CHRONIC ILLNESS AT ITS BEST




Welcome to my web page!  The purpose of this site is  be a resource for other folks, who like me, struggle daily to thrive in spite of chronic illness.  People with chronic illnesses face enormous challenges at home, at work, at school, and in their communities.  Chronic illness takes a toll on relationships; many chronically ill individuals live in isolation and feel frequently misunder-stood, even by family and close friends. This site includes resources that I have stumbled upon in my own journey towards wellness.  You will find features on anti-inflammatory diets; exercise; graphic organizers to track symptoms or to communicate to those whom you love how you are feeling on any given day; adoption; books that have been insightful; and inspirational resources.  There is also an ongoing personal narrative about my own struggles and triumphs with illness as they relate to faith, family and life.  It is my earnest hope that this website can provide comfort and community for those who struggle to be well.  Anyone is welcome to comment and to add recommendations, experiences, and insights.  Blessings!

For the record

I used to be a bilingual elementary school teacher, a job I loved passionately.  Then in 1999, I was diagnosed with Endometriosis (Endo) followed very quickly by Dermatomyositis. (DM) a semi-rare autoimmune disease that effects muscles and skin.  I was very fortunate to have the Endo resolved or at least put under control quite quickly by two surgeries.  My DM is not as bad as it is for many.  I am fully ambulatory, I can swallow without problems and I have no lung involvement.  But I’ve had my share of skin rashes which flare with any exposure to the sun, some muscle weakness and lots of fatigue and low grade fevers.  I also get a lot of migraines!  At the time I was diagnosed with DM, I was also diagnosed with Raynaud’s Syndrome, which for me has not been a big deal--I just wear gloves in cool weather or when getting things in and out of the freezer.  Somewhere around 2002,  I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, which only makes the fatigue that much worse and makes you flinch in pain at times when your little children or husband snuggle up next to you.  Irritated Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is also a part of my landscape which is a non-issue when it is under control, but when its not, it can make life quite miserable!  I’ve had dozens of basal cell skin cancers and one Melanoma, that thankfully was caught in the earliest of stages!  I also have Sjögren’s Syndrome, which  means that all of my mucus membranes are extremely dried out, ie., the mouth, the eyes, the sinuses, etc.  In 2010, I was diagnosed with Leukocytoclastic Vasculitis of the colon, which is still unresolved.

    The bright spots in my life are my wonderfully supportive husband and two little girls that fill my life with laughter and love.  I am also blessed with a terribly supportive extended family, a warm circle of friends and a patchwork quilt like faith in a God who exudes compassion and justice.

Helpful links

Meds WITH WHICH I’ve had some experience:

OF COURSE I AM NOT A DOCTOR, AND THIS IS NOT INTENDED TO BE MEDICAL ADVICE, but I am happy  to share what my personal experiences have been using any of the meds listed below: Prednisone, Methotrexate, IVIG, Plaquenil,  Cellcept, Prevacid, Nortriptyline, Celexa, Cymbalta, Topamax, Relpax, Protonics, Oxycodone, Lidocaine Patches, Voltaren and Trazodone


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Charts to help track/communicate symptoms


Poetry and Inspirational Quotes


I  know that at times 
I will be troubled,
I know that at times I will be belabored,
 I know that at times I will be disquieted, but I believe 
that I will not
 be overcome.

Julian of Norwich 


The Anti-Inflammatory Diet
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I have found massage therapy to be extremely helpful for migraines and fibromyalgia.  A cross between Swedish massage and deep tissue has been most beneficial for me, as is hot rock therapy.  If you need an excellent therapist and live in the Bay Area, call Rachel Elizondo at (408) 608-4427 or e-mail her at areserene@