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Five Sure-fire Tips for Traveling with Chronic Illness or Disability

May 14th, 2019

By Mary J. Yerkes for the NABBW NOTE: This article originally appeared at NABBW.com in 2009. We are happy to reprint it now as we move into the summer travel season. Thanks to Catherine Luther at UpgradedPoints.com, it has been updated to reflect new information. For the 1 in 2 Americans living with chronic conditions, traveling can be a challenge. Crowded airports, long flights, and public transportation can increase stress and exacerbate symptoms. But by learning to travel smart, you can experience the thrill of traveling, while minimizing your discomfort and stress. Traveling Tips Here are five... Read More

Rx for the Holidays: Cultivate Gratitude

November 19th, 2012

Rx for the Holidays: Cultivate Gratitude By Mary J. Yerkes NABBW’s Living with Chronic Illness Expert Thanksgiving kicks off the holiday season, and with it, festive times with friends and family. However, for those living with chronic disease and illness, unrealistic expectations, difficulties with travel, and busy schedules can add up to increased pain and fatigue, taking which takes not only a physical toll but an emotional toll as well. Fortunately, one aspect of the Thanksgiving holiday can actually improve your physical, emotional, and mental health — an “attitude of gratitude.” A... Read More

Art and Creative Self Expression: Tools for Transcending Chronic Pain and Illness

October 24th, 2012

Art and Creative Self Expression: Tools for Transcending Chronic Pain and Illness By Mary J. Yerkes NABBW’s Living with Chronic Illness Expert Can tapping into our creativity help us transcend chronic pain and illness? Can art heal not only our bodies but also our soul and spirits? Questions like these have been part of my ongoing quest to live well with chronic pain and illness. While some answers remain elusive, others are more readily apparent. Diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory diseases in 1997, I have found artistic self-expression a valuable tool for transcending... Read More

Harnessing the Power of Place

September 15th, 2012

Harnessing the Power of Place By Mary J. Yerkes NABBW’s Living with Chronic Illness Expert Not long ago, during a time when stress and fatigue had taken their toll on my body, I booked a weekend away at a local bed and breakfast. Nestled in the shadow of the Blue Ridge Mountains, I watched breathtaking mountain sunsets, delighted in deer frolicking in the woods, and sat for hours in a red Adirondack chair, soaking in the beauty around me. It was healing. But most of the time, the converse is true. I spend time in stressful places — doctor’s offices and hospitals, crowded shopping malls... Read More

Remaining Positive When Facing a Chronic Illness

June 6th, 2012

Remaining Positive When Facing a Chronic Illness By Mary J. Yerkes NABBW’s Living with Chronic Illness Expert A diagnosis of chronic illness can bring with it feelings of denial, anger and grief. But, at some point, the emotions subside and you are faced with a harsh reality—you are no longer the person you once were. Chronic illness has robbed you from your sense of identity and purpose. Do you even stand a chance of rebuilding a meaningful life? According to Judy Gann—a breast cancer survivor who suffers from fibromyalgia and other autoimmune disorders—you can. She took her experiences... Read More

Adjusting to Life With Chronic Illness

April 26th, 2012

Adjusting to Life With Chronic Illness By Mary J. Yerkes NABBW’s Living with Chronic Illness Expert Adjust to life with chronic illness? It might seem counterintuitive, but according to experts, you can live a full and meaningful life despite having compromised health. Millions of people living with serious chronic conditions have used their struggles as a springboard for spiritual, relational and emotional growth. Many have gone on to launch new ministries, careers, and friendships. “Eventually, you adjust to a new normal,” explains Lisa Copen, founder of Rest Ministries,... Read More

50 Powerful Coaching Questions to Create Change

January 31st, 2012

50 Powerful Coaching Questions to Create Change By Mary J. Yerkes NABBW’s Living with Chronic Illness Expert Ask yourself these questions to take control of your life! Defining Goals 1. If you were to FULLY live your life, what is the first change you would start to make? 2. What areas of your life could be upgraded/tweaked? 3. What could we work on now that would make the biggest difference to your life? 4. How would you feel about doubling that goal? 5. What are you tolerating/ putting up with? 6. What do you want MORE of in your life? (Make a list) 7. What do you want LESS of in your... Read More

How to Bounce Back

November 18th, 2011

How to Bounce Back Ten tips for building resilience in the face of chronic illness By Mary J. Yerkes NABBW’s Living with Chronic Illness Expert When faced with the pain and fatigue of chronic illness, do you tend to rise to the challenge or fall apart? Resilience is the ability to roll with the punches, to bounce back from stressful and challenging events. It involves adapting to change and addressing life’s problems constructively. When you have resilience, you discover new opportunities in the face of great challenges. In contrast, if you lack resilience, you tend to dwell on problems,... Read More

The Simple Life: Intentional Living for the Chronically Ill

October 25th, 2011

The Simple Life: Intentional Living for the Chronically Ill By Mary J. Yerkes NABBW’s Living with Chronic Illness Expert Simple living can seem elusive. In a world focused on achieving and accumulating more and bumper stickers that read, “He who dies with the most toys wins,” the reality of simple living seems like some pie-in-the sky ambition, a trend. Despite the proliferation of products, books, magazines, classes, and organizational systems guaranteed to simplify our lives, most of us continue to hurry through life, pursuing activities and making purchases that ultimately add to... Read More

Chronic Illness and Recovering from Loss

September 10th, 2011

Chronic Illness and Recovering from Loss By Mary J. Yerkes NABBW’s Living with Chronic Illness Expert “I have your MRI results,” said Dr. Price, my rheumatologist. I was in the midst of a strategic planning meeting at the office, but I quickly stepped out into the hall to take the call in private. Although I had been having back pain for the last three weeks, I wasn’t concerned. A recent bone density scan revealed I had the spine of a 20-year-old, which left me completely unprepared for what followed. “You have not one but three compression fractures to your thoracic spine.”... Read More