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Living Well with Chronic Illness: Small Choices Make a Big Difference

June 29th, 2011

Living Well with Chronic Illness: Small Choices Make a Big Difference By Mary J. Yerkes NABBW’s Living with Chronic Illness Expert Healthy lifestyle choices can reduce your risk of most common chronic diseases by 80 percent, according to a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine. By eating nutritionally balanced meals, maintaining a healthy weight, and exercising regularly, you can significantly reduce your risk of many chronic illnesses, including cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. “Proper diet, exercise, and drinking enough water,” are foundational to good... Read More

How Being “Tolerant” Can Ruin Your Health: Eliminate These Common Energy-Drainers

June 28th, 2011

How Being “Tolerant” Can Ruin Your Health: Eliminate These Common Energy-Drainers By Mary J. Yerkes NABBW’s Living with Chronic Illness Expert Life coaches agree that people zap their energy and increase their stress by putting up with a multitude of things that bug them, what life coaches call “tolerations.” And for the chronically ill, lingering stress can translate into increased pain. Enhance your quality of life by identifying—and then eliminating—those things that deplete your energy and dampen your spirit. Here are four common tolerations, along with practical... Read More

Necessary Endings

May 11th, 2011

Necessary Endings By Mary J. Yerkes NABBW’s Living with Chronic Illness Expert Endings are a necessary part of life. Despite their inevitability, most of us face endings with a sense of regret, anger, and even fear. Whether personal, job-related, or relationship-oriented, endings are tough. But realize this — to move forward, we sometimes have to give up relationships, businesses, and more to make room for the new. Recently, I’ve been working through a number of personal and professional endings in my life. As I began to explore this concept in my personal life, I came across a new... Read More

10 Tips for Building Resilience in the Face of Chronic Illness

April 4th, 2011

10 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, feel victimized by... Read More

How You Can Support Those Living with Chronic Illness

February 12th, 2011

How You Can Support Those Living with Chronic Illness Experts encourage people to listen and give the “gift of presence” to the chronically ill. Learn what to say and do to help. by Mary J. Yerkes NABBW’s Living With Chronic Illness Expert For many, the most distressing consequence of chronic illness is social isolation. Friends, once plentiful, suddenly stop calling. Family members, unable to understand your physical and emotional limitations, grow resentful and accuse you of failing to “pull your weight.” Even churches, a supposed refuge for the hurting, tell you they lack... Read More

Chronic Illness: A Four-Phase Journey to a New Life: Move from Surviving to Thriving in the New Year

January 9th, 2011

Chronic Illness: A Four-Phase Journey to a New Life: Move from Surviving to Thriving in the New Year By Mary J. Yerkes NABBW’s Living With Chronic Illness Expert This year, instead of promising to lose weight again, resolve to discover your new, authentic self. One of the most difficult challenges facing the chronically ill is the loss of identity they often feel. Things they once did with ease, they can no longer do. Over time, the reality settles in —the person they once were is gone. There is no going back. Now what? It’s true that your chronic illness severely affects every area of... Read More

How to Navigate Difficult Family Relationships During the Holidays When You\’re Living with Chronic Illness

December 15th, 2010

Tis’ the Season for Family Stress and Drama: How to Navigate Difficult Family Relationships During the Holidays When You\’re Living with Chronic Illness By Mary J. Yerkes NABBW’s Living with Chronic Illness Expert The holiday season is once again upon us and with it comes the family drama. No matter how close you and your family might be, it is inevitable that conflict will arise. For the chronically ill, that can create significant problems. Relational stress worsens most conditions and can even trigger a flare requiring medication and hospitalization. How can the chronically ill... Read More

A Brand New You: Rebuilding a Meaningful Life with Chronic Illness

November 30th, 2010

A Brand New You: Rebuilding a Meaningful Life with 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.... Read More

Adjusting to Life with Chronic Illness

October 31st, 2010

Adjusting to Life with Chronic Illness by Mary J. Yerkes 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 emotional, relational, and spiritual growth. Many have gone on to launch new careers, friendships, and businesses. “Eventually, you adjust to a new normal,” explains Lisa Copen, founder of Rest Ministries, Inc.™, an organization that serves the chronically... Read More

5 Smart Choices for Living Well

October 6th, 2010

Life is full of choices. Nowhere is this more evident than in the lives of boomer women living with one or more chronic illnesses. As more baby boomers become both sandwich generationers and chronically ill, the need to understand the choices before us, and their consequences, increases dramatically. As someone who lives with multiple autoimmune diseases marked by chronic pain, fatigue, and limited mobility, I recognize the need to choose wisely. In less than a week, I fly to Seattle to spend time with my son and his wife. A few days after my return, I travel to be with my father who will undergo... Read More