How do you Talk about Your Illness?

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How do you talk about your illness? Which words do you use to talk about your illness? What is your tone when you speak about it? How do you stand while talking about your illness and what about your body language? How do you describe your illness to your doctor, friends or your family?

For me, there is nothing worse than someone who bangs on and on about their illness. It’s exhausting. Especially when there is nothing you can do to help them and it doesn’t seem to be going away.

There is only so much of this I can listen to before I want to back away and never ask them how they are ever again. It’s unnecessary to go on and on like this. It doesn’t help anything.

Everyone is fighting something. Everyone has something huge to deal with in their life.

As a chronically ill person, I choose to discuss my illness as little as possible. I don’t want it to leak into my life. I don’t want it to be all they see. I don’t want it to get me down.

The more I think about it, the more I can’t ignore the impact of my speech upon my attitude. How I talk about my illness directly impacts how I feel towards my illness.

So this is my New Years Resolution when I need to discuss my illness, I will speak positively about ITP for a whole year. Continue reading

Feeling Grateful

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Giving thanks, or to put it another way, being nice first.

For a long time, I never realized just how important Thankfulness (is that a word?) and Gratefulness (that has got to be a word) is to Happiness (definitely a word).

For a long time, my default was to be in a bad mood, and then wait until things cheered me up. If I knew I had to get a blood test in the afternoon, I would waste an entire morning feeling sorry for myself in preparation for the afternoon.

I would head to the doctor too early, then waste too much time sitting around for no reason. Afterward, feeling sore and sorry for myself I would grumble all the way home, poor me… blah blah blah – my life sucks, needles are painful and intrusive and make me sad. Having ITP is shit… Blah blah blah…

There was no gain from being like this. I didn’t gain anything positive from acting like this. My blood count never changed on account of how much I worried about it, or grumbled about the doctor, or felt sad and sorry for myself. The tests never came less frequently the more I complained to my friends about how I was forced to waste my days off at the doctors.

It was so destructive to my happiness, worrying about the results and feeling anxious all morning. I was frustrated that I had to go to the doctor (again) and felt like I was wasting my life.

I was the one that was suffering, feeling flat and sad. And it was my own fault. I was doing nothing to help myself feel better. I was focusing on all the crap stuff.

Taking the time, every day to be grateful and thankful for the good things in your life instantly changes your mood. It makes you smile, it makes you think and it helps to put things into perspective. Just try and think of ten things right now that you can be thankful for today.

Here is my list.

  1. ITP being positive, tp, itp bruises, bruising easily, hide a bruise, Bruises, Bruise, itp, low platelet count,I am so grateful that Kate came to visit with cheese.
  2. I’m thankful for the cheap tray of mangos I bought a few days ago.
  3. I am thankful the weather is hot and nice.
  4. I am so luck to have a mothers group full of amazing, normal, positive and hilarious ladies…
  5. That the coffee shop at the end of my street is now open late.
  6. I am grateful that the dress I am wearing to a friend’s wedding will hide the bruises on the top of my knee.
  7. I’m so happy that my friend Susie has a beautiful new healthy baby boy!
  8. I’m grateful that my body responds to Prednisone.
  9. I feel so happy to have a doctor that cares about my health and is honest and kind with her advice.
  10. I am grateful to live in Australia and have access to a variety of treatment options.
  11. I am grateful that the bruise on my arm has only come up half the size I expected.

Ok, so that was 11! See how easy it is once you get on a roll…

This is nothing groundbreaking.  Gratitude has been always been seen as a way to get your mood back on track. This article is simply a reminder.  And I think we all need reminding every now and again.

It is easy to get carried away with the negative aspects of a Chronic illness.

This week, try and fight it – with a bit of love and thanks.

 

When Things Go Well, Do You Put it Down to Luck?

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Feature image from CHRIS BRACEY

The other day I was chatting with a friend about how well everything was going with the ITP pregnancy.  When I told her that my platelet count was high, my baby was happy and healthy, my doctors were pleased, and that I felt wonderful, I instantly added on the end – I am really lucky!  She stopped me right there.

She stopped me right there.

It was a good friend of mine who pointed out that it was not luck at all!  She drew my attention to everything my husband and I have done to make sure our pregnancy went well.

  • We found the best doctors available to us and moved 6.5 hours from our home to see them.
  • We traveled back and forth between Sydney and the South Coast to attend appointments including flying while morning sick and pregnant.
  • I was eating healthy, paying attention to diet, nutrition and cravings.
  • I researched all my medications, learnt about their side effects and took measures to combat them.
  • I read up on everything I needed to know about high-risk pregnancies.
  • We went to parent information classes.
  • I sought advice and support from people around me.
  • I pursued alternative health remedies, took herbs and supplements, drank teas, and received remedial massage.
  • I went to a KINESIOLOGIST (All though truth be told, she came to me)
  • …and a CHIROPRACTOR.
  • I walked every day.
  • I went to ballet
  • …and did yoga regularly,
  • and I was meditating to stay healthy and positive.

And yet, I am so quick to tell people how ‘lucky’ I am to be happy and healthy.

Luck would be everything going well if I did nothing to help myself.  Luck would be a positive outcome despite making no effort at all.  Luck is about success or failure brought about by chance rather than through one’s own actions.

Why am I so reluctant to say “Yeah, I fuck’en did this!”?

I did a little research on the matter and discovered that this is a trend I couldn’t ignore.  It turns out, as a group, women are more likely to attribute their success to luck and to blame themselves for their failures.  I did a lot of reading.  It is a real thing.

From the book SEX DIFFERENCES in Depression by Susan Nolen-Hoeksema, several studies have shown that ‘women tend to make more external attributions… attributing outcomes to luck or task difficulty.’  

Dr. Jacqueline Hornor Plumez also writes in her book, THAT BITCH IN YOUR HEAD, that when women fail, their inner voice says, “Dummy – You blew it,” but when they succeed, it says, ” Wow! You were lucky!”  Men tend to think the opposite: When they fail, men are statistically more likely to blame the situation or someone else but when they succeed, men take credt for being smart and competent.

When you attribute things in your life to luck, you are less likely to take credit for your success.  I need to stop telling myself that when I am unwell, I deserve it and when I am healthy – I am lucky.

When I first wrote this article I had no idea how my pregnancy was going to turn out.  Now I know that everything was more amazing than I could have hoped for.  While there were a few moments of pure luck (Having ana amazing midwife on duty when we arrived and being placed in the best room on the ward) mostly it came down to being fit, prepared, healthy, positive, determined, strong, educated, informed, and open to change – It certainly wasn’t because of LUCK!

How to Heal a Bruise Reviews

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So many thank yous to everyone who has read, enjoyed and reviewed How to Heal A Bruise.  I am so excited to be working on a second book to compliment the information and stories shared in How to Heal A Bruise.  When I doubt what I am doing, I go back to this article and am reminded about why I do what I do.

“How to Heal a bruise” is a must read for anyone diagnosed with ITP. It should be prescribed by the doctors and as early as possible to avoid feeling terribly alone, disillusioned and helpless until you have the knowledge you can’t move forward. Thank you, Meghan you are such an inspiration”

By Amazon Customer on January 23, 2016

 “Meghan’s book is the #1 guide to life with ITP. I sincerely wish I had this book when I was diagnosed, it would have assisted me and my family in understanding more about this rare disease.”  

C on October 4, 2015

“The book includes lots of ITP information such as the science, history, tips and guides, alongside strong emotional support. It is now my own ITP Bible! I could not recommend it more highly!”

The full REVIEW from Katie Meloy can be found here.  

“Beyond being a book documenting scientific and medical information, is the personal experience of Megan Brewster after seven years of living with this blood disorder and is enriched in fourteen chapters…I didn’t know what to expect on How To Heal A Bruise, then simply I couldn’t stop reading.”

The complete REVIEW Laura can be read here.

 “Good read, informative but personal.”

An Amazon review from DANNY

Have you read How to Heal a Bruise?

What did you think?  Have your say below in the comments section below.  Or better yet, head over to Amazon and share your thought there!

Your January Detox

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There is something uplifting about the month of January.  For me, it’s full of new diaries, crisp calendars, goals, resolutions, new starts and second chances.  On Instagram, I read a great quote that said 2015 WAS JUST THE WARM UP.  Such a great attitude I think.

Now is the time to set the standard for a brand new year.  If you missed the 1st of January deadline, who cares?  Start today, or start tomorrow.  The important thing is that you start to make a few changes.

Detox from Alcohol.

It creeps in, even when you don’t mean to.  Firstly, and before you do anything else, do not beat yourself up about it.  Remember the pleasure before you beat yourself up about it.  Think about all the delicious treats you enjoyed over the holidays, savour it all and now move on.

I’m not drinking at the moment, for obvious reasons, but I definitely do love drinking a little too much (Whoops).  Lots of people in Australia like to schedule their Alcohol Detox for later in the year, during the middle of Winter when there is not much happening.  Dry July is a great way to spend a month without alcohol.  It can be really easy because lots of people are doing it with you.

If you don’t want to spend your fun Summer Holidays without an ice cold Apple Cider, then think about booking in Dry July now.  If you make the commitment now, it will be harder to back out later.

Detox from Social Media.

Friends on Pinterest with new boyfriends suddenly making Pinterest boards devoted to how much they love fresh cut flowers in vases in the middle of tables, trying to pretend they are not secretly planning their weddings, instead of just making the boards private.

And seeing quotes about how blessed and grateful all your friends are because it is a new year.  Forget about it all.  There are no pictures of them actually doing Yoga on a stand-up paddle board, it is the same image you have seen a thousand times before of one woman, doing it once.

What you might learn if you DO A SOCIAL MEDIA DETOX 

 

Detox from Complaining

What consumes your mind, will fill your life.  These are wise words to live by.  Complaining is not about being in a bad mood, it’s about focusing on the problem without bothering to think of a solution.  Complaining is when you dwell on problems without moving forward or bitching about things that cannot be changed.

If the holidays put you in a bit of a stress, or you simply don’t realise how much you complain, then what about a little detox from complaining (or being negative and whiny)

The 40 DAY COMPLAINING FAST

Detox from Buying Things

I spent way too much money over Christmas.  I don’t feel bad about it, I wanted to.  I love buying presents and giving them to people, it’s all part of the holiday fun for me.  But I make sure to balance my spending.  In January, I like to spend as little as possible to make up for my pre-Christmas splurge.  January is about exercising, eating healthy, catching up with friends and going slow over the summer holidays.

I normally buy a new pair of swimmers and a big bottle of sunscreen and that’s it for the month.

Take the SHOPPING DETOX for one month here.

 

 

A Healthy Change for the New Year

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It is almost time for the new year.  This is the time when my life is filled with two things, New Years Eve plans and New Years Resolutions.  While New Years Eve parties are a grand farewell to the year past, it is our New Years Resolutions that keep up looking forward with fresh eyes and renewed promise.  Making resolutions is one thing, keeping them is something else entirely.  So how can we make sure we keep our New Years Resolutions for 2016 and what is the best way to make them?

For me, New Years Eve parties have always felt like a happy but final sendoff to the year gone by.  They are a finish to everything that has come in the previous year, whether it be positive or challenging (or if you had a nasty year, a really great wake).  New Years Eve has always felt like a goodbye.

New Years Resolutions have always felt like a hello.  To me, they are a way of welcoming the new year and of planning ahead to ensure my future will be a little brighter.

1. Begin by looking back over the past year.  Making resolutions of all the thing I want to change can often leave me feeling like a bit of a failure.  The act of sitting down and writing all the things I should do better, haven’t done or aren’t very good at, can be pretty demoralising – so instead I begin my resolutions by looking back on everything I have already achieved.

I divide my year up into different categories – for example, Family, Work, Health, Adventures, Love, Me, Education… (whatever you like).  Then write down every great thing that happened in those categories.  This makes New Years Resolutions more of a process of filling in the gaps.  Now take a look at the year that has past.  Which categories did you ignore?  Where could you focus more attention?

2. See how far you have come.  It is important to see how far you have come in just one year.  This process will put you in a positive mind to write your new years’ resolutions.  It will help you to see just how much is possible in a year and what you are already able to achieve.

3. Plan your next year.  Now you are ready to write your resolutions for 2016.  This is a great time to simply plan your year, look at what is ahead and start to get prepared and excited.  Make sure you are writing a positive plan for the year to come, with plenty of rewards, adventures and joy.

What does this have to do with ITP?  Have you considered your autoimmune disorder in your New Years Resolutions?  This year I am making a special mention of ITP as I sit down to plan 2016.  These are the questions I am asking myself…

  • What have I been wanting to try, but keep putting off?
  • Which treatments have I attempted but never really committed to?
  • What treatments have you been sceptical about?  And how can I be more open minded?
  • How am I going to approach my ITP this year?

 

2016 is a long time, and there are plenty of months to try, stumble and try again before you sit down to plan 2017.  Is this the year you try meditation?  Is 2016 the year you commit to returning to exercise?  Is this the year you slowly begin to overhaul your diet?

What are your New Years Resolutions for 2016?  Sharing your resolutions can help you commit to them and motivate you to see them through.

Add them to the comments below.