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Blue Sky Tag Challenge

The Blue Sky Tag Blog Challenge

Calibrating Crohn’s was nominated for The Blue Sky Tag Challenge!

I was nominated for this challenge by Crisly at Empowering and Uplifting. Thank you Crisly!  Here goes…

My Blue Sky Tag Challenge Questions:
  1. What fictional place would you like to go to? Pandora from Avatar  
  2. What takes up too much of your time?  Stress/worry.  This can be general or specific, but it definitely takes up way too much of my time.
  3. What is the luckiest thing that has happened to you?  Probably simply being born into the family I was born into.  I feel very lucky to have the parents and brother I do.
  4. What are you absolutely determined to do?  Raise my children to persevere.  We all fail at something at some point so I hope to raise my kids to persevere through those times.
  5. They say that everyone has a book in them. What would your book be about?  Ooh, this is a tough question!  I have many book ideas rolling around in my head (which is why blogging is much better for me) but if I were to write a book, I think I’d focus on a fictional take on growing up in Southeast Alaska.
  6. As the only human left on Earth, what would you do? I would probably spend my time looking for other people (assuming I wouldn’t know I was the only human left on Earth).  I don’t think I would do well with no other human being to talk to.
  7. If you could convince everyone in the world to do one thing at one point in time, what would that thing be? To stop fighting, take time to understand where other groups of people are coming from (or try) and work to live harmoniously with all groups of people, especially people who are seemingly different from ourselves.
  8. What irrational fear do you have? Spiders.
  9. What’s the best and worst piece of advice you’ve ever received? Best: “This, too, shall pass” and worst: “You should lose weight”.
  10. When do you feel truly alive? Swimming in the ocean.  Which I do not get to do often enough!
  11. If you could make a 20 second phone call to yourself at any point in your life, past, present or future, when would you call and what would you say?  I would call myself at age 11 and tell myself not to compare myself with other girls, the only person I need to compare myself to is who I was yesterday.  Which probably wouldn’t have made sense to me back then, but hopefully the first part would sink in earlier than it did.
Blue Sky Tag Challenge Rules:
  1. Thank the person who nominated you
  2. Answer their 11 questions
  3. Nominate (tag) 11 people
  4. Give them 11 questions to answer
My Blue Sky Tag Challenge nominees:
  1. Serenity
  2. The Financialholic
  3. Emelie Empire
  4. Fit Momma
  5. The Bumless Blogger
  6. My So Called Crunchy Life
  7. Women Inspiring Together
  8. Crushing Life With Crohn’s
  9. I Must Brie Crazy
  10. The Latte Mom
  11. Nature Is My Home
My Blue Sky Tag Challenge questions for you:
  1. If your job gave you a surprise three day paid break to rest and recuperate, what would you do with those three days?
  2. Where do you get your news?
  3. What movie can you watch over and over without ever getting tired of?
  4. What’s the most epic way you’ve seen someone quit or be fired?
  5. What’s your cure for hiccups?
  6. In your opinion, what is something that will always be in fashion, no matter how much time passes?
  7. In the past, people were buried with the items they would need in the afterlife, what would you want buried with you so you could use it in the afterlife?
  8. Who do you go out of your way to be nice to and why?
  9. What food have you never eaten but would really like to try?
  10. What was the last photo you took? (And post it).
  11. If someone narrated your life, who would you want to be the narrator?

To those who have been nominated, I look forward to reading your answers and see who you nominate!  Enjoy! -Colleen

Easy Peasy Blueberry Gummies for Gut Health

Gummies for Gut Health?  Yes!

These homemade gummies are made using Vital Proteins Gelatin from grass fed, pasture raised beef.  There is no flavor to the gelatin, so you will not be able to tell it is gelatin from beef.  Gelatin contains collagen, which is beneficial to our bodies in many ways, including for our joints, bones, hair, nails, and gut.

These are definitely not your kids’ gummies.  Though, your kids would certainly benefit from these gummies as well!  My kids don’t love the flavor of this particular recipe, but it would be easy to add a little honey, to make this more kid-friendly, if you are looking to share with your kiddos.

Easy Peasy Gut Healthy Blueberry Gummies

You Will Need:
Ingredients used

 

  • 1 cup fresh organic blueberries
  • 2 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. apple cider vinegar (preferably organic)
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 T. Vital Proteins Beef Gelatin

 

Directions:
Bring blueberries, water, lemon juice and ACV just to a boil.
  • Place blueberries in a small or medium size saucepan with lemon juice, water and Apple Cider Vinegar.
  • Bring just to a boil and turn off heat.
  • Place contents of the saucepan in a blender.  I used my Magic Bullet.  A hand blender would work just fine, too.  (If you use a hand blender, just make sure the sides of the saucepan are tall enough so that the hot liquid doesn’t splash out.
  • Blend until smooth.
  • Add the Vital Proteins gelatin to the blender 1 Tablespoon at a time, blending thoroughly between each addition of the gelatin.
A little messy, but you get the idea 🙂
  • Carefully pour the liquid into a silicon mold, ice cube tray or glass dish.  (I used a silicon ice cube tray, you might need a couple trays, depending on how much liquid your molds hold.)
  • Let cool and set in the refrigerator about 30 minutes.

 

I store mine in a zip lock bag in the refrigerator, but I bet they’d be fine in a container in a cupboard or pantry, too.

Enjoy!

 

 

Have you made gelatin gummies before?  What did you think?  Leave a comment below or email me here.

-Colleen

Conversations with Specialists: Part 2

Recently, I took part in a Twitter Q&A about how Chronic Illness patients interact with their doctors. It’s something I’d never really given much thought to. I realized that I’ve learned some things along this journey with Crohn’s disease that I hope to share with other patients of chronic illness.  Below is Part 2, click here to read Part 1.

Part 2: What I Wish my Conversations With my Specialist Could be Like Now.

A few months ago I had an appointment with my Gastroenterologist (GI), where, among other things, I asked him what he thought about using marijuana as a treatment for Crohn’s disease.  Marijuana has been legal in my state for a couple years now, so it wasn’t like I was just looking for a way to get high, I can do that legally if I want (though, for the record, I do not).  It’s not about the high, it’s about the possible healing effects that I was interested in.  (Which is why I eventually looked into CBD oil.  You can check out my guest post on CBD here).

He immediately made me feel like an idiot for asking and poo-pooed the idea that marijuana can be helpful to people with Crohn’s disease.  In fact, he stated that he had never seen any evidence that marijuana can help Crohn’s disease.  Which was surprising since, even without doing any real research, I’d heard that people with Crohn’s disease were getting medical marijuana cards way before marijuana became legal in our state.  If you’re interested, here’s an article from Everyday Health that discusses medical marijuana for treating Crohn’s disease.

What I Wish My Doctor Had Said to Me

I’m sure he didn’t mean to make me feel like an idiot and frankly, I allowed him to make me feel that way.  However, this situation could have been handled so very differently.  Even if his preconceptions about marijuana weren’t obviously bad, what I wish he’d done is;          1. Ask me a few follow-up questions about my motivations for wanting to look into marijuana as a treatment for Crohn’s disease.  2. Offer to look into it for me.  3. Actually look into it and get back to me.  4. Refer me to another specialist or doctor who might have genuine information about it.  Anything other than complete dismissal would have been nice.

Where Do We Go From Here?

This is just one example of how I wish conversations with my specialist could be better.  The above suggestions to improve the conversation, however, can be applied to just about any doctor-patient conversation.  I am constantly trying to find other therapies that might work to help heal my gut.  I’m sure I’m not the only patient who seeks answers to their questions about their own illness.  So I’m probably not the only patient who brings seemingly unusual ideas up to their doctors!

As I stated in Part 1, my hope is that these articles, if read by doctors, are taken as suggestions for having productive conversations with their patients.  These types of conversations can lead to really great doctor-patient relationships, which I certainly hope is what all doctors want!

Specialists
Conversations with Specialists: Part 2

 

 

As always, I’d love to hear your comments or questions on this subject.  You can leave a comment below, or email me here.

 

Conversations with Specialists: Part 1

Recently, I took part in a Twitter Q&A about how Chronic Illness patients interact with their doctors. It’s something I’d never really given much thought to. I realized that I’ve learned some things along this journey with Crohn’s disease that I hope to share with other patients of chronic illness.

Part 1: What I Wish my GI Had Said to me When I Was First Diagnosed

Here’s what I wish my specialist had said to me from the very beginning: “You have Crohn’s disease. This is not a death sentence but it is incurable. Your treatment options are medication, surgery, or diet changes. The pro’s and con’s of each of those options are _________, _________, and ________. Which one would you like to try first”.  This is just the bare bones of what I wish I’d heard, but you get the gist.

When I was diagnosed, in 2001, there really wasn’t a lot of information out there for patients about people living with Crohn’s disease.  There certainly wasn’t Facebook, Twitter or Instagram to connect with people who were living healthy lives with Crohn’s through diet changes or medication or having had surgery (or a combination of all 3!).  So my complaint is with the understanding that this conversation wasn’t really possible 16 years ago.

Sometimes Specialists Forget You’re an Individual

That lack of connection to others going through a similar health issue/crisis made me even more reliant on my specialists.  Which, in turn, made it all the more necessary for my doctors to have had an understanding (and GASP! a little empathy) that I was scared and likely hanging on their every word as if it were gospel.  Too often, though, I was treated like a data set in some research paper. I wasn’t an individual, I was just the next patient they had to figure out what drug to try on me next.

Self-Advocating

It is really only as I have gotten older that I’ve done more of my own research and met with other doctors, including Naturopathic doctors, that I have gained more confidence in my ability to self-advocate.  Through that, I have started to question certain practices.  For instance, doctors in the US rely heavily on prescription drugs to “fix” their patients.  But it’s really just putting a band-aid on the problem.  Prescription drugs might work for a while, but it really never gets to the root of the problem.

This is understandable for when I was first diagnosed.  The research wasn’t there to show that there might be ways to get to the root of the problem, with my specific illness, at least.  Probiotics and CBD oil, for instance, are showing a lot of promise in helping to heal autoimmune diseases.

What’s the Good News?

If you are newly diagnosed with a chronic illness, please know that there are a lot of people who can help you navigate this very confusing new world you have entered.  Those people really do want to help others out!  I hope you’ll reach out to myself or others if you have questions.  Keep in mind, everyone is different; something that works for one patient, might not work for others.

And if you are a doctor with a specialty, please know that I am writing from my own experience.  I do not believe that all doctors treat patients as data sets, nor has that always been my experience.  My hope is that this post will bring some understanding for what it’s like to be a patient.

You can leave a comment below or email me here if you have questions, or just want to chat about this post.

Part 2 will discuss what I wish my conversations with my specialist could be like now.

Guest Post: CBD Oil

Guest Post: CBD Oil

This week, I’ve asked Karen Buck to help me get information out about CBD oil and how she uses it to help with her Crohn’s disease.  I recently started using CBD oil but am still a newby to CBD and wanted to get another perspective on it to share.  Karen sells CBD oil through a company called Hempworx.  -Colleen

CBD Oil for Crohn’s disease

Hi, my name is Karen and I’m writing to share some information about CBD oil. I started taking it for Crohn’s and arthritis due to Crohn’s.  My experience has been fabulous.  I was unable to walk some days due to my arthritis and joint pain and now I’m almost pain-free.  My stomach pain and constant bloating are greatly improved now, too.  I’m amazed at how great I feel.  I will always have Crohn’s but this is such a good feeling to be living my life again.

CBD Oil Helps Many People Struggling with a Chronic Illness

CBD oil is amazing for so many people in pain, struggling with disease, anxiety or mood disorders, skin issues and so much more.  CBD oil is taken sublingually, which is under the tongue, for best absorption.  People have also used it topically on acne, burns, joint pain, even chapped lips.  CBD oil is safe and effective for the whole family.  It is used to help children with ADHD, autism, and seizure disorders.  Pets can also benefit from CBD.  I personally give it to my dog for his reoccurring ear infections.  The infections are now gone.  My friend uses it with rescue horses that have horrible pain and she has noticed a remarkable improvement.  CBD oil is really changing people’s lives.  It’s giving them an all natural, organic, non-GMO way to help with pain.  Many are getting off dangerous medications as well.  I personally have stopped taking my Puraxin.  I am not a doctor so I can not make claims of CBD curing people and I will never condone getting off medication without consulting your Doctor.  We are really just scratching the surface of what CBD can do.

Hempworx

What I use is CBD Hemp which is extracted in the male hemp stalk.  It is completely different than extracting it from the female cannabis plant that has THC.  Some companies claim to have higher CBD % but that is not the case because they extracted it from the female plant and infused it in the Hemp male oil.  The Hempworx extraction method is superior because it is the entire male plant within re-introduction, therefore getting CBD, CBC and CBG; all of which makes it stand out from the rest.  We also use a CO2 extraction which is the cleanest and most effective method.

Does CBD oil contain THC?

Hempworx only uses .03% THC in our product so you will not feel high.  In fact, CBD is legal in all 50 states, Canada, the U.K., and many more countries.  People often ask if they will pass a drug test taking it.  Yes!!! The tiny amount of THC will not show on a test.  In fact, we have the lowest ratio in industry standards.  The allowed amount is .3%.

Carrier Oils

Additionally, something to look for when purchasing CBD is the carrier oil, and how much is used. We (Hempworx) use hemp seed oil as our carrier. Others may use olive oil or coconut oil.  An extra amount of carrier oil will not hurt you, but some companies use so much that you may not feel as much in terms of health benefits and results.

Facebook

I have a Facebook group loaded with information and real testimonies from people taking CBD oil.  Please check it out; you are welcome to invite people you think might benefit from the group.

https://m.facebook.com/groups/634219913441352

How to Buy CBD oil from Hempworx

I loved my results with CBD oil so much, I joined the company!  I work with Hempworx brand CBD so the testimonies on my page are all users of Hempworx brand.  I’m happy to help with dosing, questions, research and anything related to CBD oil.  You can private message me through my group page above.  Thank you for reading and I urge you all to give it a try. With Hempworx we have a 30-day empty bottle money back guarantee. Here is the link to purchase:

www.hempworx.com/kbuck

All my best,
Karen

Gut Healthy Beef Broth

Beef Broth for Gut Health

Over the weekend I made beef stock from marrow bones. I love having my own stock (or broth) on hand but don’t make it as often as I’d like. All bone broth is great for joints and gut health but broth made from huge marrow bones is not only delicious but uber good for the gut and joint health.

It is a little unusual to make bone broth in the summer, but in the slow cooker, it’s easy and doesn’t make your kitchen hot and stuffy.  Plus, the benefits of bone broth are good for you year round!

Here’s how I did it.

Ingredients:

  • Marrow bones – whatever you can get.  I used about 3 lbs.
  • 3-4 Carrots, roughly chopped
  • 3 ribs of Celery, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 or 1 Onion, roughly chopped, paper left on
  • 1 Leek (optional)
  • Parsley sprigs
  • 4-5 cloves of Garlic left whole with paper on
  • Fresh rosemary
  • Fresh thyme
  • 2 Tbsp. Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Peppercorns
  • Coarse salt
  • Bay leaves
  • Water
You don’t need all of these, but I had an extra leek, so I threw it in.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Adding the Peppercorns

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I used this special sea salt I got in Hawaii last year. It’s so good and adds a little extra *something*.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Adding the bay leaves.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After adding all of the ingredients and about 6 cups of water, it looked like this:

 

 

 

 

 

I gave it a stir and set my slow cooker to low (10 hours).  This type of stock should be slowly simmered for at least 24 hours.  After the first 10, I checked the water level, which was good, gave it another stir and then put it back to low for another 10 hours.  After 20 hours, I felt like the bones could go a little longer to get the most out of the marrow so I added about 4 more cups of water and set it back to simmer for another 10 hours.

Final product

I forgot to take pictures at the end stage, but after your broth has simmered long enough to your liking, let the slow cooker cool and then strain the contents of the slow cooker into a large bowl or measuring cup. I set a large bowl in the bottom of my sink with a strainer sitting on top of the bowl and then poured the broth and ingredients directly into the strainer.  I let it sit and drain for about 10 minutes then poured the strained broth into a measuring cup.  It measured about 8 cups total.  Finally, I poured the broth into mason jars to store in the freezer for later use.

Jarred bone marrow broth.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The stock is ready to use at this point.  Since it’s summer, you can just warm up a cup every so often for the gut health benefits.  Or store it for soups and stews in the coming months.  If not using immediately, cool the stock in the refrigerator.  Once cool, the fat will congeal on top so that it is easy to take off with a spoon.  At this point, you can store the jars in the fridge or move them to the freezer.

Have questions or comments?  I’d love to hear from you!  Contact me using the comments section below, or here.

Here’s to your health,

Colleen

Crohn’s Friendly Diets: Should you try one?

Your new Crohn’s friendly diet plan!

Once you get diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, or IBD, your diet inevitably changes, if it hadn’t already before your diagnosis.  It may not be to a prescribed diet, but my guess is that your eating habits are inevitebly different than they were before your illness began.  There are so many diets out there for people with IBD and Autoimmune illnesses that it can be super confusing. I’ve tried several of those diets, like the Paleo diet, the AIP diet and the Low FODMAP diet.

I think they are all really good and if you have the discipline to stick with one, more power to ya – because I don’t. I am currently trying to follow the Paleo diet. It is modified a bit, though. I allow myself legumes and “cheat days”. I follow the 85-15 rule, which means that I eat Paleo 85% of the time and then allow cheat meals 15% of the time. I think about it by week, not by the day.  This 85-15 rules helps me stay on target when I want to cheat during every meal.  I remind myself that I have an event or a get-together later in the week (where I want to have a glass, or two, of wine), and my willpower comes back and I’m able to stay on track!

Why Paleo?

I chose the Paleo diet because it is one where I do not have to go through the stages of eliminating possible trigger foods from my diet.  Yes, I am eliminating some major foods from my diet right now, but, those are foods that I know aren’t good for me anyway.  Basically, it’s something I understand and can get behind.  Cutting out processed foods, dairy, carbs and sugar is something I feel like I need to do anyway.  I’ll probably have to go through an elimination diet as well, at some point, though.

Crohn's diet
Paleo tunafish lettuce cups

It also helped that my husband said he’d do it with me :). This is a big help for me.  I do not have the best willpower on my own, so when I have support, I am more likely to succeed.  I also have young kids.  I don’t want my kids to live in a super crazy, food restricted house and then go overboard the moment they are at a friends house; eating every sugary thing in sight.  So, that means we have some sweets and carbs in the house.  Which tempt me.  Those little evil snacks call to me while I’m sitting on the couch writing my blog post about eating healthy.  (Like right now).

Which Crohn’s friendly diet is right for you?

Only you can decide which diet you want to try.  There are a lot of options out there so I suggest you do research on each one and decide from there.  Here are some good websites to check out:

  1. Autoimmune Wellness
  2. Paleo Diet Info
  3. Low FODMAP Diet
  4. Elimination Diet
How to transition into a diet that works with your IBD

Some people suggest throwing out food that is not “allowed” for the particular diet that you choose.  That was not realistic for me.  I suggest that, after you decide which diet you are going to try, you:

  1. Find support.  Whether that is your spouse or significant other, a friend, or an online community.  It will be so much easier and you will be more accountable if you have other people you can contact and rely on when you don’t want to deal everything that starting a new diet brings.
  2. Prep your meals.  The more you prep, the more likely you’ll be to stick to the diet you choose.  In fact, this is a must in my opinion.
  3. Be realistic.  It’s going to be tough and you will have days that you don’t want to do it.  You might even go an entire day (or tow) off your diet.  That’s okay.  Just get back to it the next day.  Obviously, the best thing for your health is to stick to the diet you choose for as long as possible, especially if you are doing an elimination diet.  Again, this is when a support person or group will be extremely helpful.

Have you found relief with one of these diets?  If so, I’d like to hear from you and hear your experience.  Contact me here!

Coming To Terms With Being Sick

Chronic Illness = Sickly?

What does being sick with a chronic illness mean to you?  Do you consider yourself “sickly”?  A person with an illness?  Maybe you’re Licensed to Ill, perhaps?  I prefer that one, myself.  Beastie Boys rule.

To me, there is a difference between being sick and sickly.  One is unchangeable.  I have Crohn’s disease, a chronic illness that has no cure.  I use the term “sick” often to let people know that I am not feeling well and, while it is vague, I prefer that to the never-ending explanations that come with a chronic illness that flares up unexpectedly.  I don’t think of being sick as a mindset, but rather, an issue I have to deal with at that time.

The term sickly, however, is different.  I think of someone who is so sick, they are bed-ridden and in need of constant care indefinitely.  With any chronic illness, there are certainly times when we do need constant care and we truly can’t do much of anything for ourselves.  Hospital visits, for sure, but even times at home when family and friends are needed to help us out.

Still, that word, sickly, bugs me.  In addition to needing constant care, I think of someone who is unable, or unwilling, to change their circumstances.  While someone with a chronic illness is unable to change their illness, I think of sickly as more of a mindset issue.  A negative mindset.  I know I’ve been in that headspace before, and maybe that’s why it bugs me so much.

I May be Sick, but I am Not Sickly

I still remember where I was when I realized I might be considered sickly.  I was sitting at the kitchen table at my parents house. It was fall time and my Mom and I were listening to the radio while she prepared dinner. The story on the radio was about flu shots and how important they are, especially for the elderly, small children and the sickly.

There’s that word again…sickly.  As the radio moved on to a new story, I realized that I should find out if I can even get a flu shot with the medication I was taking.  I knew my meds surpressed my immune system, so would a flu shot even help?  That’s when it hit me, was I one of the sickly people they were talking about?!

While I found out that, no, a flu shot would not be good while taking the medication I was on, I was still coming to terms with this new realization of possibly being sickly.  What makes a person sickly?  What, if anything, can I do about it?

Sick but Empowered

At some point I came to believe that, as I stated earlier, there is a difference between being sick and sickly.  I may not like the term sickly, but I have had times when I am bed-ridden and need a lot of care and assistance.  Coming to terms with that, but knowing that I will get through it, has helped me feel empowered to get through those hard times.

I accepted my Crohn’s disease diagnosis pretty easily, as I stated in my diagnosis story; mostly out of relief that my doctors knew what was going on with my body.  Coming to terms with being sick was a little harder.  The empowerment comes from the realization that I have a choice in the type of mindset I have about being sick.  For instance, when I have a flare up, I have the choice to talk to my doctor and seek alternative therapies or just get frustrated with my body.  So far, I’ve chosen to seek alternative therapies.

How do you feel about the term sickly?  Do you remember when you realized you or someone you love is chronically ill?  I’d love to hear from you!  You can leave a comment below, or email me, here.

Alternative Medicine: Acupuncture

What is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is a painless, Alternative Medicine technique, used in ancient Chinese Medicine.  A trained acupuncturist (or, in my case, my naturopathic doctor) places needles into the skin along invisible lines known as Meridians.  (You can learn more about what Meridians are here). When the acupuncture needles are placed along a meridian, they help restore balance to the body.  Which can help the body focus its own energy to relieve pain and/or work to heal the body.  It is fascinating and, at least to me, extraordinary!  I love it.

Acupuncture for Autoimmune issues?

Autoimmune issues are often described as an imbalance in the body.  Since Chinese Medicine and Alternative Medicine help restore balance to the body, acupuncture can be very beneficial.  It is a personal choice, of course, whether you try it or not.  As I state in my disclaimer, I am up to try just about anything, within reason.  If there is a possible benefit, I’m probably going to try it.

Acupuncture has been known to help anything from minor sprains or headaches, to debilitating arthritis.  It can also help with allergies, migraines, gastrointestinal issues, depression, infertility, and on and on.

Alternative Medicine
Acupuncture is painless! This is my daughter testing to see if the needles hurt or not. As you can see, she was surprised that it didn’t hurt at all.
How Acupuncture Has Worked for Me

I’ve used acupuncture to help with several different things, like general stress relief, arthritis, digestive issues, and migraines.  It is not a quick fix, but I do notice benefits after each treatment.  As I said before, I love it.

Have you used Acupuncture for your Autoimmune disease?  If so, what has been your experience?  Did you find relief?  Has it become a therapy for your or did you only do it once?  I’d love to hear from you!  You can leave a comment below, or email me, here.

 

Heading into Summer with a Chronic Illness

OMG it’s Almost Summer!!

I live in Alaska where there are, essentially, two seasons: Winter and Summer. We jokingly refer to these two seasons as: Winter and Construction Season. While there are a lot of winter sports and ways to stay active in the winter, summer in Alaska is all-out, every weekend, chalk-full of backyard BBQ’s, camping, fishing, hiking, basically just soaking up as much sun and warmth as we can before winter sets in again.

Summer Activities with a Chronic Illness

For someone with a chronic illness, summer can be a bit anxiety inducing.  We *want* to participate in these activities as often as possible and *really want* to do the soaking up of as much fun, warmth and sun as we can, too.  It just doesn’t always work out that way.  We can’t always do all of the things we want to do.  For those of us with chronic illness, this can be tough.  But it is often harder on our family and friends.

Summer activities
Sometimes you just need your best friend and her backyard.

Get-togethers at friends houses, or our own homes, are definitely the easiest.  For me, at least.  For instance, I know there will be a bathroom nearby!  While I can bring food that my body can handle to BBQ’s (cook outs, garden parties, or whatever you call it in your area), there is always the issue of being tempted by the foods or drinks that I know I shouldn’t eat, but really want to!  Maybe this is just an issue for me, but it’s real and it sucks when I can’t, or shouldn’t, indulge as my friends and family are.

Camping is another anxiety inducing activity for me.  It starts with the food planning: what foods to pack, how we’ll cook those foods, how much pre-made food can I get away with, will I have to bring extra foods for my kids…?  Then come the worries about using an outhouse.  Ugh.  I HATE outhouses, I mean, who doesn’t?!  (Side note: the Yukon Territory in Canada has THE BEST outhouses I have ever seen – they don’t smell at all!)  I worry that I’ll have to get up in the middle of the night and trudge out to the outhouse – which is always worse than during the day as the worries about running into bears or moose come into play.  I realize this is a silly worry since those animals do sleep at night, too, but still….it’s there.

Summer Backyard Camping
Backyard Camping! We didn’t go camping at all last summer because of my health issues – so my husband took the kids backyard camping 🙂
How You Can Help

If you have a friend or family member with a chronic illness, just try to be as supportive as possible.  We understand you might be frustrated, we’re frustrated, too.  Just try to be understanding and supportive as well.  A little empathy goes a long way.  Let us know that you are disappointed, but understand that it’s out of our control and that you support our decision to stay home this time.  Then, let us know that you will still keep trying to get us to your special events!  We need to know that you won’t give up on us.

Have you experienced this yourself or been on the receiving end of a friend or family member canceling because of their chronic illness?  If so, I’d love to hear from you.