The Illest: Life With Chronic Pain & Fatigue

  • The Truth About My Life with a Chronic Illness

    by Krissy Ward The Truth About My Life with a Chronic Illness
    Revealing Confessions About Being chronically ill. These Warriors share what they wish people knew about being chronically ill.
  • Why I Took A Break

    by Krissy Ward Why I Took A Break

     I’ve missed you guys so much! I’ve gotten so many messages and I’m so so thankful to everyone who has reached out to make sure that I was okay. I am now.

         I needed to take some time to learn how to love me.

         I enjoy being available for you guys; the love and attention that I was giving to you all, I failed to give to myself.

          I’ve learned that I need to be ok with taking breaks when needed, just like stopping for gas while on a road trip. Because what happened was... my "car" broke down on this road trip and the consequences lasted way longer... 

    Let me get you caught up on what I’ve been up to...

  • 72957348 Lessons I've Learned from Having a Chronic Illness

    by Krissy Ward 72957348 Lessons I've Learned from Having a Chronic Illness
    Having a chronic illness allows me to navigate life’s unpredictability with a sense of humor and adapt to situations easier than most. Life with chronic pain has been the most unwelcomed challenge EVER, but it has taught me so many lessons. I believe a lot of these lessons apply whether you have a chronic illness or not. 
  • Is Chronic Pain Affecting Your Sex Life?

    by Krissy Ward Is Chronic Pain Affecting Your Sex Life?

    Chronic pain can make your favorite sexual positions uncomfortable, but this does not mean you have to completely give up on being intimate with your partner or keep you from having a fulfilling sex life. The key to being happy in your sex life is...

  • Chronic Illness Hacks: Making Life Easier

    by Krissy Ward Chronic Illness Hacks: Making Life Easier
    If you have a chronic illness, you know just how much energy it takes to complete your daily chores and common household tasks. I'm here to help make your life easier. Here are a few hacks to help "lighten the load".
  • When Personal Hygiene Feels Like a Chore: Mental Health & Hygiene

    by Krissy Ward When Personal Hygiene Feels Like a Chore: Mental Health & Hygiene

         The connection between chronic illness/mental illness and personal hygiene goes way deeper than most people may realize. Brushing teeth and bathing is second nature to most people, but if you are struggling, these are the tasks that are the hardest to complete.

         If you find yourself struggling with self-care, here are a few tips to make things easier for you...

  • Is Your Doctor Gaslighting You?

    by Krissy Ward Is Your Doctor Gaslighting You?

         Chronic pain patients hide our pain so well, you cannot go by how we look on the outside. We have to learn how to function with pain, we don't have the luxury to wince and scream in agony all day.

     

         Medical gaslighting is when your doctor dismisses your health concerns by refusing to take you seriously or by ignoring your symptoms. They may have even told you that your symptoms are “all in your head."

  • Put a Name to Your Fibromyalgia Pain

    by Krissy Ward Put a Name to Your Fibromyalgia Pain

         Can I just start by saying, dealing with Fibromyalgia and all of its weird symptoms is annoying (AF!). One symptom of Fibromyalgia we are all VERY aware of is “widespread pain”... But if you live with the condition, you know Fibromyalgia pain is way more complex than it sounds. Fibro pain affects any and every part of the body. Sometimes, it’s difficult to explain the types of pain we’re experiencing.
    Well, now you can put a name to some of those aches and pains, some are medical terms and some are well known amongst the chronic illness and spoonie community.



    Hyperalgesia   

         Hyperalgesia is the medical term for

    Posted in chronic illness
  • You Can’t Stop the Waves, But You Can Learn to Surf

    by Krissy Ward You Can’t Stop the Waves, But You Can Learn to Surf

         Living with a chronic illness is a constant cycle of changing symptoms and you’re forced to find new ways to deal with pain and fatigue.

         Changing my perspective was key. Changing the way I viewed my situation and limitations wasn’t easy but definitely beneficial.

  • I Don’t Want to Be Your Inspiration

    by Krissy Ward I Don’t Want to Be Your Inspiration
         I know you guys have seen those pictures of people in a wheelchair and they’re doing something regular degular schmegular people do like grocery shopping and the caption says “What’s your excuse?” Or something like that. It’s “inspiration porn”. Do you guys really think that low of disabled people, that our mere existence alone is inspiring to you?
    Posted in Chronic Illness
  • Dear Healthy Family & Friends

    by Krissy Ward Dear Healthy Family & Friends

    Dear Healthy Friends,

    Here's what you can do for me:

    -be thankful you don't have a chronic illness.

    -be thankful you don't have to deal with pain every second of your life.

    -be thankful you don't have to choose between making breakfast and taking a shower before you leave the house..

    -be thankful you don’t have to plan your life around your physical limitations.

  • Sorry I Don’t Look Disabled Enough For You!

    by Krissy Ward Sorry I Don’t Look Disabled Enough For You!

    ...going as far as leaving notes on cars parked in handicapped spots trying to shame them for parking there, assuming they weren’t disabled based on the way they looked. 

     

    Posted in Chronic Illness
  • Guest Blog: Chronic Illness Life Tips

    by Krissy Ward Guest Blog: Chronic Illness Life Tips
    SO IMPORTANT: Find a healthcare provider that cares and is experienced with chronic pain. Easier said than done, I know, but don't settle for a provider that doesn't care to take you seriously or care about your wellbeing. If you leave your office visit feeling like they are implying it is all in your head, never darken their door again. Advocate for yourself and find a provider that will be in your corner.
  • CBD vs THC: Which One is Right For Me?

    by Krissy Ward CBD vs THC: Which One is Right For Me?

         If you’re looking to get into the natural pain relief game, I’m here to help. I will break it all down so you can decide which choice would be a good fit for you.

         Many people are taking the natural route when it comes to healthcare; Cannabis is one of the more popular options for natural pain relief.

         Cannabis, also known as marijuana can be a great alternative to traditional pain-relieving medications. Figuring out which marijuana strain, Cannabidiol (CBD) or tetracannabinol (THC) product is the one for you can be “a bit much”, so let’s see if I can help.

  • Surviving & Thriving a Chronic Illness

    by Krissy Ward Surviving & Thriving a Chronic Illness

         Living with a chronic illness is no walk in the park. When you’re sick with a cold or the flu, you know that eventually, you’re going to get better and life goes back to normal. A chronic illness is very different. It’s 24/7 and most likely may never go away. You have to reframe and redirect your life and thoughts to support a different narrative. Here are some tips to not only help you live a better life with your chronic illness, but help you thrive.

     

  • Laugh to Keep from Crying: Meme Edition

    by Krissy Ward Laugh to Keep from Crying: Meme Edition
         I survive being chronically ill by making jokes constantly. Living life with a chronic illness has turned my sense of humor pretty dark. I'm pretty much able to laugh at any and everything. If I don't laugh at some of the ridiculous things Fibromyalgia has done or made me do, I'd be curled up in a corner somewhere, rocking back and forth mumbling "Jesus saves." I hope you all have reached a point where you can laugh at yourself and all of the mishaps that life brings. Here is a list of memes to help you laugh to keep from crying.
  • 15 Easy Ways to Practice Self Care During the Holidays

    by Krissy Ward 15 Easy Ways to Practice Self Care During the Holidays

    For a lot of people, the Holiday season is “the most wonderful time of the year,” but everyone doesn’t feel that way. For some, this time of year can be stressful as some may be experiencing SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), financial issues, or experienced a loss.

         Self care should always be a priority, but practicing self care around the Holidays is a MUST. You can do more for others once you’ve done right by yourself. Remember, you can’t drive other people around if you don’t have any gas.

    1. Remember to Laugh

         Living in chronic pain has made my sense of humor pretty dark to say the least. I can laugh at pretty much anything. Remember this when things aren’t going your way. Sometimes you have to literally laugh to keep from crying.

    2. Create a...

  • How to Be a Better Friend to someone with a Chronic Illness

    by Krissy Ward How to Be a Better Friend to someone with a Chronic Illness

    I KNOW that getting multiple declined invites may have you thinking we aren’t interested, but nothing is further from the truth. We are sick about having to miss yet another gathering and are most likely having a pity party of our own. We don’t want to let you down and most of all, we do enjoy hanging out and having fun every now and then, it’s just that it it’s very painful to do so. Please don’t be upset if I have to cancel AGAIN. 

  • My Solo Trip to Thailand

    by Krissy Ward My Solo Trip to Thailand

    Well Warriors.... I did it. I went to a different country... a whole other continent by myself. I still can’t even believe the “solo-cation” actually happened.

         Weeks before departure time, my entire family was nervous for me; I wasn’t the least bit bothered until the day it was time for me to board. I had tears in my eyes as I was leaving my mom and headed through airport security.

         When I arrived in Bangkok and checked into my hotel, I found...

  • Guest Blog: Navigating Marriage with a Chronic Illness

    by Krissy Ward Guest Blog: Navigating Marriage with a Chronic Illness

    Rock climbing, walking around downtown Pasadena, and exploring the Santa Monica pier…that is how my now-husband and I spent our very first date. At the time, I wouldn’t have imagined that my life would look much differently only a couple years later.

    When I met the man I would eventually marry...

  • 16 Gift Ideas For Your Friend with a Chronic Illness

    by Krissy Ward 16 Gift Ideas For Your Friend with a Chronic Illness
    As the Holidays are slowly approaching, you may have wondered what to get for that special person in your life who has been dealing with a lot or maybe you want to send this list to your friends and family and give them a little hint before the Holidays arrive. Here are 16 things you can get for your friend with a chronic illness.
  • The Spoon Theory

    by Krissy Ward The Spoon Theory

         At that moment, the spoon theory was born. Christine quickly grabbed every spoon on the table; hell she grabbed spoons off of the other tables. She looked at her friend in the eyes and said “Here you go, you have Fibro (or Lupus or      any other chronic pain condition)”. Christine explained that the difference in being sick and being healthy is having to make choices or to consciously think about things when the rest of the world doesn’t have to. The healthy have the luxury of a life without choices, a gift most people take for granted.

  • Guest Blog: The Elephant in the Room

    by Krissy Ward Guest Blog: The Elephant in the Room
         Just like a headache – no one can see it but that doesn’t mean you aren’t having one. Also   no one (except for sometimes you or a doctor) can say for sure why you are getting a headache – it could be dehydration, it could be the heat, it could be a cold, it could be a migraine, it could be sinus, it could be a stress headache, it could be lack of sleep etc., you get the drift.
  • Seek Discomfort

    by Krissy Ward Seek Discomfort
         After being inspired by “Yes Theory”, a movement that encourages people to say “yes” to doing things that take them out of their comfort zone in order to grow as individuals, I decided to book a solo international trip to Thailand. Sounds crazy, right? That’s what everybody in my family is thinking... well everyone except my mom. She already knows I’m crazy lol.
  • Guest Blog: Chronic Illness: The Rollercoaster You can’t Get Off

    by Krissy Ward Guest Blog: Chronic Illness: The Rollercoaster You can’t Get Off
         Life has been pretty tough to say the least- Rough with definitive moments of wanting to give up- Not just for me but for my family too! If anything, my heart breaks many a day for them because they too have had to accept a 'new normal'. A life with a spouse who cannot hold down a job, not always available for support, and the list goes on and on! A mom who frequently spends days in a dark, quiet, room because the lights are too bright, the noise is deafening and being unable to talk because you just don't have enough energy. I mean who wants a spouse and mom like that! How does one move on from this!
  • Depression: Things You Should Know

    by Krissy Ward Depression: Things You Should Know
         Depression is like a cloud that only seems to hover over you and no one else and it can turn dark so quickly that you may not always be prepared for it. Sometimes you’ll have an umbrella and you can stay dry for the most part, but you are still very aware that it’s pouring raining. Other times, you won’t have an umbrella, a hoody or shelter nearby. That’s when the dark cloud turns from rain to hail. It knows that you don’t have any protection and that’s when it’ll try to hit you the hardest.
  • Guest Blog: Chronic Illness & Masculinity: Men In Pain

    by Krissy Ward Guest Blog: Chronic Illness & Masculinity: Men In Pain
    My entire life some days feels like it has been turned upside down. I was the strongest man that I could be, superman to my two young boys, and a big bearded outdoorsman who could fight off bears and make fire with his bare hands; at least that is how good I felt. One of the hardest things that I have had to deal with is being a male, a nontraditional fibromyalgia suffer, and trying to deal with chronic pain with the negative stigma that tells us that men are supposed to be strong and never admit when they are weak. I am here to tell you....
  • Dating with a Chronic Illness

    by Krissy Ward Dating with a Chronic Illness
    Dating is weird in general, the whole getting to know a stranger thing. Dating with a chronic illness... now that’s just a whole different ballgame. Dating never seemed easy; dating while having a chronic illness is especially challenging.

         There are so many different factors that can make dating with a chronic illness difficult and sometimes even scary. When do I tell them? How do I tell them? How much do I tell? How will they respond? Will they “get it”? Will it change the way they see me?

         What I have learned is:
  • Guest Blog: Mental Health & Chronic Pain: Helpful Tips for A Healthy Mind

    by Krissy Ward Guest Blog: Mental Health & Chronic Pain: Helpful Tips for A Healthy Mind

         Life is hard. There’s no ifs, ands, or buts about it. It throws you curve balls and they sometimes come out of left field. For some of you reading this, one of those curve balls is a diagnosis of a chronic illness.

    As a mental health counselor and a fellow fibro warrior myself, I can speak to the brutality of this disease and the ways it can impede on our happiness and negatively impact our mental health...

  • Guest Blog: The Mental Journey of Accepting Chronic Illness

    by Krissy Ward Guest Blog: The Mental Journey of Accepting Chronic Illness

    So finally. The word is out. I have fibromyalgia; a chronic illness. In other words: you’ll be kinda sick forever but can still kinda function too. Now what?


         I found out pretty quickly that I had to make mental adjustments in order to accept the physical pain and future vision of fibromyalgia. I feel like I can handle the physical part (on most days), as long as my mind is calm.

         The main part of the mental challenges is THE AMOUNT OF QUESTIONS!
    Who tf am I without pain?.....

  • Guest Blog: 5 Things on Amazon to Make Your Life with Chronic Illness Easier

    by Krissy Ward Guest Blog: 5 Things on Amazon to Make Your Life with Chronic Illness Easier

    I am going to be sharing five things you can buy on Amazon. These are all things I use daily that can really make your life with chronic illness easier. 

    1. Heated Blanket

     

         This one is great for your...

    Posted in Chronic Illness, Hacks
  • No, I’m NOT Feeling Better: Living My Best Life Edition

    by Krissy Ward No, I’m NOT Feeling Better: Living My Best Life Edition
         This blog is courtesy of an event that keeps replaying in my head over and over. I was in Las Vegas on a family trip and we were doing A LOT o...
  • Guest Blog: In Sickness & in Health: Chronic Illness In Relationships

    by Krissy Ward Guest Blog: In Sickness & in Health: Chronic Illness In Relationships
    Navigating life with Fibromyalgia can be challenging. Personally for myself, I had to re-learn many things about my body and mind. I had to change my meal plan, sleep schedule, and aspects of my personal life. I was very into
  • 12 Must Have Life Hacks to Make Your Life Easier with Chronic Illness

    by Krissy Ward 12 Must Have Life Hacks to Make Your Life Easier with Chronic Illness

         Living with a chronic illness means you have to get creative sometimes so you’re able to have a productive day. Here are some hacks that I’ve learned along the way.

    1. Pregnancy Pillow

     

         These aren’t just for pregnant women; they work great to support aching joints and muscles.

  • Guest Blog: Fitness and Fibro

    by Krissy Ward Guest Blog: Fitness and Fibro

         Exercising when you have chronic fatigue is really difficult. Add in near constant pain of some sort and level and it is even harder. I’m lucky in that exercise generally does make me feel  better. I very rarely have that natural endorphin high many fitness addicts claim to find, but I do feel much better about myself if I exercise. 

         Years ago, before I had my son, I was really quite fit. I loved using the gym; I went horse riding, running and kickboxing. Don't get me wrong, I’ve never been slim but I was strong.  That’s not to say I was happy with how I looked, I was not! But I did feel pretty good physically.  

         One of the reasons I chose to move to Guernsey was...

  • Guest Blog: Fibro & Fearless: Living with Fibromyalgia

    by Krissy Ward Guest Blog: Fibro &  Fearless: Living with Fibromyalgia
         It has been almost 20 years since my fibromyalgia diagnosis and I will be the first to admit that it had been an unpredictable rollercoaster ride. I was about fourteen years old. I had already been diagnosed celiac for 7 years at that point in my life. I had also experienced trauma that left me with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Some research suggests that trauma can contribute to the onset of fibromyalgia, I believe it to be true, however I also believe it was a genetic predisposition that helped me obtain the diagnosis, my mother also lives with fibromyalgia. Notice how I don't say suffers, struggles, or any other word that may be misconstrued as negative. I have learned to live with my chronic illness and chronic pain. I learned acceptance, compassion, and understanding. I learned to embrace each day and each moment. It may sound unrealistic, however, it's my truth. As far as my days go, there are great days, good days, okay days, and absolutely horrible days, as far as my symptoms and pain are concerned. I firmly hold that even on my worst symptom day, I can still have a good day. It took me years to change my mindset. It took years to realize that I am in control of my happiness, my body, how I treat myself physically and emotionally.
  • Guest Blog: The Cycle of Grief

    by Krissy Ward Guest Blog: The Cycle of Grief
       Written by Alice Jones Hawley   People may wonder what grief has to do with chronic pain and illness... Well a whole lot actually. When a perso...
  • Depression Doesn’t Care...

    by Krissy Ward Depression Doesn’t Care...

         Depression doesn’t care if you are rich or broke.

         Depression doesn’t care if you have a loving family or a gang of friends.

         Depression doesn’t care how old you are or where you’re from

         Depression doesn’t care if you are white, black, yellow or blue. Well, it’ll make you blue, but still, you get where I’m going.

  • Traveling with a Chronic Illness: Cruise Edition

    by Krissy Ward Traveling with a Chronic Illness: Cruise Edition

    I have been traveling for longer than I can remember (almost 30 years) and have had a chronic illness for half of that time. I know first hand that traveling while fighting for your health is EXTREMELY difficult, but not impossible. It’s not like you can leave your sick body and just get a new one for your vacation. (But, that’d be AMAZING, wouldn’t it!?) So because of this, planning ahead for any trip, or for anything for that matter, is so much more important when you are chronically ill. 

         Traveling takes a lot of courage especially when you don't always feel well. People may question why we would even want to travel if we “feel that sick”. It’s why we do anything... we want to live DESPITE being sick. I KNOW that there will be consequences for pushing myself on vacay, but sometimes we have to step outside of the world of our illnesses allows and just LIVE.

         Like my previous travel blog, I will be giving you tips on how to survive a vacation, but this time, it’s the cruise edition. 

     

    1. Be Your Own Advocate

    You have to speak up for yourself. Only you know how you’re feeling. Make sure your cruise companions have a clear picture of what you can and cannot do to prevent any future disappointment. 

  • Guest Blog: Chronically Abled

    by Krissy Ward Guest Blog: Chronically Abled

         I am disabled, but more importantly, I am ABLED.

         At 21, I never thought I would be in chronic pain forever, also I did not think at 21 years old I would be a mother to a beautiful almost 3 year old, a loving partner and a striving student trying to achieve University.

          Every day is marathon day, but you never receive that golden medal. You watch your family cheer you on, with encouragement ‘to do the best you can without hurting yourself’ and biting their nails in anxiousness for us not to ‘over do it’.

  • Reminder: Check on Your “Strong” Friends

    by Krissy Ward Reminder: Check on Your “Strong” Friends

    When you have a chronic illness, people tend to see you as an inspiration. I hear how strong I am all the time. I’m smiling, laughing and usually the one providing the laughs; but when everyone leaves, the dark thoughts consume me and I struggle to be the person I portrayed just hours earlier.

  • Guest Blog: Going Through High School with a Chronic Illness

    by Krissy Ward Guest Blog: Going Through High School with a Chronic Illness

         Each day that I had to go to school, I got angry at my mom for letting me. But she didn't know what was happening and neither did I until I slowly became aware of where the pain was located in my body. It was situated in my joints. When I described the pain to my mom, I remember saying it was "in my knees, sharp like a knife" and she brought me to her doctor. She suffers from an autoimmune disease called Lupus and she always had a sharp pain in her knee joints when she was my age. When she brought me to her doctor...

  • How to Live Your Best Life With a Chronic Illness

    by Krissy Ward How to Live Your Best Life With a Chronic Illness

    1. Acknowledge and accept your limitations.

         13 years of living with a chronic illness and I still struggle with this. Acceptance isn’t something you master and get over, it comes and goes. You can go an entire week being completely okay with your limitations and then BOOM; some thing or event sets you back. It’s important to remind yourself that limits are just that. It’s perfectly normal to get mad or be sad; you absolutely have the right to be, but you must not stay in that place. It’s not good for your mental health. 

  • 5 Tips for Exercising with a Chronic Illness

    by Krissy Ward 5 Tips for Exercising with a Chronic Illness

    1. Get moving

    Even though you may be in pain when you get started, you HAVE to move. Not only will you start to feel a little better, your joints will be less stiff, but you will get a boost of endorphins.  During exercise, your body releases these chemicals which interact with the receptors in our brains that reduce the perception of pain.

  • First Date or Worst Date?

    by Krissy Ward First Date or Worst Date?

    Do you remember your first real date? Well, I can’t forget mine if I tried. While dining with family at Red Lobster, I met a flirty waiter. He was so handsome and his chocolate skin was so smooth and looked even better against his pearly whites. While getting ready to leave, flirty waiter summoned up enough courage to ask for my phone number. A week later, we have our first date.

         First red flag... he had no transportation or access to a vehicle whatsoever, meaning I had to drive. But, I’m 16 and anxious to get this first date under my belt. When I get to his house, I call to let him know I’m outside. Y’all... this was NOT the same guy I met at Red Lobster.

    Posted in Humor, Relationships
  • Guest Blog: The Unlikely Pairing: Intimacy & Chronic Illness

    by Krissy Ward Guest Blog: The Unlikely Pairing: Intimacy & Chronic Illness
    Broaching the topic of sex seems less sensitive than it used to be, but to discuss it with someone who suffers from a chronic illness brings new waves of shame, anxiety and stress. How can you explain to anyone the unique struggles you and your partner face, the daily questions you ask yourself and the enormous strain it may put on one of the most seemingly natural parts of a relationship? I can’t tell you how many internet rabbit holes I went down in search of some form of advice that would tell me it gets better. I found myself face to face with countless articles that in essence commanded me to not let my chronic illness ruin my sex life.
  • Guest Blog: The Ultimate Mindset Experience

    by Krissy Ward Guest Blog: The Ultimate Mindset Experience

    Imagine being a few days out from a huge promotion at work. Everything seemed to be going well, I was growing stronger in my confidence in my career, my place in life, and I was finally comfortable with the idea that I was completely mastering “ADULTING” and things seemed to be falling perfectly into place. You couldn’t tell me that I wasn’t about to take over the world!

         Then BOOM, just like that it was all over.

  • Ain’t No Stopping Me Now!

    by Krissy Ward Ain’t No Stopping Me Now!
    We get there and have to go pick out helmets. I already know my head is big and my hair is bigger, so I knowingly head toward the bigger helmets to find one to fit my big ass head. I find the biggest helmet and I’m pushing it on my head like I was trying to push a baby back up the birth canal. My friend and cousin were both struggling to get this helmet on my head, meanwhile my poor lil curls that I had spent all my spoons (energy) on to look cute for this trip, were getting all smushed and frizzy.