Sexy sick me! #sexy #bodyimage #selflove #respect #dignity

When I first became ill and my body started slowly breaking down, one of my top 5 concerns was how much my husband, or any man, will see me physically. Of course there were other things that rated higher like 1. What is happening to me? 2. Can I/Doctors  fix it ? 3. Will I lose my job? 4. Will we lose our home and 5. Will my husband still see me the same physically?

Although I have some of the answer to those I have to admit number 5. still comes up many more times than I would like to admit.

As women we are judged by our looks, our attractiveness, our desirability, our sexuality, our ability to make a home, our ability to ‘have it all’. You cant drive down the street without seeing how much sex sells and how important looks matter to many people out there.

Where does that leave those of us who struggle to walk? Struggle to move? Struggle to see? Struggle to breathe? Struggle to do our hair and make up?… Struggle just to live. Not easy questions to be confronted with by a world fixated on image, looks and perfection. I don’t think it means that I was shallow, I just think that it shows how powerful the media and ignorance is. This Century has become the millennium of the multimedia, celebrity obsessed, botox injecting, instant gratification, pretend-to-be-sexy-and-young-forever, superficial.

When you are backed up against an insurmountable wall like that you have no where to run – even if I could! What did I do? I grieved. I grieved the health and the body I once had and realized I may never see her again.  Just as an 50 + woman looks into a mirror and realizes she isn’t 18 anymore. I let myself grieve. The fight for my very survival meant that I had to look beyond the mirror. Much deeper to find the reflection of who I truly was and who I wanted to be.

The past 10 years has been a real journey of the soul. Rebuilding a spirit and identity from the shattered pieces of who I was and the things I really want to be. The past 10 years have changed the way I look. My weight has fluctuated with my meds and my mobility. My skin has changed with the meds and age. I am paler and can no longer tolerate very little sun. My hair has changed. My mobility changes all the time. My joints are damaged and sometimes I can creak and crack louder than a falling tree. Although the outside of me has changed over the years, what I was not expecting and what I never truly realized was that inside of me was being made anew.

I think back to the body conscious days of my 20s and 30s and my pursuit of attractiveness and desirability. Was I truly confident back then? No way!! Inside I was as fragile as my last relationship. A walking bundle of phobias and anxieties. I was concerned about my hair, my nails, my weight, my ability to catch attention and draw the eye. I was nowhere near the woman I truly wanted to be. But I am closer to her now.

Yes now. Even with all the shakes, the tremors, the mouth sores, the pain, the weakness, the balance problems, the damaged joints and nerves. Why? Because I have been to hell and back. I keep going there every day. I know what real substance and character is. The values that I now desire above all isnt found in a beauty magazine. Cant be put on twitter. Cant be injected into your face or thighs. Real beauty and character comes from showing your true self (imperfect and laid bare) and accepting it with dignity and wearing it with pride.

What makes us beautiful is something that cant be faked. That’s why sexy stars break up all the time. Models are continually going under the knife in the pursuit of …. well… nothing. Today’s model is tomorrows memory, but character, that is timeless.

Back to my husband and I. Did he look at other women before I got sick? Yep! Does he look at them now? Yep! Does it hurt? Nowhere near as much as it did because I realise that while he might be genetically programmed ‘to look’ until the day he dies, I am now reprogrammed to believe I am worth just as much as any woman on this earth. Any PERSON on this earth because I know what it means to be human and be merely mortal and how health and looks can and will change (sometimes suddenly) but if you can put together a person with courage, character, empathy, compassion, intelligence and resilience then you will have something much longer lasting than a tight butt or a firm breasts.

Do I still get my hair done? Do my nails? Enjoy fashion? Yes! Definitely! But I do it as an expression of what I enjoy, not out of fear or a need to compete with the rest of the world. Respect for myself means I will always try and do my best. It means I will always enjoy the simple pleasures. I will take care of what I can care for. I will tend to the things that are worth tending to because it shows I care. My fears of whether men find me attractive no longer fuel the way I experience the world and enjoy my body. Now it has become more of a question of how much I like me. I may not like these illnesses and symptoms I carry every day, but I love the woman who carries them. More now than I ever did!

Gentle hugs,

Trish

My heart #live #love #respect #care

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If my heart had a window
you could look inside and see
all the things you put inside
and all you mean to me

If my heart had a window
you could see how much I try
to meet each and every challenge
with every day that goes by

If my heart had a window
you could see how much it breaks
when I fall and when I stumble
and when my body aches

If my heart had a window
you would see through all the years
all the laughter and all the loving
all the courage and all the tears

If my heart had a window
and you looked inside today
you would see after all these years
this is where you stay.

Gentle hugs,

Trish

Mothers Day #thanks #mothers #chronicillness #love #respect #lifeskills #coping

I can remember being in hospital when Princess Diana was killed. The media covered every second as it played out over several weeks; probably even months. The media will always lunge onto some human tragedy and pick the bones dry before moving off to devour (or invent) the next storyline. But I wont bore you with my thoughts on the media, and why I stopped watching TV several years ago. That will be another time.

I can remember laying in my hospital bed and being bombarded with pictures and speculations, and then for a brief second a picture of Diana’s two boys flicked up. Two little boys. Honestly they looked like they never really understood the media circus that was going on? How could they? They were just two little boys who were now without their mother. That is truly what any tragedy comes down to. No matter what the rest of the world thinks, feels, says, does. Its the human experience which separates those who watch and those who feel.

Going through life without a mother or mentor is not easy, especially when we are going through some of the hardest times of our lives. As I write this it is coming up upon Mothers Day and I think to myself one of the many things that I have missed about my own mother is that she was gone before I got very sick and so she doesn’t know the challenges I face every day. There is no motherly ear to hear my thoughts and experiences. I cant pick up the phone and tell her what is happening or how worried I may be. The human experience.

I can only imagine how difficult Mother’s Day and Father’s Day is for those who face similar challenges and daily struggles, not being able to turn to a parent and share these difficult times. When we lose the parent/s we are closer to, it is indeed a life changing experience. The parent – child bond can be a very special one and irreplaceable one. Learning how to parent yourself and love yourself unconditionally is often a very difficult skill to master. When we lose a parent we have to care, comfort, reassure, encourage and validate ourselves even during our darkest hours.

Although many parents encourage us early in life to reach for the stars and ‘be all you can be’ and can probably want more for us than they might have had, I am sure that deep down all a parent really wants is for us to live happy and fulfilling lives. I like to think that although my mother is no longer alive, that’s all she would want for me today. The human experience. If she were alive today, although I am sure she would be quite worried over how my health has declined, she would also want me to live a life I can be proud of. And I am. I believe that for others out there who have faced these difficult health challenges and pain without a parents love and encouragement, I know you can still have a life that you can be proud of and that would make them proud too.

In loving memory of my mother,

Trish

When it’s enough. #lifeskills #truth #honesty #dignity# #peace #surviving

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There seems to be so many opinions and feelings when it comes to “what is enough?’ Yours. Family. Friends. Employers. Media. Society.

“Have I done enough?”
“Do I do enough?”
“Am I enough?”

When I was younger it was all I thought about, and the answer I came up with was always NO! Today, after a very long journey and countless hours of self reflection and struggle, I am pleased to say that:

“I always do enough” (that my body can handle)
“I can only do what I can do, on that day, in that moment”
“I can only do what I know how to do”
“I am enough for anyone in my life.”
“I have enough of what I need to take me to tomorrow”
“I am enough for me”
“I am worthy enough for all I do and for all that I am (sick OR well)”
“I will die with enough of what I needed to have a complete life”

This is what I have learnt and I have learnt it the hard way, through the lessons of life.

Gentle hugs,

Trish

Chronically Chic has a new member! YAY #style #chic #fun #fashion #hairstyles #excited

Forget the Duchess of Cambridge!! We have our own announcement!

We have a wonderful hair stylist on board the site to help with hair tips and suggestions and give “expert advice”. I am so thrilled that so many people have jumped on board to helped us to feel good about ourselves and give us advice about how best to manage and cope with some of our challenges.

We really have no words… except… THANK YOU!

YAY US! We rock!

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Chronically-Chic/994584257238697

Chronically Chic is growing!! #beauty #chich #expert #chronic #stylish #dignity #fun

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Introducing our new guest expert!

Oh my gosh another milestone for Chronically Chic! I cant believe how lucky we have been with the wonderful people who have come along to add their talents for our wonderful followers. Our latest ‘expert advice is Nel. She is university qualified health care professional who also happens to be a qualified beautician and teacher. As well as all that she is the most gifted and talented person that I have been lucky to meet in my journey with skin issues, allergies and autoimmune challenges. She is going to be post tips and ideas from time to time and will also be available for you to contact personally from her own site with any questions you would like to ask her directly. I have learned so much about managing some of my challenges from her and she has bought so much fun and dignity to my life.
Thank you so much for joining us Nel. I know our followers and readers will be benefit too!

She is trained in all areas of beauty and skin care.

https://www.facebook.com/NailsByNel?fref=ts

Can I tell you something? #goviral #whatyoushouldknow #survivng #respect #thankyou #chronictruth

Can I tell you somethings that are hard to say so I wrote it down?

1. Doctors / Specialists act like they know how we are feeling better than we do.

2. People who have no idea what our illness is or what we are going through, will give advice about what we should be doing.

3. Put 10 Autoimmune people in a room with the same disease and you will have 10 different people in a room with different symptoms.

4. When someone says “I don’t know how you manage…” we don’t know either!

5. Just when you think you can’t take anymore… you do

6. We always forget that we are not going through these things alone, it affects everyone in the family / relationship and so everyone needs consideration.

7. Able bodied people think that putting in a handrail makes a place ‘disability friendly’.  It isn’t!

8. People forget that doing ‘something fun’ is challenging and takes a lot out of us. There is a price to pay for even the stuff I enjoy doing. Like blogging! 🙂

9. Most of our money goes on medicine so we sometimes don’t buy what we need for reasons like… little things like bills! It’s exactly the same time my doctor will ask me “how are you going with that med?” and I tell them something like “Not sure… too early yet”. I have draws of scripts that I cant buy sometimes!

10.  Only reasonably healthy people can manage waiting room offices. Most of us cant because of pain and various other reasons. So the options are usually stay at home and put up with it or drive to ER. I stay at home because I hate sitting in ER’s. Hence 10 yrs Autoimmune = 1 ER visit.

11. Most patients with Autoimmune diseases know more about the disease than the specialists. We have to. We have no choice. We can’t afford to wait for a doctor to learn how to best manage our symptoms!

12. We are so used to feeling bad and in pain that we don’t know whether we are actually dying or its just another normal day. I have resigned myself to dying at home because I don’t know what is considered ‘extreme pain’ anymore. That’s situation normal to me. And at least the view is better.

13. It takes a lot of courage to be in a wheelchair, scooter, zimmer frame, diaper, so please remember that when you see us in one.

14. 99% of the symptoms you can get with Autoimmune are either extremely embarrassing, strange or extremely painful so sometimes we might not tell anyone what’s happening.

15. It takes me 2 – 3 hours each morning to get ready. Yes, you read that correctly. 2 – 3 hours. Most of that is preparing myself for moving enough to shower and dress. So never ask a Severe Autoimmune to be somewhere before 9 am; Ever.

16. There is a whole spectrum of severity with Autoimmune diseases from ‘high functioning’ to ‘severe / debilitating’, don’t assume that because you ‘know someone with MS, RA, Addisons or Hashimoto’s that you know what everyone is like. We are all different. Its like the Autism scale or the Asthma scale.

17. There really is no cure yet… I am not making that up! – Regardless of what your naturopath, or anyone else, might have told you. But as soon as they find it, we are going to be lining up for it!!!! There are over 28 million in America alone.

18. No, I haven’t given up on life… far from it… I work harder to have one!

19. Most of us under use pain meds because we are scared of becoming addicted… not the other way around. Besides pain meds make up less the 10% of my overall daily medications… the rest are meds to try and stop the spread and disease activity.

20. Being in pain (and missing out on the normal everyday life events) can and will make me depressed from time to time. Not the other way around. Just because I don’t show you my tears, doesn’t mean that I don’t cry everyday. If we didn’t cry it would just keep building up. Sometimes a good cry is the best way of wiping the slate and getting ready for the next day.

21. Yep. Sometimes we can get jealous of those who are ‘high functioning’ – doesn’t mean we are bad people or I would want to take away their level of health. Yep. Sometimes I am jealous of all the stuff that able bodied people can do (and take for granted), I just wont ever tell you.

22. Just because our lives changed completely, doesn’t mean our personalities did. If we were smart, funny, loving, caring, impatient, bossy, quiet, introverted, intellectual etc before we got sick, chances are we still are.

Gentle hugs,

Trish

Chronically Chic Newsflash! We have a professional stylist on the team!

newsflash

We have some wonderful news to announce already in that we have got the support and assistance of a personal stylist who has agreed to join us as an “ask the expert” adviser for any specific questions you might have regarding styling. We are very honoured to have her help and advice as not only is she a wonderful person, highly talented stylist, but she is also holds a health care professional degree and has understanding of many different health challenges that we may face. She works with many different clients so I have no doubt she will be an enormous asset. If you have specific questions or would like to engage her help please do not hesitate to contact her via her site.
We are so grateful that she will be dropping in to answer some of your questions and if tell us about various trends and how these can be modified to suit our bodies, illnesses and challenges!
Thank you Kim. We are so honoured!

Please follow the link below to her site.

Expert Kim

https://www.facebook.com/kimkennedypersonalstyling?fref=ts