In Other News, Being Chronically Ill Sucks

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Hey, cuties!

How are you? You might have guessed from my radio silence I’ve been struggling a bit. Unfortunately, it comes with the territory of being chronically ill. You may be aware I recently got concussed. I also had a bad reaction to a medication and had to be taken off it, and got put on a trial for a thing I strap to my leg that’s supposed to make my pain go away. So far it just makes my leg feel like it’s falling asleep three times every other hour.

Basically, it’s been a bit of a go of it.

I went home for spring break and banked a cumulative six hours in the dentist’s chair– I still can’t eat hard foods or things that are acidic. I had midterms the last week and am exhausted. Honestly, I didn’t really get a good break which I really needed.

Anyways. I’ve missed writing for this blog and recording podcasts. I’ve been busy trying to catch on sleep and, you know, feeling like I’ve been run over by truck. But I’m trying to rebound.

Watch this space 🙂

xoxo

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Hey cuties!

I’m sorry I disappeared on you! Missed a few blog posts, missed a podcast… because #chronicillness.

First I had a huge flare up of my fibromyalgia, then I took a bit of a spill on a cat toy and got a mild concussion. Which is actually making it pretty hard for me to write this, but I’m powering through.

I’m not sure I’ll be able to keep up my blog that well because reading hurts pretty bad, and writing/looking at a computer isn’t that fun either. But I am planning to put up another episode of the podcast tomorrow!

Thanks for patience and understanding!

xx

Spoonie Spotlight- January 2019

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Hey there, cuties!

I hope you had a good month! As promised in the podcast episode I posted today, I’ve compiled for you today a (brief) list of spoonies who are active online who I wanted to spotlight for this month!

Instagram: my.eds

I think the biggest compliment I can give Rose of my.eds it’s that I actually watch their story, which is not something I usually do. I’m terrible at Instagram, but I definitely always check Rose’s story and page to see what’s going on with them. They (I’m not sure of Rose’s pro-nouns and don’t want to assume) have EDS (as you might have guessed) and share really openly about their struggles and such, as well as plenty of cute puppy content. Highly recommend you go follow!

YouTube: Hannah Witton

Hannah Witton started her youtube channel as a sex positive space, and talked about sex for a lot of her early content. She has evolved into talking more and more about her chronic illness as her Chron’s flared and caused her to get surgery to get an ostomy. I totally recommend all of her content wholeheartedly, and am so excited to read the book version that she’s writing that is an adaption of the series she had on her channel called “The Hormone Diaries” wherein she went off her birth control and such.

FaceBook: Spoonerinos

If you’re not a fan of the podcast My Favorite Murder, this group isn’t for you (and please don’t join if you’re not otherwise you’ll be v confused), but I have to shout them out for being the most amazing, supportive group ever. If you’re not already in support groups on Facebook, I can’t recommend them highly enough! It really helps to know you’re not the only one going through what you’re dealing with– and having a safe, supportive place to ask for help and advice.

Have any recommendations?

Drop ’em in the comments below! And don’t forget to go show these people some love ❤

 

xx

January Favorites :)

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Hey, cuties!

Hope you’re well! Two of my favorite YouTubers just posted their January favorites, and I was tickled because, hey, I’m posting mine! So exciting! This isn’t really chronic illness related, but this is my blog and I’ll post what I want to. 😉

General Lifestyle

1. Sleepy Body Lotion from Lush

This was actually a gift from my parents for Christmas and I’ve become obsessed. I’m really bad at remembering to put on lotion after I shower but this smells so good I’ve been remembering every night. I love that the scent lasts overnight, and how moisturized I feel all the following day. It’s a mix of lavender and tonka, and that scent totally does make me feel sleepy– but also just ridiculously happy.

2. Bullet Journaling

Even when I was home for break and not doing much of anything (thanks, terrible reaction to Cymbalta!), I was bullet journaling, though during that time I was really just doing it as a creative outlet. Now that I’ve started school, my daily pages are a mess (yes, I need a full page for a day) BUT I’ve been so productive and I haven’t been forgetting things. I finished all my homework for Wednesday by Monday night this week. I plan on doing a whole post on this sometime soon, so keep an eye out for that!

3. My Fancy Keurig

Story time: I recently broke my regular coffee maker, and we (as in my parents and I) decided to get me a Keurig. Now. I’m not a huge fan of coffee, but I can down a latte like no one’s business. I was originally planning on getting a Keurig and a milk frother, but then I discovered that Keurig just released their K-Cafe model that has a frother built in. It’s $20 more expensive than the regular machine, but that’s just the cost of a separate milk frother! So, in short, I freaking love this Keurig.

Books

4. The Libby App

Libby is a library app– the new iteration of Overdrive. It’s much more user friendly than Overdrive ever was, and I’ve been absolutely obsessed with it because it makes it just so much easier for me to read books. I’m a traditionalist and I prefer real, physical books, but that’s just not as practical as eBooks are– especially when I can read them for free through my library! In fact, these next two favorites are actually books I read on the Libby app!

5. The Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes

I’ve been hearing about this book for so long, and really wanted to read it, but with my crazy college schedule I don’t always have time for reading, unfortunately. But then I was stuck on the couch during the whole Cymbalta debacle, I was reading like nobody’s business (thanks, Libby!). I loved this book so much, which isn’t surprising because so far I’ve loved everything Shonda Rhimes has ever done. It’s a really eye-opening book that definitely made me think about how much I say “no” to things, and I totally plan on changing some of that (within reason, as fibromyalgia screws up a lot of the things I want to do).

6. The Curated Closet by Anushka Rees

I’m totally planning to write an entire blog post about me cleaning out my closet, and how I go about updating it, using the information and worksheets in this book (and the accompanying workbook). This is another book I originally read on Libby and loved so much I bought a physical copy of it as well as the workbook. While there is a little talk about capsule wardrobes, this book is actually about just curating down your closet to make it easier to pick out outfits and so you’re only wearing things you love– and also so you shop less, which I’m sure my parents would love!

Media

7. The Anna Edit

I have now watched almost all of the videos Anna has uploaded and I have to say she is my new favorite YouTuber. Her blog is also absolutely amazing, as well, but her British accent combined with her style and insights make her YouTube way amazing. She does fashion and lifestyle videos, and is the literal coolest. Also– expect to see her book, An Edited Life, in next month’s favorites (it doesn’t come out in the US until February).

8. Sex Education

I absolutely devoured this Netflix series. Though, I have to warn you: when they say this is for mature audiences, they mean it. Literally within like the first minute and a half you’re watching two people have sex and seeing a girl’s boobs. Which isn’t at all a bad thing, in my mind, but something to keep in mind. This series is full of nuanced characters, well-written storylines, and really touching moments– along with moments that are so funny you’ll actually laugh out loud. NGL, I’m totally going to be rewatching this show again way too soon. I literally cannot wait until the next season comes out!

Let me know your favorite from this month in the comments!

xx

3 Articles/Blog Posts I’ve Read Recently and Loved

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Hey there, cuties!

How you doing? All gucci? Hanging 10? I’ve had a very strange month– it started with a bad reaction to a medication, then flying back to Boston for school, and my semester starting.

I’ve been doing a lot of reading, especially at the beginning of the month because I was really struggling when I was dealing with the medication thing. I thought I’d share them with you so you can enjoy them as well!

Article #1: The New York Times Article Re: Violins

This is an amazing article called “To Save the Sound of a Stradivarius, a Whole City Must Keep Quiet” by Max Paradiso. It’s exactly what it sounds like, and it’s an unbelievable story. I have to say, the way this is written is amazing and beautiful and so creative (you’ll see what I mean when you read it!). I’m interested in this of course because I’m a musician, but I think this is something anyone would enjoy because it’s completely crazy and also like really cool.

Article #2: Is Actually a Blog Post

This is a blog post by Lucy Moon (love her and her videos!) called “Toxic Friendships: How To Spot Them, How To Leave Them” from her blog. I got a lot of shit from people in high school when I broke off my friendship with a toxic friend, so I totally related to it. I also identify with it because I was a terrible friend in my senior year to one of my closest friends because we were growing apart and I was stubbornly holding on as tight as I can. Definitely recommend reading this, especially if you think you’re in this situation.

Article #3: Huffington Post Article Re: Hysterectomy

The last article I want to mention is from the Huffington Post, and it’s “I Needed A Hysterectomy At Age 31. Doctors Fought Me Every Step Of The Way.” by Ace Ratcliff. In it, Ace talks about how they had to deal with doctors tell them they wouldn’t perform a hysterectomy when they hadn’t had children yet because “You might change your mind about having children. Your future partner might want children!” (direct quote of a direct quote lol). The reason Ace didn’t/doesn’t want children was because of their EDS (Ehler’s Danlos Syndrome) and the risks it poses during childbirth, as well as not wanting to pass EDS onto their children.

🙂

I have to give a quick shout out to The Anna Edit because I’ve also been loving reading her blog, but I’m planning to make a full blog post about my wardrobe and that’s what she blogs about.

Any recommendations of things to read? Let me know! And make sure to check back on Thursday to see my favorites from this month!

xx

My Three Event Rule: Where I Find Events (Podcast Post)

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Hey there cuties!

EEK Episode four of the The Chronically Cute Podcast just went live! I can’t believe I’ve been so good about posting and everything, and that we’ve made it through a month of podcasting already.

Today’s episode (which you can listen to/find a link to your favorite place to listen to here) is about my Three Event Rule. I’d totally recommend listening to that episode, but what it boils down to is I have made a rule for myself that I have to keep three things on my calendar that I’m looking forward to at all times.

But where do I find these events? Especially ones that are cheap or free? Well, that’s where this blog post comes in!

Places to Go

One of the first things I think about is whether there’s a museum nearby I want to visit, either for the first time or the like sixtieth. I love going to art museums, but I rarely make time for it. If I schedule it ahead of time, I can look forward to going leading up to that day– and I can make sure not to schedule anything I don’t want to do (like going to a doctor’s appointment or running errands) for that day. If you’re worried about ticket price, see if your library has a museum pass system, or, if you’re in college, where you get free admission.

If there’s a movie I’m excited to see, I’ll pick a day after it’s released to plan to go see it. As far as cost, my college does give us two free tickets a week to go see movies (!!!) so for me it’s inexpensive. Another thing to consider is not buying concessions (though if you sneak some in– which I’m not condoning– make sure you throw them out outside the movie theater like in a trash can on the street).

We All Have Our Go-Tos

The first places I check for scheduled programming are my local bookstore and library. I do love reading, but both these places run programming that isn’t book-related as well! I’m actually going to an event at my favorite local bookstore on Tuesday 🙂

I also check the music venues near me that often have musicians I love, as well as my school’s events. For me, these tend to be one and the same often since I study music, but these are probably more separate for the general population.

There are Dedicated Websites for This!

I live in a city, so I’m lucky and there are a few websites dedicated to events going on around me. If you just google where you live and “events” you’re likely to find a similar site for where you live. I like doing this because I find events I never would have heard of otherwise.

Plans With Friends Count!

If you’re busy, like me, and don’t always get to see your friends, you know that hanging out with friends can, unfortunately, feel like a treat. I don’t really count things like going out to get coffee and study, or a last minute pamper night, but things like a movie night you plan a week in advance or a Galentine’s Day hangout are totally fair game! Of course, you can totally count whatever you want if you’re adopting this 🙂

Bonus points, of course, if you do the other events with your friends!

Are you thinking you’ll give this “rule” a try? Let me know in the comments, and let me know how it goes! ALSO! Please tell me in the comments if there are any ways to find things to do that I missed!!!

xx

 

Setting Myself Up For Success This Semester

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Hey there, cuties!

As I mentioned in my blog post on Tuesday, I started a new semester this week! So far I’m really liking my classes (though I’ve obviously only been to them once and even then really I’ve only been to like three of my seven classes at this point), and I’m excited to see what I learn from these courses.

Today I wanted to talk about what I do to set myself up for success at the beginning of the semester. I think you can definitely do this whenever you’re coming back from a break, even just a vacation or holiday, if you aren’t currently in school. Of course, this mostly applies to those of us still in the education system (god help us).

I start by getting my calendars sorted.

My fibromyalgia gives me TERRIBLE brain fog, and the way I counteract this is by keeping my bullet journal, calendars, and Google Calendar up to date. Personally, I use multiple planners/calendars to keep everything organized, but if you can keep things organized with one planner, more power to you.

I plan to do a dedicated post on how I plan and how I use my bullet journal to manage my illness and track my health, so keep an eye out for that. If you’re really excited to see that, let me know in the comments so I post it sooner rather than later.

This past weekend, I double checked that all my appointments were in my calendar as well as in my bullet journal, as well as setting up for the week. I also put all the assignments that were posted on my course sites in my assignment tracker so I had at least a small idea what I was going to have to get done this week.

When I got back into town, I tried to sort out my apartment and make it live-able.

Unfortunately, I didn’t end up finishing before the week started so I’ve still been working on it even though class has started. In any case, I definitely made a major dent in it before classes started and that’s been really helping. It’s so nice to wake up and walk into a clean, organized kitchen to make breakfast then take a seat in my (relatively) clean, organized living room.

I still need to finish cleaning up my “office” area (my apartment is really weird), set up my desk, and clean out my closet– which I’m saving for last because it’s what I’m most excited to do. But after I’ve organized all of these things, I’ll be getting someone in to clean my apartment. Like, actual cleaning with soap and shit. Luckily I can have someone else do it for me, because I physically cannot.

When I had my schedule finalized, I ordered my books for pick up to skip the lines.

I like to buy my books from my bookstore online for in person pick up. This way I just have to walk in and tell them my name and they’re just waiting for me. The line at the bookstore can get ridiculously long, and I don’t have the patience to wait.

My next steps…

…are to make notebook covers for all my digital notebooks (I take my class notes on my iPad with my fancy pants Apple Pencil), organize my papers, and get my desk sorted so I have a place to put my textbooks.

Here’s Hoping It’s A Good Semester!

What have you done to prep for this semester, or even just this month or season? Let me know! (And don’t forget to let me know about that planning post 😉 )

xx

 

Communicating With Professors

College

Hey there, cuties!

Today was my first day of the semester– craziness! I only had one class but I loved it and I’m already really excited for this semester. For those who don’t know, I’m a junior in college majoring in songwriting (yes, it’s a real major, yes at a real college, yes my job prospects concern me).

I had my first conversation with a professor today and it made me want to share with you the two conversations I have at the beginning of the semester when I meet my professors.

Conversation 1: Attendance

I generally am really good about attending class. I don’t ever just not go for the sake of not going, however I do often have health issues that get in the way of me getting to go to class. However, this week the real conversation I’m having is just in regards to attendance as far as doctor’s visits are concerned.

My professor this morning only gives one “free” absence, so I made sure to ask him if doctor’s appointments counted against that. I don’t schedule any weekly appointments to conflict with my classes, but sometimes when I see a specialist I don’t have as much flexibility. For example, I made an intake appointment in September for next week, because that was the earliest I could get in. But now it conflicts with my school schedule and I can’t reschedule it now.

I find that being upfront makes it easier to miss class later because you have that line of communication open already.

Conversation 2: The “Imma Peace” Conversation

This is something I’ve stopped needing to do, but this was a conversation I had in high school a lot. The “Imma Peace” conversation is basically me warning teachers that sometimes I need to step out of class because of anxiety. This happened more when my anxiety was worse in high school, and now in college I can excuse myself without having to ask permission so I don’t really have this conversation with my teachers.

I call it the “Imma Peace” conversation because the signal I used in high school was a peace sign. I’d get my teacher’s attention and give them a peace sign and signal to the door, then leave. This worked because I had this in 504 plan– if you have a mental illness, chronic illness, or disability, look into getting a 504 plan. This is your way of getting accommodations!

These weren’t always easy conversations to have…

But the more I have them, the easier it is for me to do so. I generally know what I’m going to say, and I’ve literally never only had one teacher react poorly (and that was more because the issues arrived later in the semester and this was high school).

If you want any further advice about these conversations, let me know in the comments! Do you talk to your teachers at the beginning of the semester? Let me know!

xx

Flying With An ESA

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Hey there, cuties!

I just took a flight yesterday from home to Boston, where I am in school, and I did so with my emotional support animal, Abby. She’s a ragdoll cat and the most adorable little thing buuuut she’s not great at flying! So today I thought I’d run you through what yesterday was like flying with her so I can give you my tips and tricks.

Before Your Flight

There are a few things to know when you’re booking your flight. If you’ve never flied with your ESA before, it’s important to consider these things:

  • If you have a cat, or plan to travel with your pet in a carrier, your carrier needs to be TSA approved to fit under the seat in front of you. More than that, you need to be confident that you can get it under the seat without squishing or tipping your animal too much.
  • Your animal should be really well acquainted with the carrier before you’re flying so they feel more comfortable.
  • You need to submit paperwork to the airlines. Look on their site for their requirements. I know American Airlines has a specific packet, but other airlines might just require a submission from your doctor.

Basically: choose your carrier wisely, make sure you get your animal used to the carrier before the trip, and make sure you do all the paperwork for the airlines.

Personally, I’m really lucky and, since I’m still in college, my parents pay for my flights, so we fly first class because Abby is fifteen pounds and not overweight (she’s just a big cat). This makes it easier to get her carrier under the seat because there’s so much more room.

Prepping for the Flight

The day of, make sure you take away food and water in the morning. You can find more information about what to do and why, but I’ve found that this alone for my cat (not sure about dogs) works really well.

Abby has a thing with her stomach where if she gets stressed she gets pretty sick (or if her stomach just feels like it, or if she doesn’t eat only her prescribed food), so I do give her medicine to keep her calm on the flight. Or, at least calmer than she would be without. She was prescribed these meds by a vet- do not medicate your animal unless your vet has prescribed that medication.

Before we leave the house, I put Abby in her harness and attach the leash, and put her in the car. We (against most advise) let her kind of roam the car when we go to the airport. While this isn’t necessarily safe, when my dad is driving I feel comfortable letting her roam. This means she doesn’t have to be in her carrier for as long, so she tolerates it better later.

Getting to the Gate

First thing’s first, check in at the counter. You’ll probably need to show your paperwork for your animal, so you might need to do this in person. Otherwise, checking in ahead of time means less time with your animal in a busy area.

You might have wondered why I put my cat on a leash, and this is the main reason: when going through TSA, your animal has to be taken out of the carrier and carried through the metal detector. Abby is a trouble maker, and if she wasn’t on a leash she might get away from me.

Personally, we travel with a pet stroller. Abby’s a big cat, and carriers are surprisingly heavy, and I have physical limitations (looking at you, fibromyalgia!). So, we use a stroller. Once we get through security (which is pretty quick for us because I’m TSA Pre-Check, which really speeds things up), I transfer her into the stroller because it’s easier for me and she likes it better. As long as I keep the stroller moving, she doesn’t meow!

Top Tip: If you’re traveling alone, don’t buy a drink in the airport that doesn’t have a screw top. I made this mistake my first time flying with Abby, and ended up spilling it everywhere trying to get her carrier under the seat.

We gate check our stroller so I can use it up to the gate, then I transfer her into the carrier. Even though that means I’m technically bringing three “bags” onto the plane, I’ve never had a problem. If you’re planning to travel with a pet stroller, make sure to check with your airline that it doesn’t count against your bags.

On the Flight

Legally, your animal can sit on your lap as long as they are behaved. That means that if Abby is screaming from her carrier, she can come up and sit on my lap. This particular flight, she stayed in her carrier because she seemed happier there, but most often I do take her out.

When you get to your seat, ask your seat partner(s) if they are allergic to your animal. Personally, I haven’t encountered this problem yet (thank goodness) but I know that I would offer to move. People ask me all the time what I’d do in this situation, but I can’t help but think about how the airline knows ahead of time that I have an animal and if their allergy is bad enough they’d need me to move, they could have told the airline ahead of time, too. Of course, I wouldn’t call anyone out in real life, I’d still offer to move. Just a thought.

Basically for the whole flight, my focus is split between my phone and Abby. It’s not worth it for me to pull out something else to do, because Abby usually sits on my lap. And I know that I want Abby’s presence on the plane to be as little a hassle for my fellow passengers as possible.

When she’s in her carrier and she meows, I reach in and pet her, and that placates her. When she’s in my lap, sometimes I put her back in the carrier and that calms her down. Basically, I do whatever I can to keep her quiet but also happy.

I can’t speak for long haul flights when your animal might need to relieve themself, but there are plenty of articles about it.

Post Flight

Right after we get off the plane, I pull over at the gate and take Abby out and give her a break from the carrier. She walks around a bit, stretches, and gets pets. When she’s calmed down, she goes back in her carrier and we go get our luggage.

I do this because I know she’ll have to be in the carrier for the next forty five minutes– fifteen to get my bag and into the Uber, then half an hour to get to my apartment. She can’t handle that long being in the carrier. If she sat in my lap, she doesn’t get a break.

The first thing I do when I get home is let her out of her harness, and give her a kiss. Before I address any of my needs, I fill her litter box, fill her bowl, and set up her water fountain. No matter how stressful the flight was on me (this time, completely stress free! woo!), it was three times as stressful for her. 

Abby settles back in at my apartment immediately every time we come back. This is definitely home for her. She was purring up a storm, brushing up against me, and begging me for pets within an hour.

That’s Pretty Much It!

If you have any questions, please ask in the comments and I’ll be sure to answer you!

If you want to find out more about what the process of getting an ESA looks like, and what having one is like, check out my podcast, The Chronically Cute Podcast, on Sunday!

Fibromyalgia- The Chronically Cute Podcast Episode 2

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Hey cuties!

Today the second official/first full episode of The Chronically Cute Podcast is up today! There are EIGHT places you can listen to it now! Eight! (If you can’t tell, that’s really exciting to me). You can hear it on Anchor, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Breaker, Pocket Casts, RadioPublic, and Stitcher. It will be available other places soon but at least we got Apple and Stitcher, right? To find it, click here to look at the anchor profile, click “listen on your favorite app” and pick an app! Or just listen through anchor 🙂

So What Did We Talk About Today?

Today’s episode was about fibromyalgia, a real fun disease wherein you have chronic pain all over as well as other special symptoms like mood disorders, cognitive issues like trouble focusing (affectionately dubbed fibro-fog), and other great issues like insomnia and vertigo. Basically, it’s a terrible time.

I decided to start off with fibromyalgia because I personally have it, and I wanted to start with something I’m familiar with.

Have Something to Add?

Have personal experience with fibromyalgia you want to add to what I said in the podcast? I’m planning to do a follow up podcast featuring your personal stories! Email me about it at chronicallycuteblog@gmail.com 🙂 I want to hear your input! You can either email me your comments type out, or you can include a voice memo as long as it’s concise and the audio is clear. If you do send a voice memo, please introduce yourself unless you’d like to be anonymous. Either way, please indicate whether you want me to give your name, and what name I should say if so.

Resources from the Podcast

As promised, below are the resources I used to put together this podcast episode so you can do more research!

General Fibro:

Most of my information came from WebMD and MayoClinic, both of which I trust. These were my main resources for information about the basics, like causes and treatments. I also found supplementary information from Very Well Health.

Related Symptoms:

IBS: I got the information used in this episode about IBS from MayoClinic.

 

Interstitial Cystitis: I got the information about Interstitial Cystitis (Painful Bladder Syndrome) from MayoClinic *if you heard the symptoms on the podcast and thought this might be something you have, please read more about it because I really barely skimmed the surface covering this condition.

TMJ: Most of the information I gave on the podcast I knew from personal experience, but I did reference the MayoClinic page as well.

 

Treatments:

Medication: I used this article from WebMD for reference for what medicines are prescribed for fibromyalgia.

The quote I gave and other information about myofascial release came from this website.

I used this article from the website Medical News Today to research recommended exercise for those with fibromyalgia.

That’s All for Today, Folks!

Watch this space for a blog post this Tuesday and Thursday, then another podcast next Sunday wherein I tell you all about me getting my emotional support animal 🙂