Suffering in Silence: Life with Autoimmune Disease

For those unfamiliar with autoimmune disease either personally or by association, the best description I can give is your immune system, which keeps you healthy, begins attacking healthy cells – your body essentially attacks itself. There are a multitude of autoimmune diseases: Rheumatoid Arthritis, Lupus, Celiac’s Disease, Scleroderma, Psoriasis, Sjogren’s syndrome, Ploymyalgia rheumatica, Pernicious Anemia, Multiple Sclerosis, Type 1 Diabetes, Chrohn’s Disease, Vascultitis, etc.

According to the American Autoimmune Related Disease Association (AARDA,) over 50 million Americans are affected by autoimmune diseases with over 80 types of known autoimmune diseases. Autoimmune disease can run in families and 75% of those suffering from an autoimmune disease are women. African-American, Hispanic, and Native Americans have an increased risk of developing an autoimmune disease.

As with many diseases, autoimmune disease can have stages from systemic to remission. As a point of clarification, I’m not officially diagnosed with an autoimmune disease. My entire life I have lived with a loved one who has multiple autoimmune diseases. I also have friends with autoimmune diseases, especially conditions that became prevalent after college.

My blog post isn’t just an autoimmune disease awareness post, but an exploration into living with those silently suffering with these diseases.

 

auto immune disease
What Can Aggravate an Autoimmune Disease?

 

  • The Dignity of the Human Person: “A person is an entity of a sort to which the only proper and adequate way to relate is love.”- St. John Paul II, Love and Responsibility. Tragically, our culture maintains a mostly utilitarian and social Darwinist approach to the dignity of the human person- if you can’t quantify the worth by the socially accepted rubric it ain’t there. I’ve witnessed the very real, painful struggle of a loved one clinging to their intrinsic worth and dignity while the world feeds them lies about how they are a burden on their family, loved ones, community, and society. A person is person regardless of form or function. Even the sickest or most deformed and seemingly inconvenient person is a child of God and reflects some aspect of the divine. Love bears all things and believes all things. Love rejoices in the truth.
  • People vs. Things: As the graphic above depicts, everyday life can be life threatening to a person with an autoimmune disease, especially a person facing a systemic autoimmune disease. Don’t even get me started about the inundation of artificial fragrances and bath/beauty/home products in North America creating a toxic environment. People don’t want to live in bubbles, but when the outside world is toxic, your options can be limited. Our home may be hypoallergenic and fragrance free, but we chose that long before it became a life-threatening need. Sometimes the process is arduous, expensive, and inconvenient or seemingly hopeless. But by choosing the person over a lifestyle and the things that make a lifestyle, we gain more than we “loose” in inconvenience, appearances, and expense. Our lifestyle may not be “sexy” or “glamorous” but it’s worthwhile and authentic.
  • A Person Isn’t a Tool: “You must remember to love people and use things, rather than to love things and use people.”- Venerable Fulton J. Sheen. A person isn’t a utility knife once rusty or broken you either repair or discard. Sometimes you can’t “repair” or “fix” a person, but you can suffer with a person (i.e., compassion.) Life with autoimmune disease or living with a person with an autoimmune disease isn’t easy and can be hard- the best type of hard. The lifestyle requires and demands mental/emotional/spiritual energy, staunch courage, creativity, perseverance in adversity, and loads of divine grace. Having a decent sense of humor and a level of abandonment in Christ helps too. But I found many people who struggle and suffer with an autoimmune disease have an immense capacity for joy and hope.
  • Learning About Yourself/Learning to Adapt: I went to dinner with my friend who is a Licensed Massage therapist and works with patients who have autoimmune diseases. She listened to my story (my family’s story and the difficulties we were facing.) She paused and stated, “You want to be frustrated with a person with an autoimmune disease when you can’t plan anything or commit to anything with certainty, but you can’t be. It isn’t their fault because no-one can predict how and why and what may happen hour by hour. And they are the one’s who suffer with this daily. How frustrating it must be for them.” She captured a rare truth. Living with a person suffering with an autoimmune disease is an exploration into one’s self (a mirror of sorts): your motivation, your priorities, your definition of commitment and relationships, your worldview, your sense of humor, your selfishness and selflessness, your compassion and empathy or the lack-there-of, your faith and the importance faith in your daily life, your humility, your pursuit of virtue versus vice, and whether you have the courage to live in the world but not conform to the world.

Thank you for reading and your support!

 

St. Lidwina, patron saint of chronic pain and chronic illness,  pray for us!

 

 

 

How To: Pray the Miraculous 54 Day Rosary Novena

Months ago I wrote a blog post The 54 Day Rosary Novena . . . Whew! expressing my initial experience with praying this beautiful and arduous rosary novena. The post gives an overview of how the 54 Day Rosary novena came to be. A labor of love, the Miraculous 54 Day Rosary novena cultivates virtue and the fruits of the Holy Spirit with each Hail Mary and bead that becomes a crown of love and virtue placed upon Our Lady’s brow.

I find myself again amid the early stages of the 54 Day Rosary Novena. A place I had not imagined I would be again so soon. Life has an unexpected and expected way of happening. I decided to cling to Our Lady and the hope of her intercession instead of my own control.

But how does a person pray to 54 Day Rosary Novena? Do I just pray 54 Rosaries or 1 Rosary over 54 Days? Are there specifics prayers or format that make the Rosary Novena distinct from praying the Rosary? Yes and Yes.

Noname
St. James Cathedral, Seattle

THE OVERVIEW: 9 Novenas Total

54 Days: 1 Rosary per day

The Mysteries of Rosary: The Joyful Mysteries, The Sorrowful Mysteries, & the Glorious Mysteries. (The Luminous Mysterious were not yet revealed at the time of the 54 Day Rosary novena and subsequent format.)

Day 1-27: Petition

Day 28-54: Thanksgiving (regardless of whether your petition(s) have been “answered” or not.)

Format: Beginning Prayer, Prayers after Each Decade, & Closing Prayer  (Some purist would disagree, but I include the Fatima prayer “Oh My Jesus” even though the pray had not been revealed in 1884.)

 

THE JOYFUL MYSTERIES OF THE HOLY ROSARY

Prayer before the recitation: Sign of the cross. Hail Mary.

In petition (first 27 days): Hail, Queen of the Most Holy Rosary, my Mother Mary, hail! At thy feet I humbly kneel to offer thee a Crown of Roses, snow white buds to remind thee of thy joys, each bud recalling to thee a holy mystery, each 10 bound together with my petition for a particular grace. O Holy Queen, dispenser of God’s graces, and Mother of all who invoke thee, thou canst not look upon my gift and fail to see its binding. As thou receivest my gift, so wilt thou receive my petition; from thy bounty thou wilt give me the favor I so earnestly and trustingly seek. I despair of nothing that I ask of thee. Show thyself my Mother!

In thanksgiving (last 27 days): Hail, Queen of the Most Holy Rosary, my Mother Mary, hail! At thy feet I gratefully kneel to offer thee a Crown of Roses snow white buds to remind thee of thy joys each bud recalling to thee a holy mystery; each ten bound together with my petition for a particular grace. O Holy Queen, Dispenser of God’s graces. and Mother of all who invoke thee! thou canst not look upon my gift and fail to see its binding. As thou receivest my gift, so wilt thou receive my thanksgiving; from thy bounty thou hast given me the favor I so earnestly and trustingly sought. I despaired not of what I asked of thee, and thou hast truly shown thyself my Mother.

  • The Apostles’ Creed, Our Father, 3 Hail Marys, Glory Be. [Fatima Prayer.]

The Annunciation – Sweet Mother Mary, meditating on the Mystery of the Annunciation, when the angel Gabriel appeared to thee with the tidings that thou wert to become the mother of God; greeting thee with the sublime salutation, “Hail, full of grace! the Lord is with thee!” and thou didst humbly submit thyself to the will of the Father, responding “Behold the handmaid of the Lord. Be it done unto me according to thy word!”

I humbly pray: Our Father, 10 Hail Marys, Glory Be. [Fatima Prayer.]

Concluding Prayer: I bind these snow white buds with a petition for the virtue of humility and humbly lay this bouquet at thy feet.

The Visitation – Sweet Mother Mary, meditating on the Mystery of the Visitation, when, upon thy visit to thy holy cousin, Elizabeth, she greeted thee with the prophetic utterance, “Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb!” and thou didst answer with the canticle of canticles, the Magnificat.

I humbly pray: Our Father, 10 Hail Marys, Glory Be. [Fatima Prayer.]

Concluding Prayer: I bind these snow white buds with a petition for the virtue of charity and humbly lay this bouquet at thy feet.

The Nativity – Sweet Mother Mary, meditating on the Mystery of the Nativity of Our Lord, when the time being completed, thou didst bring forth, O Holy Virgin, the Redeemer of the world in a stable at Bethlehem; whereupon choirs of angels filled the heavens with their exultant song of praise, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men of goodwill.”

I humbly pray: Our Father, 10 Hail Marys, Glory Be. [Fatima Prayer.]

Concluding Prayer: I bind these snow white buds with a petition for the virtue of detachment from the world and humbly lay this bouquet at thy feet.

The Presentation – Sweet Mother Mary, meditating on the Mystery of the Presentation, when, in obedience to the Law of Moses, thou didst present thy Child in the Temple, where the holy prophet Simeon, taking the Child in his arms, offered thanks to God for sparing him to look upon his Savior and foretold thy sufferings by the words: “Thy soul also a sword shall pierce . . .”

I humbly pray: Our Father, 10 Hail Marys, Glory Be. [Fatima Prayer.]

Concluding Prayer: I bind these snow white buds with a petition for the virtue of purity and humbly lay this bouquet at thy feet.

Finding the Child Jesus in the Temple – Sweet Mother Mary, meditating on the Mystery of the Finding of the Child Jesus in the Temple, when, having sought Him for three days, sorrowing, thy heart gladdened upon finding Him in the Temple speaking to the doctors; and when, upon thy request. He obediently returned home with thee.

I humbly pray: Our Father, 10 Hail Marys, Glory Be. [Fatima Prayer.]

Concluding Prayer: I bind these snow-white buds with a petition for the virtue of obedience to the will of God and humbly lay this bouquet at thy feet.

Spiritual Communion: 

My Jesus, really present in the most holy Sacrament of the Altar, since I cannot now receive Thee under the sacramental veil, I beseech Thee, with a heart full of love and longing, to come spiritualy into my soul through the Immaculate Heart of thy most holy Mother and abide with me forever.

Thou in Me, And I in Thee, In Time and in Eternity, Mary.

In petition (first 27 days): Sweet Mother Mary, I offer thee this spiritual communion to bind my bouquets in a wreath to place upon thy brow. O my Mother! Look with favor upon my gift, and in thy love obtain for me (specify request). Hail Mary …

In thanksgiving (last 27 days): Sweet Mother Mary, I offer thee this Spiritual Communion to bind my bouquets in a wreath to place upon thy brow in thanksgiving for (specify request) which thou in thy love hast obtained for me. Hail, Mary, etc.

Closing Prayers:

O God, Whose Only Begotten Son, by His Life, death, and resurrection has purchased for us the reward of eternal life; grant, we beseech Thee, that by meditating upon these mysteries of the Most Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary, we may imitate what they contain and obtain what they promise. Through the same Christ Our Lord. Amen.

May the divine assistance remain always with us. And may the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

THE SORROWFUL MYSTERIES OF THE HOLY ROSARY

Prayer before the recitation: Sign of the cross. Hail Mary.

In petition (first 27 days): Hail, Queen of the Most Holy Rosary, my Mother Mary, hail! At thy feet I humbly kneel to offer thee a Crown of Roses, blood red roses to remind thee of the passion of thy divine Son, with Whom thou didst so fully partake of its bitterness, each rose recalling to thee a holy mystery, each 10 bound together with my petition for a particular grace. O Holy Queen, dispenser of God’s graces, and Mother of all who invoke thee! Thou canst not look upon my gift and fail to see its binding. As thou receivest my gift, so wilt thou receive my petition; from thy bounty thou wilt give me the favor I so earnestly and trustingly seek. I despair of nothing that I ask of thee. Show thyself my Mother!

In thanksgiving (last 27 days): Hail, Queen of the Most Holy Rosary, my Mother Mary, hail! At thy feet I gratefully kneel to offer thee a Crown of Roses blood red roses to remind thee of the passion of thy divine Son, with Whom thou didst so fully partake of its bitterness each rose recalling to thee a holy mystery; each ten bound together with my petition for a particular grace. O Holy Queen, dispenser of God’s graces, and Mother of all who invoke thee! Thou canst not look upon my gift and fail to see its binding. As thou receivest my gift, so wilt thou receive my thanksgiving; from thy bounty thou hast given me the favor I so earnestly and trustingly sought. I despaired not of what I asked of thee, and thou hast truly shown thyself my Mother.

  • The Apostles’ Creed, Our Father, 3 Hail Marys, Glory Be. [Fatima Prayer.]

The Agony in the Garden – O most sorrowful Mother Mary, meditating on the Mystery of the Agony of Our Lord in the Garden, when, in the Grotto of the Garden of Olives, Jesus saw the sins of the world unfolded before Him by Satan who sought to dissuade Him from the sacrifice He was about to make; when, His soul shrinking from the sight, ad His precious blood flowing from every pore at the vision of the torture and death He was to undergo thy own sufferings, dear Mother, the future sufferings of His Church, and His own sufferings in the Blessed Sacrament, he cried in anguish, “Abba Father! If it be possible, let this chalice pass from Me;” but, immediately resigning Himself to His Father’s will, He prayed, “Not as I will but as Thou wilt!”

I humbly pray: Our Father, 10 Hail Marys, Glory Be. [Fatima Prayer.]

Concluding Prayer: I bind these blood red roses with a petition for the virtue of resignation to the will of God and humbly lay this bouquet at thy feet.

The Scourging at the Pillar – O most sorrowful Mother Mary, meditating on the Mystery of the Scourging of Our Lord, when, at Pilate’s command, thy divine Son, stripped of his garments and bound to a pillar, was lacerated from head to foot with cruel scourges, and His flesh torn away until His mortified Body could bear no more.

I humbly pray: Our Father, 10 Hail Marys, Glory Be. [Fatima Prayer.]

Concluding Prayer: I bind these blood red roses with a petition for the virtue of mortification and humbly lay this bouquet at thy feet.

The Crowning with Thorns –O most sorrowful Mother Mary, meditating on the Mystery of the Crowning of Our Lord with thorns, when, the soldiers, binding about His head a crown of sharp thorns, showered blows upon it, driving the thorns deeply into His head; then, in mock adoration, knelt before Him, crying, “Hail, king of the Jews!”

I humbly pray: Our Father, 10 Hail Marys, Glory Be. [Fatima Prayer.]

Concluding Prayer: I bind these blood red roses with a petition for the virtue of humility and humbly lay this bouquet at thy feet.

The Carrying of the Cross – O most sorrowful Mother Mary, meditating on the Mystery of the Carrying of the Cross, when, with the heavy wood of the cross upon His shoulders, thy divine Son was dragged, weak, and suffering, yet patient, through the streets, amidst the revilements of the people, to Calvary; falling often, but urged along by the cruel blows of His executioners.

I humbly pray: Our Father, 10 Hail Marys, Glory Be. [Fatima Prayer.]

Concluding Prayer: I bind these blood red roses with a petition for the virtue of patience in adversity and humbly lay this bouquet at thy feet.

The Crucifixion – O most sorrowful Mother Mary, meditating on the Mystery of the Cruxification, when, having been stripped of His garments, thy divine Son was nailed to the cross, upon which he died after three hours of indescribable agony, during which He begged from His Father forgiveness of His enemies.

I humbly pray: Our Father, 10 Hail Marys, Glory Be. [Fatima Prayer.]

Concluding Prayer: I bind these blood red roses with a petition for the virtue of love of our enemies and humbly lay this bouquet at thy feet.

Spiritual Communion: 

My Jesus, really present in the most holy Sacrament of the Altar, since I cannot now receive Thee under the sacramental veil, I beseech Thee, with a heart full of love and longing, to come spiritually into my soul through the Immaculate Heart of thy most holy Mother and abide with me forever.

Thou in Me, And I in Thee, In Time and in Eternity, Mary.

In petition (first 27 days): Sweet Mother Mary, I offer thee this spiritual communion to bind my bouquets in a wreath to place upon thy brow. O my Mother! Look with favor upon my gift, and in thy love obtain for me (specify request). Hail Mary …

In thanksgiving (last 27 days): Sweet Mother Mary, I offer thee this Spiritual Communion to bind my bouquets in a wreath to place upon thy brow in thanksgiving for (specify request) which thou in thy love hast obtained for me. Hail, Mary, etc.

Closing Prayers:

O God, Whose Only Begotten Son, by His Life, death, and resurrection has purchased for us the reward of eternal life; grant, we beseech Thee, that by meditating upon these mysteries of the Most Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary, we may imitate what they contain and obtain what they promise. Through the same Christ Our Lord. Amen.

May the divine assistance remain always with us. And may the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

THE GLORIOUS MYSTERIES OF THE HOLY ROSARY

Prayer before the recitation: Sign of the cross. Hail Mary.

In petition (first 27 days): Hail, Queen of the Most Holy Rosary, my Mother Mary, hail! At thy feet I humbly kneel to offer thee a Crown of Roses, full-blown white roses, tinged with the red of the passion, to remind thee of thy glories, fruits of the sufferings of thy Son and thee, each rose recalling to thee a holy mystery, each 10 bound together with my petition for a particular grace. O Holy Queen, dispenser of God’s graces, and Mother of all who invoke thee! Thou canst not look upon my gift and fail to see its binding. As thou receivest my gift, so wilt thou receive my petition; from thy bounty thou wilt give me the favor I so earnestly and trustingly seek. I despair of nothing that I ask of thee. Show thyself my Mother!

In thanksgiving (last 27 days): Hail, Queen of the Most Holy Rosary, my Mother Mary, hail! At thy feet I gratefully kneel to offer thee a Crown of Roses full blown white roses, tinged with the red of the passion, to remind thee of thy glories, fruits of the sufferings of thy Son and thee each rose recalling to thee a holy mystery; each ten bound together with my petition for a particular grace. O Holy Queen, dispenser of God s graces, and Mother of all who invoke thee! thou canst not look upon my gift and fail to see its binding. As thou receivest my gift, so wilt thou receive my thanksgiving; from thy bounty thou bast given me the favor I so earnestly and trustingly sought. I despaired not of what I asked of thee, and thou hast truly shown thyself my Mother.

  • The Apostles’ Creed, Our Father, 3 Hail Marys, Glory Be. [Fatima Prayer.]

The Resurrection – O glorious Mother Mary, meditating on the Mystery of the Resurrection of Our Lord from the Dead, when, on the morning of the third day after His death and burial. He arose from the dead and appeared to thee, dear Mother, and filled thy heart with unspeakable joy; then appeared to the holy women, and to his disciples, who adored Him as their risen God.

I humbly pray: Our Father, 10 Hail Marys, Glory Be. [Fatima Prayer.]

Concluding Prayer: I bind these full-blown roses with a petition for the virtue of faith and humbly lay this bouquet at thy feet.

The Ascension –   O glorious Mother Mary, meditating on the Mystery of the Ascension, when thy divine Son, after forty days on earth, went to Mount Olivet accompanied by His disciples and thee, where all adored Him for the last time, after which He promised to remain with them until the end of the world; then, extending His pierced hands over all in a last blessing, He ascended before their eyes into heaven.

I humbly pray: Our Father, 10 Hail Marys, Glory Be. [Fatima Prayer.]

Concluding Prayer: I bind these full-blown roses with a petition for the virtue of hope and humbly lay this bouquet at thy feet.

The Descent of the Holy Spirit –  O glorious Mother Mary, meditating on the Mystery of the Descent of the Holy Ghost (Spirit), when, the apostles being assembled with thee in a  house in Jerusalem, the Holy Ghost descended upon them in the form of fiery tongues, inflaming hearts of the apostles with the fire of divine love, teaching them all truths, giving to them the gift of tongues, and filling thee with the plenitude of His grace, inspired thee to pray for the apostles and the first Christians.

I humbly pray: Our Father, 10 Hail Marys, Glory Be. [Fatima Prayer.]

Concluding Prayer: I bind these full-blown roses with a petition for the virtue of charity and humbly lay this bouquet at thy feet.

The Assumption of Mary –  O glorious Mother Mary, meditating on the Mystery of  Thy Assumption, when, consumed with the desire to be united with thy divine Son in heaven, thy soul departed from thy body and united itself to Him. who, out  of excessive love He bore for thee, His Mother, whose virginal body was His first tabernacle, took that body into heaven and there, amidst the acclaims of the angels and saints, re-infused into it thy soul.

I humbly pray: Our Father, 10 Hail Marys, Glory Be. [Fatima Prayer.]

Concluding Prayer: I bind these full-blown roses with a petition for the virtue of union with Christ and humbly lay this bouquet at thy feet.

The Coronation of the Blessed Mother –  O glorious Mother Mary, meditating on the Mystery of Thy Coronation in Heaven, when, upon being taken up to heaven after thy death, thou wert triply crowned as the august Queen of Heaven by God the Father as His beloved Daughter, by God the Son as His dearest Mother, and by God the Holy Ghost as His chosen spouse; the most perfect adorer of the Blessed Trinity, pleading our cause as our most powerful and merciful Mother, through thee.

I humbly pray: Our Father, 10 Hail Marys, Glory Be. [Fatima Prayer.]

Concluding Prayer: I bind these full-blown roses with a petition for the virtue of union with thee and humbly lay this bouquet at thy feet.

Spiritual Communion: 

My Jesus, really present in the most holy Sacrament of the Altar, since I cannot now receive Thee under the sacramental veil, I beseech Thee, with a heart full of love and longing, to come spiritualy into my soul through the Immaculate Heart of thy most holy Mother and abide with me forever.

Thou in Me, And I in Thee, In Time and in Eternity, Mary.

In petition (first 27 days): Sweet Mother Mary, I offer thee this spiritual communion to bind my bouquets in a wreath to place upon thy brow. O my Mother! Look with favor upon my gift, and in thy love obtain for me (specify request). Hail Mary …

In thanksgiving (last 27 days): Sweet Mother Mary, I offer thee this Spiritual Communion to bind my bouquets in a wreath to place upon thy brow in thanksgiving for (specify request) which thou in thy love hast obtained for me. Hail, Mary, etc.

Closing Prayers:

O God, Whose Only Begotten Son, by His Life, death, and resurrection has purchased for us the reward of eternal life; grant, we beseech Thee, that by meditating upon these mysteries of the Most Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary, we may imitate what they contain and obtain what they promise. Through the same Christ Our Lord. Amen.

May the divine assistance remain always with us. And may the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

*Christ the King Library , San Bernadino, CA- 03 September 2016 *

St. Therese of Lisieux Novena

st-theresePlease, join me and over 200,000 other members of the Pray More Novenas community in praying this powerful novena to the Little Flower. St. Therese is known as the Little Flower. This is because those who receive miracles by her intercession are often given roses or flowers as a sign. She is sometimes called St. Therese of the Child Jesus as well. Though this beautiful, young woman, who died from TB at the age of 24, lived in a cloistered Discalced Carmelite convent, St. Therese is the patron saint of missions and missionaries for her “Little Way” spirituality and the many lives this saint has touched.

In the Words of my confirmation saint:

“The splendor of the rose and the whiteness of the lily
do not rob the little violet of it’s scent nor the daisy of its simple charm.
If every tiny flower wanted to be a rose, spring would lose its loveliness.”

Below is an excerpt from Day 9 of the St. Therese Novena:

I love your people, Lord. Help me to love them more!
I reflect you to the world, Lord. Help me to reflect you more clearly!
I rely on you, Lord. Help me to rely on you more!
I accept your will, Lord. Help me to accept your will every day!
I try to forgive, Lord. Help me to forgive 70 times 7 times!
I am humble, Lord. Give me more humility!
I see you, Lord. Help me to see you more!
I trust you, Lord. Help me to trust you more!
I love you, Lord. Help me to love you more!

Please, join me tomorrow (Thursday) in invoking St. Therese, The Little Flower.

International Travel & Packing with Chronic Health Conditions

“Leaving on a Jet plane! . . .” Cue the excitement and the thrill of international travel. Regardless, of the reasons behind travel, whether domestic or international, the drive comes from an innate, human curiosity and capacity for learning and experiencing the “other. ”

What does travel look like for a person with chronic health conditions? Depends on the condition and circumstances. Certain conditions may even limit a person’s ability to travel. But I know my packing list and priorities differ from your typical travel blog.

travel

Points to Ponder:

1. Understand the region of the world you are interested in travelling to. Be realistic about your condition(s) and understand the potential risks of visiting an area where you will not have access to certain types or quality of medical care. God be with those that don’t have access to good medical care.

2.  Check with your health insurance company to see if your policy follows you to your travel destination. My past two policies did, but only certain facilities in the UK were covered. If not, weigh your need for a temporary, international health insurance policy.

3. For ease of mind, research how to access healthcare services in your destination country(ies). Most of the world operates on a different healthcare system then the US. The local Embassy website will outline how US Citizens can access different healthcare services within that specific country.

READY TO PACK?

1. Medications The General Rule of Thumb: Carry on your prescription medicine in the original package(s) with a Letter from your prescribing doctor outlining the medical necessity of your medications. Research medication travel guidelines by country you plan to visit. Most Embassy websites within your travel country will have info regarding travelling with prescription medication. If you have less than 3 months of medications, you typically don’t have to disclose to Customs  (varies by country). If you have over 3 months of medications, medications administered by injection or liquids, or medications that are “controlled substances,” assume you will need to disclose to Customs.

2. A Doctor’s Letter. Make sure to request a Letter outlining the medical necessity of your prescription medicine needs, list of prescription meds, and contact info for your prescribing physician at least a 1- 2 weeks before travel. Most doctors are responsive to patient requests, but your doctor could be out of the office. This way you aren’t stressed and scrambling at last moment. Having this letter will help with any Customs inquiries or if you needed any medical attention while travelling.

3. Daily Dosage. Depending on the quantity and shape of your medications, bring a pill case or Ziploc bags filled with your non-prescription medications. Once through Customs, you can easily transfer your daily dosage from the prescription packaging to a convenient and portable on-the-go system. For example, I take more non-prescription and prescription meds daily than can fit in any pill case. I use sandwich size Ziploc bags. Once through Customs, I add my prescription meds to my supplements and grab one bag per day. Do not discard the original medication packaging.

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4. Pack Extra. Pack more prescription medications than days you are actually traveling.  Don’t save space by packing fewer meds. Take another 1-2 weeks of meds for “just in case.”

5. Prone to Nausea. If you’re susceptible to stomach sickness, skip the airline barf bags and pack a couple quart to gallon Ziploc bags. Discreet and practical, these plastic bags allow for better control and ease of disposal. I have complicated migraines and sometimes struggle with nausea.

6. Research Handicap accessibility and guidelines at your intended travel destination. Check with your modes of transportation and lodging about handicap accessibility and accommodations. I do not need special accommodations for accessibility, but please, research for your particular needs.

Most importantly, HAVE FUN and ENJOY the experience of international travel! May God be with you on your next adventure.

St. Christopher, pray for us!

 

 

Catholic 365 Article: NaProTECHNOLOGY for the Unmarried Woman

A couple months ago, I submitted an article to Catholic 365 which was published. This article is a follow-up to an article I wrote a couple years ago. The article is a personal witness and testimony to health and healing beyond hope.

http://www.catholic365.com/article/6864/naprotechnology-for-the-unmarried-woman.html

Stroked

I am a Pediatric Stroke Survivor. Today marks the 13th Anniversary of my left pontine ischemic stroke (I.e., brain stem stroke) which resulted in right side paralysis. Science and medicine can’t explain why it happened nor my 99% recovery, but the Grace of God and His mysterious plan for my life explains the rest.

Survivor

Life has thrown me curveballs that irreversibly changed the course of my life. Having a stroke at 15 years old during my first two weeks of high school certainly caused the ebb and flow of my life to alter.

Some of My Stroked Lessons:

1. Life is beautiful in all its forms and functions.

2. A person’s utility doesn’t make them lovable or not. A person is lovable because they are human.

3. When you loose control of your utilitarian purpose in life and become completely dependent on the goodwill and charity of others, develop a deep sense of purpose not based on external factors.

4. Develop a good, clean sense of humor. Learn to laugh at yourself and life situations. Not only is humor therapeutic but an invaluable coping mechanism.

5. You can either fight your mortality or not. Either way you’re still mortal.

6. Medicine = people helping people to help people. Not perfect people perfecting people to perfect people.

7. Be kind to yourself and others. Suffering a traumatic brain injury will close doors but even if a window doesn’t open look for a transom window. A little light is better than no light.

An Anniversary Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for the gift of life and the gift of healing. Grant increased healing of body, mind, and soul to those that suffer. Grant them peace. Grant their caregivers’ wisdom, quiet strenght, and compassion. Allow them to experience a transcendent hope. Help me to always be grateful, to cultivate joy, to suffer with purpose, to persevere through adversity, to know my limits, and rely more fully on your love and grace. May my life reflect your light to others.

Amen.

Part 1: Pride Goes Before Disaster

“Pride goes before disaster, and a haughty spirit before a fall. It is better to be humble with the poor than to share plunder with the proud.” ~ Proverbs 16: 18-19

Other than the theme of love the theme of pride dominates the majority of literature- Hubris. I learned acutely this week: Pride has no business in an intimate relationship.

St. Augustine wrote, “It was pride that changes angels into devils; it is humility that makes men as angels.” So very true. Pride enslaved us to sin and death. Humility freed us from sin and death.

S. Augustine- pride

Within a loving, intimate relationship pride ruins relationships and wrecks havoc. Pride destroys all other virtues and even other vices. Pride denies sin. Pride ultimately means an over-inflated, misplaced self reliance and rejection of our reliance on Our heavenly Father- Our Creator. Pride is like giving God the middle finger. We puff up like a petty, pouffy self-absorbed grouse. But pride makes us feel good or justified or superior. In reality, we reject God, turn ourselves into mini-gods, and reject the people we claim to love. We’re too busy loving ourselves.

Pride manifests itself in many ways within a relationship: lack of communication, resentment, abuse and control, sexual perversion like pornography or masturbation, holding a grudge, inability to think of others, lying, omitting or twisting the truth, blaming others, whining, etc.

“For pride is spiritual cancer: it eats up the very possibility of live, or contentment, or even common sense.” — C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity.

Pride isn’t the same concept as being proud. We can delight in our gifts, talents, and accomplishments barring maintaining healthy gratitude to Our Creator who bestowed us with the capacity. Pride doesn’t mean having unhealthy boundaries, being a doormat, excusing bad behavior, or refusing to cultivate a conscience that delineates between good and evil. Having convictions or a moral compass  is not automatically pride.

Pride prevents reconciliation, humility, forgiveness, freedom, and virtue. Pride tramples faith, hope, and charity (love.) Pride enslaves a person to their distortion of self reliance and prevents freedom in this life and the next. Pride snuffs out joy. Pride destroys peace. Pride prevents communion and union.

“The greatest misery does not stop Me from uniting Myself to a soul, but where there is pride, I am not there.” –St. Faustina, Divine Mercy in my Soul (1563)

I’m guilty of pride. Pride that hurts others and myself. Daily I struggle with occasions of sin and sin prompted by pride. I struggle to keep prideful behavior at bay within an intimate relationship. Pride can be sneaky too manifesting itself in unlikely manners and places.

What is the antidote to pride? Humility. Not faux humility. Authentic humility. Part 2 of this post will be an exploration of humility.

“Humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less.” — C.S. Lewis