HealthyWomen.Org Article: Tips for Preparing for the Holidays When You’re Chronically Ill gave me the opportunity to share how I prepare for the Holidays while managing my chronic illnesses: rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, and chronic migraine.

To read my latest article, click on the link provided below.

Jogging Journal: Day 6

Tuesday, December 12th at 4:31 A.M. – I didn’t need an alarm to wake me from my deep slumber. The town’s snow plows did an excellent job of that! Obviously, my morning work-out was going to consist of using a snow shovel before I did anything else.

I dressed in 3 layers of clothing AGAIN then made my way to the front of my house where I proceeded to shovel the porch, 5 steps and the LONG sidewalk leading to Main Street.

I love being a homeowner, but my body isn’t quite on board with all the work I’ve had to put into making my house look presentable on the outside.

After 30 minutes of clearing the 3-4 inches of snow so that I could make it off my own property, I decided to at least walk a mile. My body wasn’t bothering at that point and walking would help me to clear my mind for writing later that day.

All and all, my morning was rather productive. I got a good upper body work-out and no joint pain that whole day. That my friends, is what I would call a small victory!

Until next time….

Jogging Journal: Day 5

Monday, December 11th at 5:05 A.M: We got about 2 inches of snow last night. That meant shoveling snow off my sidewalk before heading out for my early morning jog.

At least my body wasn’t giving me any type of grief.

It took me about 30 minutes to clear off the main street side walk plus my own and salt over the concrete. There was no way I would be jogging today! Whatever energy I had in me, went into clearing those sidewalks.

Before I started walking, I checked for ice. If there is one thing I wanted to make sure to avoid, it was slipping on the pavement. If there were too many spots with ice, I would call it a day and try again tomorrow.

After testing out the traction on my shoes I forged ahead and walked the entire mile on my route. Very slowly I might add. Again, it was all about safety first.

I know that the upcoming months will be questionable for training outside. I might even have to change the times I head out for jogging if the conditions are more favorable later in the day. Got to love wintertime in Wisconsin!

Jogging Journal: Day 2

5:15 A.M. on Tuesday, December 5, 2017 – I get out of bed and my legs already feel like jello from the jogging I did the day before. The strong winds roaring outside are enough to let me know I was going to have to wear even more layers than I had anticipated.

It hadn’t even been 5 minutes yet and here I was struggling against my rheumatoid arthritis. I guess it decided it was time to rear its ugly head again. My fingers refused to cooperate as I fumbled with my clothes for at least 10 minutes to finally get fully dressed. Tying my shoes was a total nightmare!

I did a few stretches before my body made it known the only other exercising I’d be doing this morning was walking. My limbs should have loosened up the moment I walked one block, but they didn’t. They just progressively became stiffer. I could turn back and go home, but I didn’t want to. I needed to at least try to go a few more blocks and then maybe I would be okay with the distance I had already walked.

I passed the first of two gas stations with overwhelming soreness in my hips and knees. It wasn’t just my rheumatoid arthritis giving me grief. My fibromyalgia decided to join in and make the rest of my journey home an uncomfortable one.

The wind was extremely strong and frigid. One would have thought it’d be enough to make anyone want to stay inside. Not me! I was determined to complete one mile today. And that’s exactly what I did.

And what’s even better, is that during me trying to keep my mind off the throbbing pain radiating off each major joint on my body, I came up with an idea for a new book! Who would have thought that my brain could concoct a concept for my next novel and give me titles for at least 11 chapters?

That gave me more of a reason to walk as fast as I possibly could, so I could jump on my laptop and write every, little single detail down before it slips away from me.

No matter what motivation I had for today, it turned out to not be such a bad morning after all.

Till tomorrow!

Today Parenting Team: How Careful Planning Helps my Chronically Ill Child Attend More Events

Check out my latest Today’s Parenting Team article on how I’ve successfully helped my son attend more events; like seeing Coldplay in concert this past summer.

Spoonie Mom Blogs: Jaime Sanders of Migraine Diva


Jaime Sanders of Migraine Diva

When I first met Jaime it was through one of the many online support groups for people living with chronic migraines. She was a friendly face amongst the sea of migraineurs that always had insightful content on Twitter and Facebook. Her positive outlook on the worst of days is part of what makes this spoonie mom remarkable.

A few months back I finally had a chance to speak to Jaime about the exciting things happening in her life.

During our very long conversation I learned that we had quite alot in common. The 30 years of living with migraines, more failed treatments than successful ones, the debilitating physical/emotional pain all the while trying to be the loving wife and mom was something we both connected on.

Her blog is a true reflection of who she really is. She’s very open about the way each of her ailments complicate her every day life. This woman does not hold anything back when she writes her posts. I admire that!

Despite all of the challenging obstacles that Jaime endured in her lifetime, she knew it was those unfortunate circumstances that would give her the courage to help educate others about chronic migraines and depression.

This past August, she was invited to sit on the More to Migraine Panel during the BlogHer Event.

This is a photo that features the More to Migraine Panel at the 2016 BlogHer event. Jaime joined Dr. Susan Hutchinson, a headache specialist and migraine sufferer, Shannon Albert, a patient speaker, and Serene Branson, who served as the moderator.

She even had the opportunity to join an Excedrin campaign that focused on fostering empathy from those that might not understand why migraines are not just headaches.

This is one of the videos that Jaime appears in.

All I have to say is this woman is on fire! I see great things in Jaime’s future. Possibly a talk show with that stellar personality.

Jaime is a beautiful person on the inside as she is on the outside. I am truly honored to know this migraine diva and lucky enough to call her my friend.

To learn more about Jaime and view the other videos by Excedrin visit her blog:

Don’t forget to show this woman some love by liking her Facebook Page:

You can also follow Jaime on Twitter or Instagram:




Chronically Ill and Working


Something major happened in our household this week.

For the first time in a little over 4 years I returned back to the work force.

I know what you’re thinking. Women go back to work all the time so what’s so major about this? For starters, I was forced into being jobless. Actually, it was my body that made me not be able to hold down a job.

You heard me right! My body was the culprit as to why I could no longer do the many things like I had before. The main one was walking unassisted.

All I remember is it was the Friday evening before a full weekend of birthday parties. I had finally crawled into bed after writing a chapter for a book that was soon to be published. In no time I drifted off to sleep.

In the early A.M. hours the loud echoes of my kids laughter in the hallway woke me out of my deep slumber and…..


Just like that my whole face, left arm, and every single one of my fingers was numb. I tried to stand up, but fell onto the chair that was next to my side of the bed. I had somehow lost all of my lower body strength.

It was like gravity ceased to exist beneath my feet. To make matters worse the world around me wouldn’t stop spinning.

With the help of my oldest daughter and husband I got into our vehicle to head out to the ER worried I was having a stroke. One EKG and CT later a stroke was ruled out. This left the doctor baffled to what was going on with me. So I was given a referral to an E.N.T (Ears, Nose, Throat) Specialist and sent home.

The next day I saw the Specialist with high hopes of finding out what the hell was going on with me. I didn’t find anything out that day or for the next 2 months for that matter. I had all types of blood work, some odd test that shot water in both ears while I recited the alphabets, an additional CT, a MRI, an Angiogram, and Angioplasty. All results came back negative for ruled vertigo, Lyme disease, a brain tumor, concussion and tons of other medical conditions I was thought to possibly have.

I was beginning to think I had some new illness or disease that no one had heard of yet. I just wanted to be normal again! Well the normal I had grown quite accustomed to in my 35 years of life.

After a month of Vestibular Physical Therapy sessions to see if I could regain my balance a possible answer to my odd medical condition presented itself. My Physical Therapist started digging into my prior health background and that is where he began to suspect my decreased motor skills and dizziness was linked to neurological issues; ones that were caused by migraines.

I’m not going to lie. I laughed. I shook my head in complete disagreement and chuckled at this man’s logic. How on earth could migraines be the cause of so much grief? For cripes sake! I’ve had those horrible head demons for the past 20+ years and NOT ONCE did I ever have issues with speaking, walking, or feeding myself.

Nope! I was not going to believe something like migraines could ever be that disabling. That was just ludicrous!

Of course, by month #3 of seeing absolutely no improvements with my health I became desperate. I decided to take the advice of my Vestibular Physical Therapist and got another referral. This time it was to see a Neurologist.

15 minutes into my appointment I FINALLY got an answer to why I felt that I was permanently strapped into a non-stop tilt-a-whirl.

I had Vertigo Associated Migraines that were Chronic.

To say that diagnosis went right over my head was an understatement. I seriously had no clue what either one of those health conditions were. I knew the migraine part but even that didn’t make any sense to me. My migraines always had auras and would make me blind in one or both eyes. And when I did get them the attacks would only last 2 -12 hours. Not every, single day.

It was a few minutes later that I would start on a path to being educated about a neurological disease that over 38 million American’s have and currently there is no cure for.

Oh, by the way there are other types of migraines. Yeah! That was actually news to me at that time.

In total, I spent 240 days STRAIGHT experiencing chronic migraines.

I even went 18 months without driving due to the severity of my symptoms. You’d think having a chauffeur 24-7 would be great. It wasn’t! All it did was make me feel helpless and a burden to my loved ones.

During that time I tried 30 types of prescription medications, a variety of vitamins, Botox injections, and alternative methods to help with my pain/symptoms. I eliminated gluten for about 2 months and drank more water to stay hydrated. I even went as far as to travel out-of-state for about a week thinking a change in climate might actually help. It didn’t. I only came back home in worse shape than when I left.

Honestly, I still live with chronic pain. I still get migraine attacks like the one I had on Tuesday and today. When my fibromyalgia flares up it can cause me to have a migraine attack as well.

Then there’s my cluster headaches that are seasonal (Fall and Spring) When I get hit with a cluster attack it happens around the same time (11 AM & 1:30 AM) each day. The right side of my nose gets extremely stuffy while my right eye tears up. If I’m wearing mascara and eyeliner, but forget to use waterproof I end up looking like Alice Cooper.

I knew when searching for a job, part-time and evening hours were a must. There’s no way I could deal with being around people when the beast hits me for those 25-30 minute span. Trust me! I isn’t a pretty sight to see someone in the midst of a cluster headache.

They cuss, punch things, sometimes even bang their head against objects in hopes of feeling any other type of pain than the one they’re experiencing in that moment. Having a limb amputated without anesthesia would be less painful than a cluster headache. It’s actually scientifically proven to be one of the most painful disorders known to man.

You’d think with all of my health conditions I would just give up on the notion that I could hold down any kind of job. But I never have. I’ve been waiting for this very day to arrive and now that it has I’m truly thankful.

Like the George Bailey type of thankful in It’s A Wonderful Life. You know when all of that bad crap happened to him and he realized how wonderful his life truly was.

I seriously took everything I had for granted in my life before becoming chronically ill. I had a job, but never thought for a second I’d lose it. Then I was let go after the FMLA expired on my current position at the bank I had worked for. I know I wasn’t fired for being a crappy employee, but I still felt like a failure.

It took almost 2 years for me to come to terms with the fact my chronic illness is the villain in my real life story. Now I just find new ways to defeat it. I know there will be days that I’ll come out victorious and other days I won’t be as lucky.

Either way I do my very best to remain positive throughout this crazy adventure I seem to always be on.

First Day of Work Since I Became Debilitated From Chronic MIgraines
First Day of Work Since I Became Debilitated From Chronic Migraines