with illness are bombarded with well meaning advice about gluten, paleo, vegan, whole grain, blood type, intermittent fasting, power food, food combining, alkaline, autoimmune prot…

Can good ever come from a flare?

Six weeks of mostly cold and rainy days, plus some physically and emotionally demanding life events, have caused my arthritis and fibro symptoms to flare. (Among other things, three of my friends have died in a span of a few weeks, and a dear family member went through major surgery.)  In regard to the the "spoons of energy" analogy, I've used them up quickly.  I've also had to cope with more pain.

Good comes even through tough times. This flare has forced me to  re-accept some physical limitations, which required that I face down my own pride and fear. It's prompted me to come up with more strategies for managing my health.  It's also been a time for reflecting on grief, heaven, and the faith-filled, loving lives of my three friends.

Most of all, this time has inspired me to lean more heavily on God.  We can plan all we want.  We can pace ourselves as best as we can. We can get the right kind of exercise for our chronic health conditions, and we can eat the…

Silver threads and other musings...

A friend who has health challenges and I were talking yesterday. (Let's be honest: I was whining, and she was graciously listening.😭) We both encountered problems with illness and injury at much younger ages than we ever expected to. I remember lying on the couch during a summer of repeated high fevers and looking out the window, wondering why I -- in my early thirties, then -- was stuck inside while sixty year olds were jogging by. That seemed topsy turvy to me.   

Even now, some years later, it's easy to compare myself to the most active people my age and older. Most of my peers have some twinges that signal we aren't as young as we used to be. For the most part, however, these require only small adjustments in otherwise healthy lives. Not only that, but I can find images of silver-haired, beautiful athletes my age and much older in social media.  

My friend pointed out that at our age, we still have the expectation of being able-bodied. Generally, I am inspired by what p…

Practicing Radical Generosity as a Spoonie...part 2

Do you ever feel like it is all you can do to get through a day of pain or extreme fatigue, much less encourage someone else? I am in the middle of a flare of many symptoms -- including pain that worsens with movement -- so I this is where I'm living. My spoons are few today, and they 
will be used up in coping. I feel silly thinking that I have anything to share about living a radically generous life! Even mustering enough mental strength to think about someone else' needs seems daunting, for the pain is distracting. I have had to table most of the plans I had for today, even those that involved some pampering at a salon. Sigh.

There are times to "just be", and today seems to be one of those occasions for me. Even so, I am contemplating how I can more fully live a generous life despite limitations. Today, my ideas are on a tiny scale, for small things are what I can handle. Yet, I believe that the Lord can multiply even the tiniest of gifts that are rendered back wi…

Radical generosity and the spoonie life...Part 1

Radical generosity, not self protection, is the ethic of the Christian life.Matthew Perman
During Jesus' days on earth, others tried to draw lines around whom he could serve and when. "You're talking to a tax collector? To a sinful woman? To a Samaritan? To little children? You're so busy serving that you don't even have time to eat? You're healing on the Sabbath?  What's up with all that?"

While they were clucking their tongues about Jesus' radical generosity, Jesus was busy doing all of those generous things and more. He touched lepers in order to heal them. He went to parties. He taught crowds. He set aside his own mourning for John the Baptist in order to welcome a crowd.  He expressed the tough kind of loving by telling people what they needed to hear, even if that brought about conflict.

Jesus, of course, is both God and man, and in his humanity, he got tired, hungry, and thirsty, and he felt pain, as well. When the Samaritan woman came to …

Toward Healthy Self Care: Developing a Healthy Perspective

When it comes to coping well with illness or aging, perspective is everything.  How, then, do we develop a healthy focus?  I'm a work in progress when it comes to that, but I have learned a few things that do help.

1)  Admit your current reality.  Pretending to yourself that your challenges aren't real cause them to loom larger in the back of your mind.  Admit what's hard, but don't forget to be grateful for all of the good.
2) What if you don't know what your current reality is?  Are you dealing with an uncertain diagnosis, waiting for test results, wondering if a brand new development is your new normal?  Don't over-analyze things.  Don't fret, either. Pray, lean on God's wisdom, attend to what you do know, and train your mind to focus on things that inspire and bring peace.  Phil. 4:4-8
3) Vocalize your pain; mourn what losses you need to mourn. Read the Psalms for examples of how to pour out your heart. Refrain from bitterness, but embrace truthful,…