Family Reunion, Spoonie Style!

A couple of weeks ago I had thrown my back out. Jacques had to push me in a wheelchair for my doctor’s appointment. My x-ray was normal so I am going to start PT next week.

We had planned a trip to see our cousins but I didn’t know if I could stand the pain and make the drive with just Tyler.

It was decided that Jacques would drive Tyler and I up and he would stay in a hotel so as not to interrupt “family time.” When my cousin heard that that was the game plan she invited Jacques to stay as well!

The trip up was so painful but it was great to see two of my cousins who are sisters. It had been nine years since we had seen them, Tyler was a toddler back then!

                                                              Lisa, Tyler, Diane and I 

Lisa has a beautiful home that is completely surrounded by woods. Which would have been peaceful except that she has four dogs and four cats! Tyler loved all the animals. He had to keep an eye out for his stuffed Eeyore because the dogs thought it was a toy for them!

Because of my back pain I decided not to go to a dog park. But I needed a rest and I needed a heating pad! Using the stairs was near impossible and I was so thankful that I had Jacques to unpack and pack our things!

At night we went out for  a wonderful Italian meal.

It was too short a trip but my cousins were leaving to visit their parents so we started on the trip back.

I had a great time but the memory of my trip will be forever colored by the horrendous back pain I was having.

Have you ever went on an outing or trip and your disability or pain took away from your memory?


One of Our Own Needs Our Help

If you have a chronic, invisible illness you more than likely have heard of or even refer to yourself as a “spoonie”. If you haven’t heard the term “spoonie”, it came from Christine Miserandino’s The Spoon Theory as a metaphor for showing healthy people what it’s like to be chronically ill. The basic idea is that everyone starts the day off with a certain amount of spoons, or units of energy, but people who are ill use their spoons faster than those who are healthy. For example, it may take a healthy person one spoon to get ready in the morning but it may take a sick person five spoons.

I first read Christine’s “Spoon Theory” in 2004 and it came at a time when I really needed it most. I had been diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis in 2003, leaving me with chronic pain, swelling and exhausted. I was losing a lot of friends and the respect of many family members, especially when I told them I couldn’t visit them for Christmas because I was just too sick. There responses ranged from “But young people don’t get arthritis” to “You’re too pretty to be as sick as you say you are.” Losing the respect of family and friends had me in a deep depression and I felt very alone. At the time, Christine’s But You Don’t Look Sick website has a forum where I literally came upon thousands of people who were just like me and who were facing the same issues! Christine’s work became a lifeline for me and still does to this day.

But now, the woman who has changed lives for so many chronically ill people needs some help of her own. Although I have known Christine to be very sick in the past, she always seemed able to accomplish anything and be strong for all of us.

To say that Christine is having the toughest year of her life is an understatement. In January of this year, she gave birth to a stillborn baby girl which was also life-threatening to her.

Christine has been undergoing extensive jaw and dental surgery. The 20 plus years of steroids for her Lupus have wreaked havoc on her mouth. In addition, Christine throughout her pregnancy was throwing up five to seven times a day. She also has a disease which leaves her with little saliva in her mouth. The effect of all of these things have left her needing six teeth extracted, four root canals and filings. Now her teeth are literally falling out of her mouth.

Her physical and dental issues have left her with a mountain of medical bills with more to come. Her parents, who have supported her throughout her life, have maxed out their credit cards.

I know Christine to be a very proud and private person and I know she would not be doing this unless she were in extreme need. A friend of Christine has created a Go Fund Me site for her with the title “Help Christine Smile”.

If you have been touched by “But You Don’t Look Sick”, “The Spoon Theory”, have the words “spoon” or “spoonie” in your blog or call yourself a spoonie, I urge you to donate whatever you can to Christine’s campaign. I realize that a lot of spoonies have their own medical bills or live on disability but even as little as $5 can go a long way. Millions of people know of “The Spoon Theory” and “But You Don’t Look Sick” and when you think about it, reaching her goal should be an easy one.

If you are a chronic illness blogger, I ask that you also post for Christine. Post, tweet, retweet, share on Facebook, etc. so everyone can know that for the first time in her life, Christine is asking for OUR help.

If you do not have a chronic illness, I also ask that you thank God you are healthy and donate whatever you can to the woman who has changed so many sick people’s lives.

Thank you.


The “Spoon Theory” Gets a Mention on MTV!

I’ve known Christine Miserandino via on line for over 10 years and her Spoon Theory and her But You Don’t Look Sick web site has helped save my life.

I’m celebrating today with Christine because her name and The Spoon Theory were mentioned on MTV news!

Special thanks also goes out to Deepa Lakshmin who wrote the story about people living with chronic illness.

Basically the Spoon Theory is a way to show healthy people what being sick is like. We are all given a certain number of “spoons” per day and while a healthy person may use 1 spoon to take a shower, it may take away three spoons from those suffering from chronic illness.

Christine and her Spoon Theory has grown so much that people identify themselves as “Spoonies” and I proudly count myself as being one of them.

Thanks again to MTV for spreading the word and congratulations to Christine!