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…but Jenni’s ChronicBabe community has gotten me through some tough times over the years, so I’m thrilled to support this project! If you’d like to chip in, please read below:

hi friend! i hope you’re having a great day.

i hope you’re familiar with my passion project: chronicbabe.com. it grew out of my own experience of learning to craft an exceptional life in spite of illness. (it’s part of why i went into business for myself 13 years ago.)
this month, i’m running a kickstarter for my chronicbabe 101 book, a project that will put valuable lessons in the hands of thousands of folks. with 24 hours left, we are fully funded and made all our stretch goals, which means i will give a digital copy of the book to EVERY backer, regardless of their pledge amount – as low as $1. (a big portion of my audience is unable to work, so this is a big deal for them.) the book will be published in july.
 
here’s a quick link to the page – packed with details: http://kck.st/1MREwha (it ends friday, march 27 at 10:30am central time.)
 
in these final hours of the project, i’m hoping to create a big swell of support that ensures tons of people who could benefit get the chance to participate – and i could really use your help. i teach my chronicbabes to ask for help when they need it, so today i’m walking the talk once again: please consider spending five minutes in the next two days doing one of these things. it will make a meaningful impact:
– make a pledge to the project (even $1 helps!)
– post a link to the project on your facebook profile or page, with a sentence about why it’s important to you
– tweet a link to the project
– post a link to the project on your linkedin page
– email someone you think might be interested
– posting a link at a forum you frequent
– tell someone you know face-to-face (weird, i know!) about the project
 
thank you so much! your support means the world. and as always – if i can be of any assistance to you, please say the word.

Be AWAP (As Well As Possible) – Jenni

FINAL HOURS: Back my Kickstarter for a ChronicBabe book. It’s going to be a blast!
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It has been a long, long time since I posted. The last six months have been mostly focused on work at my job- we had a couple major projects back-to-back but we’re finally out from under those. My health has had some ups and downs along the way, but overall I’ve been doing relatively well. I started writing short fiction again, and that’s where most of my writing energy has gone; it’s a lot of fun, and more rewarding than I expected.

After a false start I finally transferred to the endocrinologist at the same practice that houses my rheumatologist. This is a huge relief; it’s much closer and more convenient to my job, I can take a shuttle on days when I can’t drive, and it is much easier to share labs and communication between my doctors. I have a round of bloodwork and a fresh sonogram of my thyroid scheduled, but since I’m stable she’s not inclined to change my dosage or brand, for which I am extremely grateful.

Interestingly enough she didn’t bring up my weight- I did. My last doctor was insistent that I lose weight but didn’t provide any guidance. I tried a few things but nothing stuck for long. My new doc suggested I count carbs for a while and see how that works for me. A good friend has done well with this approach and hubby has cut back on carbs as well with some success.

I’m not making any big changes right now- just watching my portions and tracking again, but after four days I feel less bloated and my energy is up, so I have hopes. I’ve decided to not weigh myself until my next doctor appointment in six weeks and just focus on eating better, especially over the holidays.

I still use the treadmill but we’ve been doing a lot of yardwork lately and I’m trying not to overdo things. We’ve started house-hunting again and have looked at a few promising places; we’d really like a house with a pool and that will give me more exercise options.

We’ve had a few cold days, but other than stiffness my joints aren’t doing too bad. What has been more of a problem is that my office is chilly (it’s poorly insulated) so I have to run my space heater and get up to walk around often and stretch so I don’t stiffen up too much; this helps minimize my pain at work.

I am hosting Christmas dinner this year and might order a cooked turkey; the end of the year happened in a rush and I just finished gift shopping last night. I have one item to make but otherwise all I need to do is wrap and mail. Hubby has tomorrow off and will assemble the tree so I can decorate it, and I need to start getting the house in order for guests. My cards will probably go out post-holiday this year, and it may just be close friends/family instead of my whole list, but I’ll make sure that anyone who sends a card gets one in return. It’s not what I’d prefer, but I’m trying to spend my spoons wisely.

I hope that you are all doing as well as possible and looking forward to holiday, and you have my best wishes for the new year and every year!

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Darn December

I am in a bit of a slump. They finally have the office warmer than the arctic tundra, thank goodness, but poor sleep and general hip-and-back pain has me hobbling around with a cane this week. I did drive yesterday but grocery shopping apparently was too much judging by how I feel today. If there wasn’t a big web meeting that no one else can attend this afternoon then I probably would have stayed home. I briefly considered working from home but I know that I would have fallen back asleep and missed the call. Sometimes, you can just tell.

I have figured out a few more family gifts for the holidays and am waiting for packages to arrive. I also have my electric blanket now and am looking forward to trying to out, most likely tonight. The winter birds are arriving in droves. In addition to the wading birds that we have all year ’round, the ducks are back including the Mergansers with their distinctive profiles. I still can’t find where I hid the birdseed so I will have to buy more to refill the already-empty feeder (which will guarantee that I find the missing bag). The cats love the show and Pilot especially is practising his stalking skills (from the wrong side of the window, of course).

I did make a new tree ornament- an idea that I had last year but never got around to. I’ll post a picture on my crafting blog soon-ish. The embroidery came out fairly well considering how my hands are right now. I am slowly refreshing old embroidery skills, but doubt that I’ll make these as gifts (or at least not for this year).

I am doing a fair job of catching up on things I Don’t Like To Do (mostly medical bills and paperwork) and Friday I get my sleep machine, which is a relief (and hopefully will be a help for this exhaustion). Mostly, I am looking forward to the winter break. The four-day weekend was so nice, sleeping until I felt rested, lots of time to get things done and to do some fun things, too. Hubby had to almost literally drag me out of the house.  :} It makes readjusting to my work schedule harder though- I just want these weeks to fly by, so I can get back to delightfully loafing. I am seriously considering taking on the Christmas turkey this year and am flirting with the idea of hosting the whole dinner, but right now my body thinks that is a very silly idea.

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Pain at Work

I have been very fortunate- for the last few months my pain levels have been very low and manageable (as long as I don’t do something silly like try to carry too many groceries or overextend myself in the garden).

With the cooler weather I’m starting to feel the aches and pains more (no surprise there), especially in my hands. As I’ve mentioned before, my workplace is an icebox and heat is part of my pain management treatment. I was moved into a larger office a few months ago, and while it is much better for me (ergonomic setup, don’t have to walk around my desk constantly, etc.) that also means that my little heater isn’t as effective in this space. My arthritis gloves help keep my hands warm and my circulation flowing, but that only helps my hands.

In the last few weeks, my lower back and hips have been moderately bad. Then in the last twelve hours my left hip started shrieking at me, to the point that it woke me up a few times last night. The pain is, to put it bluntly, terrible. Sitting for more than five minutes is impossible. So is standing. Getting up from sitting, or sitting down again, is painful as well. Do you see my dilemma?

It has been a long, long time since I had such severe pain at work that I couldn’t concentrate. I am pecking this out during my lunch break. I took two painkillers earlier and was worried that I was overdosing, but they haven’t touched the pain at all. If truly desperate I’ll take something stronger in the afternoon, but the side effects are such that I’d rather wait until I get home in case it leaves me unable to drive. Thankfully, we will probably have a shortened workday due to the long weekend, but I wanted to pick up a few things from the store on the way home.

So, any suggestions for me? How do you cope? I think that I will get a reusable heating pad for my desk at work, but that won’t help me much right now.

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Had one of those days that didn’t at all turn out the way I expected. I started by waking up exhausted (no surprise there), but I got to work just fine and got a fair bit done. Unfortunately, our air conditioning unit had starting speaking in tongues on Friday.

(Now, for those in more northern climes, the lack of a/c in November may not seem to be much of an issue, and while Saturday was warm (mid-80s F), Sunday was cool with lovely breeze. That said, we did need to have it fixed before the three Cold days we have each winter when just throwing an extra blanket on the bed isn’t enough.)

Back to today.

We had been leaving messages with our usual appliance repair person but hadn’t gotten a call back and were beginning to wonder if he was gone visiting family for the holiday. I tried the actual a/c company and not only could they get someone that afternoon, but he called an hour and half earlier than I expected so I zipped out of work and got to the house just as he arrived. I have to say, that kind of responsiveness is pure luck, but I appreciate it.

I ate lunch while he worked, tried to keep the male cats out from underfoot (Navi was hiding, of course), and (since I can’t have someone visit my home without being terribly self-conscious about the current state of cleanliness, or lack thereof) I caught up on some housework. The final cost wasn’t too bad, it was a logical issue, and it was not something I could have fixed myself without a whole lot more knowledge about electrical systems than I possess, so I feel that the cost was justified. He was very nice and gave me some suggestions on how to prevent it from happening again (and that would probably also lower our energy costs).

By that time I only had three hours left in the work day, so I called out and went to do grocery shopping. I chose wisely. Between poor sleep, fierce allergies, stiffness from yardwork and heavy air pressure due to the afternoon front, I am not feeling well at all. I can tell that I am somewhat sick by looking at the items I bought at the grocery store and recognising just how random they are and the high percentage of comfort foods. *blush*

This is the time of year when I am finally resigned to Christmas items for sale everywhere and I start looking forward to the holidays. I bought stamps for my holiday cards and a few supplies for cooking seasonal goodies. I finished up a few crafting projects (left over from last December *cough cough*) and wrapped a few gifts that I already have on hand.  We’ve had some beautiful sunsets lately and it’s nice to see the ducks back on the pond again. The cool, gloomy weather is lovely for blankets and sweaters (albeit light ones) and the cats are extra cuddly and loaf-like, which I adore. There’s many family phonecalls this time of year, we have a family dinner to look forward to and a long weekend to relax, catch up, and relax some more.

There’s a lot to be thankful for.

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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

ROCHESTER, Minn. — Mindfulness — sometimes called a form of meditation or therapy — can enrich lives, calm minds and even improve health. The October issue of Mayo Clinic Health Letter describes mindfulness in-depth in an eight-page Special Report.

Rooted in ancient traditions, mindfulness has many descriptions. In general, it’s a conscious effort to be completely present, setting aside worries, expectations and other thoughts to be fully aware of the current moment.

The report covers suggestions to improve mindfulness as well as its many benefits. Highlights include:

Getting started: While many classes are available, mindfulness doesn’t require formal training. A key aspect is paying attention to current surroundings, focusing on one sense at a time. This present-moment focus helps eliminate dwelling on the past, worries about the future, or random, chaotic thoughts. Mindfulness can be practiced at a dedicated time each day or throughout the day — during dinner with a spouse, playing with a grandchild or even doing dishes. Accepting and appreciating each moment for what it is can increase calmness and bring more peace and joy.

Breathing: A reliable way to focus on the present moment is to focus on the breath. By observing the breath, without forcing or regulating, one can forget everything else for the moment. By just thinking about one thing, the breath, powers of concentration increase. This can bring deep calm and awareness.

Pain management: Several studies have shown that mindfulness training improves chronic pain. In one study, half of the participants experienced a reduction in pain by 50 percent or more with mindfulness practice. Researchers speculate that patients were able to separate their physical feeling of pain from their perception of it. By detaching themselves from the pain and simply observing but not reacting to it, they were able to reduce the level of pain they experienced.

Coping with cancer: People with cancer experience a high degree of emotional stress as well as decreased physical health and well-being. Mindfulness is one complement to conventional cancer treatment that addresses these problems and helps people feel better.

Quality of life: Evidence indicates that mindfulness has a positive effect on quality of life, both in people living with chronic conditions and healthy people who wish to reduce stress and live more simply.

Mayo Clinic Health Letter is an eight-page monthly newsletter of reliable, accurate and practical information on today’s health and medical news. To subscribe, please call 800-333-9037 (toll-free), extension 9771, or visit Mayo Clinic Health Letter Online.

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About Mayo Clinic

Mayo Clinic is a nonprofit worldwide leader in medical care, research and education for people from all walks of life. For more information, visit MayoClinic.com or MayoClinic.org/news.

Journalists can become a member of the Mayo Clinic News Network for the latest health, science and research news and access to video, audio, text and graphic elements that can be downloaded or embedded.

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My family flew back home Monday and I miss them already! Unfortunately, between a busy work schedule, seasonal changes, and not sleeping well, on top of an unusual amount of driving for me and I’ve been kind of a wreck this week. I stayed home from work Tuesday which ate up the little sick time I had managed to accrue. I’ve been slogging through work the last day or two and am really looking forward to my three-day weekend to catch up on some sleep and housework. I also plan to hit the sports store and try out a couple of treadmills to determine which one I like best. (I will then mostly like order it online for less, heh.)

I am really enjoying the cooler weather, although my allergies are a bit haywire. Also, it is sadly not yet late enough in the season for biting insects and I ran out of bug wipes while travelling- so itchy! The fall time change is a relief though- it’s much closer to my natural sleep-cycle.

Anyway, just wanted to check in- it will take time to get back into posting regularly and re-build a buffer of articles, but I’m working on it!

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