Helping women with chronic illnesses


Picture courtesy of wikipedia

Picture courtesy of wikipedia

Don’t pass out. This might be my shortest post ever. Rest. I have lost count of how many thoughtful people have suggested in just the last 24 hours that I should rest. Rest. It’s important. I’ve blogged plenty of times previously about the importance of self-care. Rest is under the self-care umbrella. Sometimes I don’t practice what I preach. Sometimes I push myself too hard. My body is not happy with me right now. I have been overdoing. So… I am going to listen to my thoughtful friends and take it down a few notches. I’m not going to write a complicated blog post today. I’m sure anyone reading this blog can appreciate the crucial importance of getting sufficient rest. So I’m going to wind this post down by reminding you that there is a blog giveaway going on now for the book “Authentic Happiness”. See the giveaway blog post for details on how to enter. (It’s really easy). There are many previous posts that you may want to check out so I encourage you to look around. “Browse” my new blog and see what you find. Also, everyone, remember to rest when you need to. Your body will tell you when.

This post was written by Jeanne at Copyright © Jeanne — All rights reserved.

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Reading: Rest


1 JasmineNo Gravatar { 06.11.09 at 4:05 pm }

Rest up Jeanne. I can’t take my eyes off that gorgeous photo 🙂

Jasmine’s last blog post..Understanding Invisible Illnesses

2 Dorian aka coffeesister |_|)No Gravatar { 06.11.09 at 4:12 pm }

I’m SO glad you’re taking your own advice! 😮 I can’t help but be reminded of a post I wrote that remains a personal favorite — “To rest, perchance to live:” — which I’ve linked to w/CommentLuv below.. So, rest up Jeanne &, if you need encouragement, read the post. 😉 Just remember, we’d rather suffer the silence than have you suffering unnecessarily.

“Sometimes the most urgent thing you can possibly do
is take a complete rest.” ~ Ashleigh Brilliant

Dorian aka coffeesister |_|)’s last blog post..To rest, perchance to live:

3 Jannie FunsterNo Gravatar { 06.11.09 at 4:25 pm }

Well, dear Jeanne, authentic happiness does start with a well rested body!

Take care.

Jannie Funster’s last blog post..Gravatar update

4 YayaNo Gravatar { 06.11.09 at 6:46 pm }

Please get that rest!!!

Yaya’s last blog post..RTT-Dear Letters

5 Twitted by tammey { 06.11.09 at 8:54 pm }

[…] This post was Twitted by tammey – […]

6 sherdeniseNo Gravatar { 06.11.09 at 9:31 pm }

Hi…I found this through YaYa and just had to pop over. I look forward to reading more of your blog…I have endometriosis…
I”ll be back when I have more time to browse!

sherdenise’s last blog post..Recent movies…

7 PatriciaNo Gravatar { 06.11.09 at 10:29 pm }

Browsing and enjoying – don’t get up you can find this later. I too have a drippy cold and am taking is easier – a nap was just what I needed to turn the corner to the upside! Rest is natures best healer

Patricia’s last blog post..There’s a place For Me

8 JeanneNo Gravatar { 06.11.09 at 11:49 pm }

Isn’t that photo beautiful? I just love it. It makes me think of rest.

Dorian aka @coffeesister,
I am trying to pull back and rest. It’s not easy for me. My Internet Service Provider/phone company messed with the router configurations earlier. So I couldn’t access my own blog for quite awhile. I told my friend it was “forced rest”. 🙂 I love that article you linked to in CommentLuv. Excellent and very relevant. Thanks! BTW, good luck suffering silence for long with me around… I don’t stay silent very long. 🙂

Yes, rest is surely an ingredient for the recipe for authentic happiness. I wonder who will win the Authentic Happiness book? The suspense is building…. Where’s that drum roll?

Yes, I’m trying my best to rest, rest, rest the best I can.

If you see this, thank you for tweeting about this post. Everyone, Tammey is @tammey on twitter and she is a sweet, thoughtful, lovely woman. If you’re on twitter, I highly recommend following her.

Welcome! Cool eye avatar! Thanks for stopping by! So glad you found us. Endometriosis is how Alicia (Yaya) and I met… through a local support group. She she’s my in-friend buddy too. Glad to hear you’ll be back to browse because there’s a great deal of info. I look forward to seeing you again soon! 🙂

So glad you’re browsing and enjoying. I’m sorry to hear about your drippy cold. I have been drippy from allergies and I found a homeopathic that really helps. (We’ve been going through LOTS of tissues in this house)!

Glad you’re taking it easier. Naps can be lifesavers! Hope you turn that corner and feel 100% soon. Yes, rest really is nature’s best healer. 🙂


Thank you very much everyone for your comments and your patience while I got the little gnomes out of my computer. (Actually Hubby found some gnomes in our router). I’m just happy that the phone company’s random changing of the router has been fixed thanks to my wonderful hubby going in and him messing with the router to make it work again. Yay, back on my blog!


9 SonjaNo Gravatar { 06.12.09 at 12:29 am }

Sending calming, restful thoughts your way!!

Sonja’s last blog post..My Little Girl

10 JeanneNo Gravatar { 06.12.09 at 12:33 am }


Thank you!! Ditto…


11 AmandaNo Gravatar { 06.12.09 at 6:31 am }

Take good care of yourself, Jeanne, truly you have worked so hard recently just getting this new blog sorted out I am amazed you’re still awake (I wouldn’t be!) – rest and dream and be peaceful x

Amanda’s last blog post..Sometimes I wonder…

12 EndochickNo Gravatar { 06.12.09 at 10:26 am }

About time you get some rest! Go and lay down and rest. We will carry on without you – or everyone else will carry on without the two us, cause I’m still not at 100% either. Will be soon, I’m sure.

Endochick’s last blog post..Miserable

13 Jenni Saake - InfertilityMomNo Gravatar { 06.12.09 at 12:03 pm }

{{{hugs}}} Glad to see you are going to take care of yourself!

Jenni Saake – InfertilityMom’s last blog post..Ever Still Feel Infertile?

14 JeanneNo Gravatar { 06.12.09 at 1:51 pm }


It’s funny that you mention sleep because I took my own advice literally and slept longer last night than I have in a LONG, LONG time. I guess you could say I kind of crashed. Hmm, do you think maybe I was tired? 🙂


15 JeanneNo Gravatar { 06.12.09 at 1:52 pm }


I hope you feel better real soon. Rest up. I hope your father’s feeling better and that your new job is going well! 🙂

Take care,


16 JeanneNo Gravatar { 06.12.09 at 2:02 pm }


Well, hugs back to you! I haven’t talked with you in awhile. Thanks for stopping by! Yes, my body has been giving me all the warning signs. You know… the stop signs, flashing lights, and automatic brakes? Yup. Pretty much any warning sign the body can give to say, “SLOW DOWN” or “STOP”… I have been getting. So, I’m listening. Granted, I should have listened sooner… but sometimes it’s hard to pull back. I got the most sleep last night that I have gotten in a very long time. So, that’s good. Thank you very much for stopping by and checking out my new blog. I’m so glad it’s up and running! 🙂

Take care,


17 JeannetteNo Gravatar { 06.12.09 at 10:55 pm }

I am so glad you have finally decided to take it down a few notches and rest and relax–you need it. No one can be effective at anything they attempt if they are exhausted, and you had taken yourself to exhaustion. Have a good rest-come back raring to go-ok maybe I might be pushing it, not raring–but rested… and by all means no need to reply to my post-that comes under the work category. Chat with you again soon.((((((((((((((((HUGS))))))))))))))))))))

Jeannette’s last blog post..I HAVE HOPE AGAIN!!!

18 JeanneNo Gravatar { 06.13.09 at 12:17 am }


Don’t worry. I slept in really late today, I blew off Follow Friday on twitter for the first time ever, and we had a nice dinner with a relative from out of town tonight. Replying to your comment isn’t work. If I were to restrain myself from responding to this at this time, that would be work. I appreciate your concern. I’m OK. Yes, I have been exhausted lately. This is no shocker to me. I knew I’d be exhausted with the blog switch-over. I just need to rest a little more proactively than I do sometimes. Waiting for utter exhaustion is not the way to go. Yes, I’ll chat with you again soon. Wow… let me see if I can match those hugs: ((((((((((((((((HUGS))))))))))))))))))))


19 Sherrie SiskNo Gravatar { 06.14.09 at 3:20 pm }

Yep, rest and sleep (not the same thing, of course) are both crucial to our body’s ability to heal. So much of this journey is about listening to your body, learning to “read” its signals.

20 MariaNo Gravatar { 06.14.09 at 3:22 pm }

Hi! Just found your blog through a chronic dose. I am a 24 year old graduate student with Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy in all four limbs trying to live my life despite this beast of a disease. I hope you will check out my blog. It’s been super well received! Enjoy your rest!

Maria’s last blog post..**EDIT: Prednisone & Stuck In The Victim Role

21 MariaNo Gravatar { 06.14.09 at 3:23 pm }

Oh, and p.s. I slept 12.5 hours last night. A new record. We need the rest!

Maria’s last blog post..**EDIT: Prednisone & Stuck In The Victim Role

22 JeanneNo Gravatar { 06.14.09 at 3:30 pm }


Yes, rest and sleep are both important. You’re absolutely right. It is also very true that developing the ability to listen to one’s body and to pay attention to the messages really is key to healing. Years ago, I ignored my body’s messages and pushed myself way too hard. Over time, I have learned that blocking out the body’s messages can carry a painful price. It’s a hard lesson to learn and one I still struggle with. Finding the right balance can be challenging. I totally agree with you… Learning to “read” the body’s signals is so important. Then comes the sometimes-challenging task of following the body’s wishes. 🙂


23 JeanneNo Gravatar { 06.14.09 at 4:59 pm }


Welcome! I’m so glad you found my blog. I am so sorry for your pain!!

I am familiar with RSD… While I have not officially been diagnosed with it, my acupuncturist once asked me if I had been diagnosed with RSD. (My acupuncturist does not make diagnoses of Traditional Western Medicine conditions but the man is a sheer genius and I had already read a pile of stuff about RSD on my own before he asked me that and had wondered myself if I have it). So it’s one of those things where I don’t diagnose myself with things but I can certainly suspect.

In my case, I had a surgery that did not go as planned in January 2008. It was my 7th surgery. The first 6 surgeries were all for endometriosis. The 7th surgery followed 2 nerve blocks and me living in off-the-charts pain for over 4 years. I did NOT want another surgery. (I knew that the “entrapped nerve” that would be cut in surgery #7 was most likely caused by having so much surgery). In any event, I finally agreed to the nerve-cutting surgery.

The nerve I consented to for cutting was the genitofemoral nerve. (An inguinal hernia had been ruled out during my 2004 surgery). Well, they ended up cutting both the genitofemoral and lateral femoral nerves. (I don’t know why they did the latter but I sure wish they hadn’t)!

After surgery, I had phantom pain. This pain was frightening beyond belief. I had had endometriosis pain that was so severe I had passed out. I had been through 11 kidney stones. By this point I had been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, which really hurts badly. I had experienced a labor so complicated that my life was in danger. However, I had never experienced anything pain-wise comparable to the phantom pain. (Well, the labor did get really painful but there was an end in sight with that pain. With the phantom pain, there was no end in sight).

When I went to the post-op appointment after surgery, my doctor was baffled. He gave me a couple of things to try that didn’t help at all. I was desperate and scared. The pain was unspeakable. I will never forget this as long as I live. There were 2 days between my post-op appointment and my acupuncture appointment. It was a long 2 days. The phantom pain area is the entire left thigh… front and outer side and then up onto my hip.

Being January at the time, when I had stepped outside for that post-op appointment… my thigh froze. I mean it literally felt like it was frozen. My thigh felt like a chicken drumstick looks when you take it out of the freezer. It felt so cold and it hurt sooooooooooo badly. (My thigh was equally sensitive to heat).

Taking a bath was out of the question because the pressure of the water against my skin was far, far more than I could possibly take!!! When I tried to, I screamed in pain. It was a MAJOR deal finding clothing that I could wear to make it to the post-op appointment. (Clothing at home had not been happening. Too painful)!

If a cold wind blew against my leg as I was getting in the car to go to the doctor, it would literally knock me down. It sounds strange but it’s true. The pressure of the wind hurt so much that I just went down.

Anyway, enter my acupuncturist. I explained what was happening. (I had been seeing him for years and he knew I was having surgery). Anyway, he immediately began looking at it as phantom pain (like amputees get). In the days leading up to this appointment, my husband and I had scoured the Internet (as did a friend of mine who’s great as researching medical issues). Anyway, we hadn’t mentioned it to him but all 3 of us thought it was phantom pain. Now he thought so too.

In any event, by the day of the acupuncture appointment I was having great difficulty walking. My husband helped me walk in. With lots of help from him, I got into the office and managed to get up on the acupuncture table. My acupuncturist worked some points he’d never worked in all the years I had been seeing him. My bad leg was so sensitive that it was out of the question to put needles in it. (I should clarify that he puts needles in me all the time and they do NOT hurt. This, however, was a special circumstance). He creatively placed magnets on my leg in ways that didn’t cause agony. Anyway, he gave me a complex explanation but the bottom line that I took out of it was, “for 39 years, messages have travelled over those nerves… your 2 nerves may have been resected but the nerves are confused and they don’t know that yet”. I think it had to do with neurotransmitters or something. All I know is he was essentially trying to “re-wire my brain” to get it less confused.

Guess what? An hour after hobbling in with major help from Hubby, I walked out on my own. Now, to be clear… that improvement (significant though it was!) did not mean that I was “going to be fine”. Not at all. However, over a period of months having regular acupuncture, I regained the ability to do daring things like… take a bath. To this day, it is very difficult for me to shave that leg and I hardly ever do because it hurts and feels really creepy.

The neurologists tell me that this is permanent. My leg is messed up for good. I have to guard my leg at all times. By that I mean, if I’m out in public somewhere I have to have my husband on my left side or I have to position my body so that nobody can get on my left side. If someone accidentally brushed up against my leg, I would go down like a brick. (I can’t even brush lint off my pants. That’s too much pressure).

One time a soccer ball came my way (from a long distance, at a pretty slow speed) high enough in the air that it hit me on my bad thigh. I went down flat on the ground. It a reflex I can’t control. The special neurologist that my surgeon wanted me to see for my leg (as opposed to my regular neurologist who diagnosed my neuropathy) wanted me to have a nerve conduction test. I had done 2 nerve conduction tests prior (one of which burned my skin with the electrode). I was very scared indeed at the prospect of a nerve conduction test on my bad leg. Very scared. Well, the tech tried to do the test and I tried VERY hard to stay still. However, she was unable to complete the test. You see, my reflexes were causing me to jump up off the table with each shock. I totally couldn’t help it. Her comment was that she couldn’t proceed with the test because she felt like she was torturing me (which she was)! So they didn’t get a complete test but they got the idea.

That was the doctor who said this is a lifelong problem. It’s not like I’m getting those nerve pieces back. Anyway, the pain that I have to this day is very severe. Overall, I have worse pain now in this area than I did before the nerve-cutting surgery. Medications do nothing for it. Acupuncture is THE ONLY thing that helps it for me.

I’m sure you know a ton more about RSD than me because I haven’t done a lot of reading on it. (I have so many conditions that I have trouble knowing where to throw my energy… That includes figuring out what to read). I do know I’ve read of people who develop severe pain following surgery and, if I’m not mistaken, nerve-cutting surgery would definitely be a potential trigger for RSD? All I know is that when I sit at the computer like I am now, I sit on top of 3 blankets on a high-quality leather office chair that most people would find very comfortable. With the “comfy chair” and the 3 blankets, I am still in very severe pain to sit.

When my husband is available to drive, I still sit in the backseat of the van to extend my leg (just like I did for 4 years before the surgery). I do still drive but it hurts and I drive as little as possible. I give a new meaning to the term “backseat driver”!

Anyway, I don’t know if I have RSD or not but I do know that my left thigh (mainly front and outer side all the way back around) and up onto my left hip HURTS BADLY. When I go out certain places, I actually take my own chair. Hard chairs are not an option and neuropathy makes standing not an option either.

Anyway, I’m known for being pretty chatty but I’m not normally this chatty in blog comments! However, as soon as I saw that you have Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy it somehow just opened up my whole story you just heard. I would not be surprised if I have RSD.

I don’t know if you’re on twitter but if you’re not you might want to set it up. The reason I say that is that I have several twitter friends who have RSD. The funny thing is that RSD patients keep following me on twitter and I don’t know how they are finding me. I don’t mention RSD in my profile. Somehow several RSD patients have found me on twitter. (I’m starting to feel that I am meant to learn more about RSD). This is the first time I have had an RSD patient comment on my blog, though. Anyway, if you are on twitter I can scroll through my followers and find the twitter addresses of a few people for you.

Wow… I’m so glad you found my blog. Yes, I will most definitely check out your blog! Thanks for stopping by!


24 JeanneNo Gravatar { 06.14.09 at 5:13 pm }


Good for you!! Yes, we need the rest is right!

Thanks again so much for stopping by and checking out my new blog.

I look forward to checking yours out!


25 MariaNo Gravatar { 06.14.09 at 6:23 pm }

Hey again! First off, thank you soooo much for visiting my blog. I’m truly honored as you are a seasoned, totally awesome blogger! Second, I am so so so sorry to hear what you have been through at that you suspect RSD. Honestly, I would not wish this on my WORST enemy. The pain is so severe and not even the strongest pain meds can take it away. I’ve been on morphine and am now on the fentanyl patch with no real relief, but my docs are working on titrating me up. I’ve even had a ketamine infusion, 5 day inpatient, that was awful and not worth it. I really wish you some serious relief, and I am saying some prayers for you.

I know exactly what you mean about all the good that comes from disease, and sometimes, I am think about it and get so thrilled that I learned all these awesome lessons before age 24! The rest of my life is going to be so worth it and gorgeous, I just wish I could get this pain under control now… With pain this bad and no medications that work, it is really difficult to go out and change the world as I plan to do! I am getting my masters in clinical social work, mental health, and plan on working in a pain clinic or hospital, or privately, with other illness warriors to help them learn the tools to cope. I just finished my first year with a 4.0 GPA!!!! Don’t even ask how… I don’t even know! I need strong hydrocodone just to get out of bed in the morning.

Anyways, I am so happy to have “met” you, and I look forward to staying in touch. I’m not on twitter, but maybe I will try it out. Feel free to pass my blog along to those you know with RSD. Maybe it will be helpful to them to hook up with someone else who has it.

Oh, and I think why RSD people find you is because you have “chronic illness” and RSD is considered that. There seems to be that common bond with all people who have chronic illnesses.

Thinking of you and sending prayers and positive energy your way!

<3 Maria

Maria’s last blog post..**EDIT: Prednisone & Stuck In The Victim Role

26 GraceNo Gravatar { 06.14.09 at 8:42 pm }

Being able to know when to rest and slow down is one of the most essential aspects of being able to stay healthy. This is not just healthy in the body, but in your spirit, as well as emotionally and psychologically. Your whole being is revived and kept healthy with rest.

Thanks for sharing your own particular need to rest. It will inspire the rest of us to take care as well.


Grace’s last blog post..Add Your Values to Your Parenting

27 JeanneNo Gravatar { 06.14.09 at 11:01 pm }


Hey again! Well, to that I say thank you for visiting me first! I’m truly honored that you are visiting my blog… so I guess that makes us even!! 🙂

I am so sorry for everything you have been through with the pain meds…

Yeah, pain at that level (whatever name you want to put on it) is hard to even put into words. It can just take you over so that it’s all you can think about. Painkillers don’t help me. I do take some medication for my neuropathy (not really in the painkiller class) that helps that pain to a degree and I do have medication that helps my interstitial cystitis pain… but the classic painkillers (right up through the narcotics) don’t help me AT ALL with pain associated with my many other conditions that cause severe pain. On top of that, I can’t tolerate the side effects or narcotics. (When I was younger narcotics did help my pain and the side effects were tolerable but my body has changed).

So I am fanatical about acupuncture. OK. Not literally fanatical in a bad way. I just really, really love acupuncture since it is my best tool for so many things!!! I know what it’s like to be in excruciating pain during the 20s while trying to do well in school. It’s hard!! I am sending thoughts and prayers your way too.

It may sound strange to some… the notion of good coming from illness or disease. It is quite unusual to have the grasp on this concept that you do at such a young age. How long have you had RSD? Your very positive attitude and spirit are awesome and will help you greatly with the challenges ahead of you. Yes, it is very frustrating when the body can’t/won’t do what the mind wants it to do. Just try to be careful because forcing the body to do things can backfire down the road. (Been there, done that).

Clearly you want to use your firsthand experience in your work and that’s a great idea. Congratulations on your 4.0! I won’t ask how… even though I could probably make some guesses. Of course, my guesses could be dead wrong. If you’re wondering what I’m talking about, I had some 4.0 semesters myself. In fact, I graduated with a 3.65 GPA. Like you, I got these grades while in incredible pain (mostly endometriosis at that point with other serious illnesses starting to creep in during college, such as interstitial cystitis). I also worked about 35 hours a week with a full course load! There was only one slight problem in my case. I wasn’t practicing good self-care. The biggest problem was sleep deprivation. I simply did NOT get enough sleep. So, I was all proud of myself for getting good grades… and I did work hard to get them. In my case, though, there was a price. I look back now and think that I didn’t do my health any favors back then. I don’t mean to imply that good grades aren’t great. They are! I can only speak for myself that for me to get those grades required making sacrifices that negatively impacted my health.

That’s my friendly, trying-to-be-helpful way of saying “be careful”. (I’m trying not to sound like I’m a lecturing old fogey).

I am so happy to have “met” you too. Yes, I look forward to staying in touch too. If you decide to do twitter, let me know and I can give you some hints that might be helpful for you. I will share your blog address with people I know of who have RSD.

You’re right about people with chronic illnesses having a common bond and, yes, that is probably how they found me. The reason I found it interesting was that I had several people with RSD in a short time span find me and it wasn’t like they were even connected to each other. In other words, RSD patient #1 followed me and then 2 days later RSD patient #2 followed me and when I checked their profiles, they weren’t linked so I was the one getting them connected with each other. This happened a few times. So it was just interesting.

I am thinking of you and also sending positive energy and prayers your way!

<3 Jeanne

28 JeanneNo Gravatar { 06.15.09 at 12:14 am }


Rest really is important for healing. It took me many years to accept/acknowledge the fact that I wasn’t resting enough and I still struggle with finding the right balance to this day. The frustration of having far more things we want to be able to do than we can without potentially jeopardizing our health can be tough to swallow. You are very right that rest is needed not just for physical health but for health in the spirit, emotional health, and psychological health. Rest truly does affect one’s entire being.

Thank you, Grace! 🙂


29 MariaNo Gravatar { 06.15.09 at 11:34 am }

Thank you for the link! It’s such a small world… I know her because she randomly found my blog!

Maria’s last blog post..**EDIT: Prednisone & Stuck In The Victim Role

30 KathyNo Gravatar { 06.15.09 at 1:28 pm }

You really have an awesome site. Excellent article on proper rest. It is so very basic, yet of primary importance. Thank you for sharing.

31 JeanneNo Gravatar { 06.15.09 at 1:36 pm }


Have you known her for awhile or did she just find your blog? I ask because I gave her your link yesterday. Have you checked out her YouTube channel? I just subscribed to it last night myself. (By the way, I have a YouTube channel also. So please check it out when you can). That’s great you two are connected. You seem to have quite a bit in common.


32 JeanneNo Gravatar { 06.15.09 at 1:38 pm }


Thank you. I haven’t always given rest the proper respect it deserves. So I have learned the hard way just how important it is. It’s a hard lesson to learn. I enjoyed visiting your site today. Thanks for stopping by! 🙂


33 Kelly DNo Gravatar { 06.17.09 at 12:49 am }

I was going to say “It’s about time you got some rest.” But I see with all of your commenting you’ll still working hard. I hope you are resting anyway. Book was mailed to Allison today.

Kelly D’s last blog post..Fret Not

34 JeanneNo Gravatar { 06.17.09 at 1:14 am }


Oh, Kelly, the cat’s out of the bag. You’re just a little too smart for me. Hopefully you’re not checking timestamps or I’m a goner. 🙂

Seriously, I really DID get some rest. For example, the other night I was so exhausted that I slept 11 hours straight. That has to count for something. Then, today, I got up and took care of some things I needed to do and was wiped out. So I decided I just had to lie down. The next thing you know, I was waking up and it was time to leave for the dentist. (I ended up being 4 minutes late and I wasn’t exactly driving slowly). Seriously, I have backed way off on things. Those comments came in over a period of days. I am so far behind on twitter I may never catch up.

It’s hard to rest quite as completely as I would like to amidst a blog launch but I truly am holding myself back quite a bit from what I’d like to be doing. (Yes, I am about to call it a night. So, don’t worry about me not sleeping).

Thank you (!) very much for mailing out Allison’s book today. I know she was happy to win the “happiness” book. 🙂


35 Melissa RalstonNo Gravatar { 07.04.09 at 9:36 pm }

I thank you Jeanne for reminding us all of the importance of rest. We ignore our bodies so much that it does us no favors whatsoever. We do push ourselves, each and every day. We have to often live in a world that has very little understanding for our chronic pain and are forced to pretend that we are well. We are questioned by doctors as to whether our bodies messages are true or not. However when it comes down to it, those messages are the only way we have of knowing that we need to “slow down”.

Slowing done is something that I don’t do successfully. I’m not afraid to admit it. I enjoy working, I enjoy writing my blog and keeping up with my large internet support group that I run. I greatly enjoy the many conversations that I have with other chronic illness individuals. And I also need to contribute to the “maintenance” ie. the cleaning, of the apartment. To completely rest and do nothing, even though I meditate, drives me to tears of boredom. Rest is clearly a concept that I must work on. Now that I am more or less forced to rest, I believe I’m going to get a great deal of practice!
.-= Melissa Ralston´s last blog ..Endo and CMP =-.

36 JeanneNo Gravatar { 07.05.09 at 1:49 pm }


It’s true that most people in Western society tend to “push themselves” every day… even if that means pushing themselves PAST healthy limits. It’s part of how we are socialized.

It’s true that most who are chronically ill wind up spending at least some amount of time “pretending” to be well (or healthier than we are). This may be a hard concept for those who are healthy to grasp but it’s very common. The word “pretend” here can get a bad rap. It makes it sound like patients are being dishonest. Well, people do what they need to do. One could be the most honest person in the world without a bone of pretense in his/her body… yet work in an environment where customer service is a factor. Obviously, moping around in front of the customers and complaining about symptoms is not acceptable. However, what becomes the alternative to that if one truly feels ill? In order to provide excellent customer service, the chronically ill patients learns different ways of disguising the pain, minimizing the appearance symptoms that rear their ugly heads, distracting people from noticing symptoms, etc.

This can become such a strong pattern that it expands into other aspects of one’s life. For example… family and friends may often not understand the scope of the chronic illness(es) in question. The patient may find himself/herself also forcing his/her body to engage in activities that are clearly beyond healthy limits in an attempt to “keep up” with others, not be viewed as “anti-social”, and not get into disagreements with others over it.

It goes on and on. Many chronically ill patients begin to find themselves acting like they feel far better than they actually do for a large chunk of their time. This is DRAINING! It’s one thing to be positive and upbeat and avert pity parties. It’s another thing to act “fine” when really in incredible pain (and/or experiencing other symptoms). I have met many people who begin to feel like frauds because they “grin and bear it”, “suck it up”, and SMILE even when they feel terrible. This begins to feel hypocritical to some and inauthentic to others.

Are there risks involved to {gasp} “admitting” just how sick one is? Yes. Will some friends, relatives, and co-workers make life difficult when the chronically ill patient puts a hand in the air and says, “I need to rest now” or “I’m in pain and I can’t do xyz activity”. You bet. However, what’s the alternative? You only get one body. What could the consequences be of pushing, pushing, pushing at a time when the body fairly screams, “REST“? Obviously the consequences vary from person to person and situation to situation but clearly ignoring the body’s pleas for rest can be a dangerous move.

As you pointed out, Melissa, those messages from our bodies ARE our way of knowing we need to “slow down”. Sadly, as you mentioned, our own doctors sometimes question whether or not the messages are valid. Rather than teach us the great value of listening to our bodies, sometimes doctors actually do the opposite… encourage us to block the signs out.

Melissa, slowing down is hard for lots of people. I’m one of them. I totally “get it”. At the same time, in your case, your health is very fragile right now and you’ve been put on bedrest for a reason. I know you’re bored and I wish I could wave a wand to stop that from being the case. Yes, I think it’s clear that rest is a concept that you’re going to need to devote some attention to, given your extreme circumstances. Yes, it is “forced rest”. Look at it this way… if you could force yourself to push through and make your body do things it didn’t want to do for years on end then you can “force yourself to rest” for a few months, right? I know, I know. Easier said than done. As you know, though, there are good reasons you are on bedrest. So try to do whatever you can to rest. Thank goodness for your laptop, right? 🙂


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