Chronic Monday: A patchwork of items on chronic illness and the holidays


Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas, Have A Kickin' Kwanza and a Happy New Year!

Here are a few items I'm looking at now:

Keep My Mind Focused on Good Health

O Lord, I find it hard to remember what it was like
to be healthy.
Help me keep my mind focused on good health
and strength.
Let me be positive about the course of treatment
I am undergoing.
And let me always have faith, great faith,
in your presence in my life
and your glory in my health.

From "Peace in the Storm: Meditations on Chronic Pain and Illness" by Maureen Pratt.

Psycmaster: Non-Denominational Spiritual Psychology and Mental Health

A Spiritual Approach to Holiday Blues
by Judy Marshall,

Positive Strategies for Dealing With Holiday Blues

Mental Illness: Coping With the Holidays - Brochure, applies well to any chronic illness.

NAMI Award Winners - books and DVDs recognized by NAMI for their outstanding contribution to public understanding of mental illness. I've never been steered wrong by their recommendations and these items make good gifts... if you're still shopping at this late date!

Feeling Grinchy? When Chronic Illness Threatens Your Holiday Joy

by Lisa Copen

The country it seemed

Liked Christmas a lot...

All was joy, red and green.

But the Grinch,

Who lived with illness,

And had a heart of the blues,

Did not like Christmas!

The Grinch dreaded Christmas!

The whole Christmas season!

So much to do, so little energy,

there were all kinds of reasons.

It could be said that the medicines

were making her mind feel like putty,

She went shopping at last,

and forgot why she had gone---how nutty.

But we think that the most likely reason of all,

May have been that her heart was hurting,

trying to find her place in it all.

But, whatever the reason,

Her heart or her head,

She laid there on Christmas morning,

with a feeling of dread.

Staring up at the ceiling from the bed, feeling very down,

She wondered how to make it through this day,

without even the hint of a frown.

For she knew every friend and family member around,

Would be arriving soon,

ready to open the gifts and paint the town.

"I just want to feel decent!" she snarled with a sneer.

"Today is Christmas! It's actually here!"

Then she growled, with her grinch fingers nervously drumming,

"I must find a way to keep the pain from coming!"

For, later she knew...

...All the relatives would arrive

They would bring with them her nieces and nephews who would make a


and tons of noise.

They'd rush for their toys!

And then! Oh, the noise! Oh, the noise!

Noise! Noise! Noise!

That's one thing she hated!


Then the family, young and old,

would sit down to a feast.

And they'd feast! And they'd feast!


They would start on pudding, and rare roast beef,

With her irritable bowel,

the Grinch couldn't eat these in the least!

And then they'd do something she liked least of all!

Every family member, the tall and the small,

Would stand close together, and say, "You look so great!"

They'd all tell her she needed to get back to work,

Stop lazing around in her pajamas so late!

They'd talk! And they'd advise.

And they'd think

they were so wise.

And the more the Grinch thought of the Christmas-Nice

The more the Grinch thought,

"I must stop this whole thing!

"Why for over five years I've put up with it now!

I must either deal with it or convince them somehow!"

...But HOW?"

Then she got an idea!

An awful idea!

The Grinch got a wonderful awful idea!

"I know just what to do!"

The Grinch laughed in her throat.

And she made a quick run to the closet

for her lounging coat.

And she chuckled, and clucked,

"What a great Grinchy trick!

"With this robe and my slippers,

I'll look just like I'm sick!"

"All I need is a sniffle, a cough, maybe a cane..."

The Grinch looked around.

But since canes are scarce, there was none to be found.

Did that stop the old Grinch...?

No! The Grinch simply said,

"If I can't find a cane, I'll just look sick instead!"

So she got out her pale makeup

and tried not to use anything pink,

She made sure the circles under her eyes,

were not covered up, but seen.

Then she threw on some sweats

And put her hair up in a twist

It didn't look fancy,

It looked like you do when you're sick.

Then the Grinch said, "I'm ready"

They can start to arrive,

I'll be nice to everyone,

But I'm not going to lie."

The family members arrived

and saw the Grinch arrive at the door.

"What's happened to her?" They whispered and more.

The Grinch said, "Hello, come in, how are you?"

And when they asked her she just said, "Today's not a good day.

It may be Christmas but I still feel a droop."

Then little Cindy-Lou arrived

dragging her noisy toy behind her.

This was more than the Grinch could take!

She couldn't allow that noise to batter.

The Grinch reached out and took the toy,

"let me have that, hon.."

She stared up at the Grinch as asked,

"Auntie, why are you taking away my toy? Why?"

But, you know, that old Grinch was so smart and so slick

She thought up a lie, and she thought it up quick!

"Why, my sweet little tot," the Grinch lied,

"There's a better one under the tree,

we have even more to surprise!

"So I'm taking this one away for now, my dear.

"I'll put it away for now, and later, bring it back here."

And her fib fooled the child. Then she patted her head

And sent her to the tree to open up a quiet puzzle instead.

The Grinch thought she had it all figured out,

At least people understood. There was no more doubt.

She expected to hear people talking about her,

In the kitchen they surely must all be worrying about.

"That's a noise," grinned the Grinch,

"That I simply must hear!"

So she paused. And the Grinch put a hand to her ear.

And she did hear a sound rising through the wall,

It was joy and fun, at first it wasn't concern at all!

The sound wasn't sad!

Why, this sound sounded merry!

It couldn't be so!

But it WAS merry! VERY!

She stared into the kitchen,

The Grinch popped her eyes!

Then she shook!

What she saw was a shocking surprise!

Cindy Lou sat in her mom's lap and said,

"What's wrong with Auntie?"

Her mom told her quietly, "She's a very special lady.

When we visit her, she often tries to look nice,

But she still hurts inside,

She just acts like she's fine."

"I love Auntie, I don't want her to hurt," said Cindy Lou.

"I know," said her mom, "We love her too."

Family members were still having a great time,

They weren't worried about her,

or even of her appearance surprised.

She hadn't made them concerned,

because they already were,

She just didn't know

that they didn't know what to say to her.

And the Grinch, with her grinch-feet ice-cold on the floor,

Stood puzzling and puzzling: "How could I be adored?

I look so awful, I'm in such a bad mood.

I've been such a fake hostess,

I even took away a gift from sweet

Cindy Lou!"

"I thought no one understood,

but I never thought to ask.

I listened to what they said,

and didn't try to explain.

I assumed they should just know how I felt

I let them pull my chain."

And she puzzled three hours,

`till her puzzler was sore.

Then the Grinch thought of something

she hadn't before!

"Maybe Christmas," she thought,

"doesn't come from feeling great.

Maybe Christmas...perhaps....

"comes from communicating straight!

Maybe Christmas comes from accepting the love

Of those all around us, friends, and God from above."

And what happened then...? some parts they say

That the Grinch's small heart

Grew three sizes that day!

And the minute her heart didn't feel quite so slow,

She whizzed through the house, with a spirit that was no longer low.

The body still had aches, the pain didn't go away.

But the rest of the afternoon, her spirit felt at play.

Prayer for Those in Physical Pain

Oh Lord, help me to feel your calming hand upon me
when I am in pain.
Let your ever-loving comfort enfold me,
And give me the heart to see
that in my suffering, I am becoming
closer to you...
and more divine.

From "Peace in the Storm: Meditations on Chronic Pain and Illness" by Maureen Pratt.


  1. Just discovered your blog recently and really enjoy it. Thanks for all these holiday sentiments. It's hard to be in pain when all around you are celebrating. One of my trusty mantras is -- "All the healing forces in the universe flow through my body." It gets me through some shaky moments.

    I hope your holidays are good ones and that your new year is peaceful in all ways.

  2. Thank you and I wish you the same - peace and blessings.


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