The First Steps For Living With A Chronic Illness

steps for living with a chronic illness
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One of the worst times in anyone’s life is when they are told they are suffering from a lifelong disease. This is not the kind of news that anyone ever wants to hear. But if you are told this, your most important concern will be to try to find a way to deal with it as best you can. To find a new normal.

The truth is this can take some effort – it can take a long time to even get used to the situation, let alone work out what your next steps are. But if you are in this process at the moment, we hope that the following information will help you get a better sense of what you need to do next.

Action Steps For Living With A Chronic Illness

1. Gather Your Support Network

No matter what it is that you are diagnosed with, you will need a support system to get through it. In some instances, you might need people to help you with even fundamental self-care issues. For others with other illnesses, it could simply be a case of needing a little emotional support from your family.

Whatever it is that you need, it’s essential to work it out and gather everyone together to fully appreciate the enormity of what is going on. If you think you will need some kind of home care, then you should have that arranged as soon as possible. If you need financial help at all, then get the ball rolling there.

Looking to your support network early on will make sure that you do not worry unduly – and that’s important for your state of mind.

2. Keep Your Mindset Straight

One of the toughest challenges here is ensuring that you keep your emotions in check. It is a good idea to work towards accepting your illness, so it’s essential to feel your emotions fully from the start. But you need to find ways to deal with the inevitable emotional backlash of the diagnosis, as this might take some time to recover within you.

Again, this is a situation where having a good support network can really help, so make sure you feel comfortable and safe expressing yourself to those people around you. Keep your head straight, and you will find it makes it easier to deal with – even if you have fears about the future as well.

3. Prepare For The Future

It is likely that your life is about to change in some profound ways. The more prepared you are for those changes, the more likely it is you will be able to cope with them head-on when they arise. Change is inherent to life, but especially when you have a serious ongoing medical condition.

It is likely that your workload will change, your love life will change, your social life will change. Know that this is normal. You are not alone. It’s a good idea to try to accept this as early as you can so that you can then work towards doing what you can with what you have.

Also, be encouraged that many people with chronic illness say that going through the struggles taught them valuable life lessons. It caused them to reflect on their priorities and spend more time with family and friends, or pursue interests they didn’t make time for before.


Do you or someone you love have a chronic illness? What tips can you share that could help someone who has just been diagnosed with a chronic condition?

Share your thoughts below.


For more on chronic illness, you may want to check out:

Connect With Me Below:

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Twitter — @LoriGeurin
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Email — healthylife@lorigeurin.com

This post contains affiliate links. And you can read our Affiliate Policy here.


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How To Speak With A Southern Drawl, The Heimlich Maneuver And A Mini-Vacation To Nashville

Southern drawl
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Hey y’all!

How’s that for a Southern accent? Hope y’all don’t mind me tryin’ it out on ya. 😉

So, part of our family (David, the girls and I because the boys had work) just returned from a fun mini-trip to Nashville, Tennessee. And I’m pretty sure if I stayed much longer I’d pick up their Southern drawl fairly quickly.

Why?

  1. Because I like the relaxed vibe of the South.
  2. Because when I was in college my friends from the “Northern” U.S. commented on my Southern accent and I was asked several times if I was from Texas. True story. This, despite the fact that I was born and raised in good ‘ole Southwest Missouri.

    Southern drawl
    Cowboy boots never go out of style.
  3. I like cowboy boots.
  4. And cowboy hats.

I guess this goes to show that everyone has an accent of one kind or another.

And our perception of another person’s “accent” is influenced by where we’re from and the dialect we’re used to hearing and speaking.

Interesting, right?

Drawn To His Southern Drawl

So, we had a discussion about accents on the 7-hour trip down (or east from Southwest Missouri). Like how David lost his Southern accent and how long you have to live somewhere (such as Nashville) before you start to talk like the locals.

D is originally from Kentucky and when I met him in college I was drawn to his Southern drawl.

He sat behind me in a class and after several days of hearing his smooth Kentucky accent, always the curious one that I am, I just had to turn around and put a face to that voice.

And boy was I glad that I did. 😉

(He’ll love me for saying that.)

The rest they say is history…

Well there was a bit more than that.

Southern drawl
Carrots are nutritious and high in beta carotene.

Like the time he gave me the Heimlich Maneuver in our college cafeteria (shout out to Meller’s Cafeteria! where our son, Cooper now works) when I choked on a very large carrot.

For real.

My airway was completely obstructed and he saved my life!

Maybe that sealed the deal?

But I’m pretty sure I knew he was the one way before that.

Based on the Southern drawl and all.

Y’all.

Why Learn To Speak With A Different Accent?

Southern drawl
We saw lots of cowboy boots and guitars in Nashville. Boot, scootin’ boogie.

There are different reasons for wanting to learn to speak with a Southern drawl:

  • if you’re an actor, you can expand your repertoire
  • it’s fun!
  • to impress your friends and family
  • to impersonate someone from the South

Okay, so maybe not the last one.

If you enjoy learning new things like I do, you may like this next part.

Tips For Speaking With A Southern Accent

  • Speak slowly–People from the South tend to draw out their words, especially the vowel sounds. There’s a lilt to their speech and a single syllable vowel can become two syllables. For example, “fill” becomes “fee-hill.”
  • Drop the “g”s. So words that end in “ing” will lose the “g”. For example, “eating” becomes “eatin'” and “running” becomes “runnin’.” Some of us tend to do this in the Ozarks too.
  • Use “y’all” instead of “you all” every chance you get. Even better, and a slight variation, try using “all y’all.” This is my personal favorite.
  • Remember your manners. Generally speaking, Southerners are polite. So try, “‘Scuse me”, “Thank ya”, “Yes M’am”, and “Sir” on for size.
  • Learn and practice some local phrases. Over the years I’ve been entertained by D’s long list of “Kentuckyism’s. These are phrases, or sayings, he grew up hearing in his home state of Kentucky. Many of them he learned from his Granny Mildred, I think. Examples of such colloquialisms could include: “As scarce as deviled eggs after a church picnic” or “I love them roastin’ ears (corn on the cob)” and “If the good Lord’s willin’ and the creek don’t rise.”
  • It’s important to keep in mind when we’re talking like someone from the South (or any other region or country) that we show sensitivity to their culture so we don’t cause hurt feelings or offense.

Here’s a video that can help you understand Southerners and some of the things they say. (I realize the still video picture below goes against my comment above about showing cultural sensitivity, but thought it was one of the more informative videos so chose to share it anyway. Hopefully it doesn’t offend anyone out there…this is definitely not my intention.)

The Takeaway

It can be fun to visit new places and observe and interact with different people.

Nashville is an especially fun place to travel to. It’s rich in Southern pride and tradition.

Every person has a unique accent. There are different reasons you might want to learn to speak with a Southern accent. Learning new things can be fun! Or maybe you’re thinking of moving to Nashville to work at becoming a country music star. More power to ya.

Either way, I hope you continue learning new things, and exploring new horizons. Most of all, I hope you had fun reading this post!


Do you like learning new things? Do you enjoy traveling, meeting new people and experiencing new cultures? 

Please share below in the comment section. I love hearing from you!


For more on our trip to the South, you may enjoy: Fun In Nashville: Cupcake ATM, The Parthenon & Girls Day Out

If you enjoyed this, you might want to check out:

Learn how to do the Heimlich Maneuver here.

Connect With Me Below:

Pinterest — /LoriGeurin
Facebook — /LoriGeurinBlog
Twitter — @LoriGeurin
Instagram — @LoriGeurin
Bloglovin — lorigeurin
Email — healthylife@lorigeurin.com

This post contains affiliate links. And you can read our Affiliate Policy here.


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Undiagnosed And Suffering With Lyme Disease: I Felt Like I Was Dying

suffering with Lyme

It’s been 5 years since I was bit by tiny ticks which infected me with Lyme bacteria.  Like the hundreds of thousands of people who get Lyme disease each year, it changed my life radically.

For several months, just like Avril Levigne, I felt like I was dying.

I went from being a healthy and active young mom to 4, to being barely able to walk a few yards to my mailbox. Everyday tasks such as taking a shower and getting dressed became incredibly difficult.

And it all happened so fast.

I realized I had taken my good health for granted, something I’ll not do again.

I was soon able to empathize with friends and family who also were dealing with chronic pain and chronic illness.

Because now I was living it too.

The multiple doctors and specialists I went to couldn’t figure out what was causing my rapidly deteriorating symptoms.

Because of this, I was untreated for 18 very long months.

What Is Lyme Disease Anyway?

When Lyme bacteria, or Borrelia Burgdorferi, has free rein over your body for this long without being treated the damage can cause destruction to every organ and system in the body. This includes the heart, brain, neurological and immune systems.

Lyme is called “the great imitator”. This is because the symptoms are like so many other diseases and conditions. These include Multiple Sclerosis, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, Sjogren’s syndrome, and many others.

I repeatedly asked the doctors if my illness could be due to the tick bites I got at my home after being in the tall grasslands and forest area behind our house. I became extremely sick shortly after discovering the ticks and thought this was something that should definitely be investigated.

My Lyme diagnosis came much later.

“You Can’t Get Lyme Disease In Missouri.”

suffering with Lyme
Lyme disease has been reported in all 50 states.

Unfortunately, I was told, “You can’t get Lyme disease in Missouri.”

At the time, I was naive to believe that doctors are usually right. Of course, like the rest of us, they are only human.

And, out of necessity, I’ve learned how to advocate for myself as a patient.

I started doing my homework.

And asking the right questions.

The teacher in me. And the life-long learner that I am…It didn’t take long to figure out that, in this case, a wait and see approach was not appropriate.

With Lyme disease it never is.

I persisted in my quest for answers. Finally, the proper tests were given that proved they were tragically wrong.

You can indeed get Lyme disease in Missouri. And I had it.

Suffering With Lyme Disease, YouTube & Forgiveness

I did in fact have Lyme and another potentially deadly tick-borne illness, tularemia.

Since then I have met many caring physicians who are indignant when they hear I was given the run around for so long without proper treatment, especially when the doctors knew I was bitten by ticks and my health continued to go downhill so quickly.

At the time, my primary care physician simply told me that I had “tick fever”. (I was never clear about what that is.)

Later, I returned to this doctor because I wasn’t getting better. I was, in fact, getting much worse. He said I looked stressed (perhaps from the constant pain and insomnia?).

Then he suggested I watch a youtube video about the benefits of walking.

In my naivety, and my strong desire to do everything possible to get healthy, I did as he instructed. Unfortunately, I was unable to walk further than my driveway due to severe air hunger, heart palpitations and extreme weakness and fatigue….all symptoms of Lyme disease!

I don’t believe these doctors meant to harm me even though going so long without a diagnosis did just that. I believe they wanted to help me and were doing the best they knew how with the knowledge and tools they had.

Although I’ve had to work through some difficult and strong feelings like people sometimes do in life, I have no ill will towards them. (For more on this, please feel free to check out The Shocking Truth About Forgiveness And Your Health.)

I do, however, hope that these doctors (and all medical professionals) make concerted efforts to learn more and keep up on the latest about Lyme disease so others don’t have to suffer needlessly too.

If this happened to me it could happen to you or to your loved ones. And I would never wish this horrible disease on anyone! That’s why it’s important to me to share with you to help prevent other people from going through what I, and thousands of others, have.

Finding A New Normal After Lyme Disease

suffering with Lyme
Making healthy choices, managing stressors and listening to your body can help you deal with chronic illness.

Although life is very different for me now, I’m finding a new normal and constantly working to learn more and become as healthy as possible.

I’m thankful for a supportive family and friends.

In some ways life is actually better because I’ve learned to slow down and bask in the moment. Whereas before I was always multitasking, running from one event to the next.

I’m learning to live in the moment. 🙂

Although I lived a pretty healthy life before, I’m much more conscious of making healthy choices now.

I’m more in touch with my body now. I (usually) don’t push past my limits like I used to. (Bad habits are hard to break.)

I also try to better deal with stress in my life instead of ignoring it.

Healing has been a gradual process. But I’m thankful for every gain and positive change that has occurred.

I’m not well, but I’m stronger than I was a year ago. And  that’s definitely a positive in my book!

The Takeaway

Suffering with Lyme disease, then finally getting a diagnosis has been a prolonged and painful process. But God has brought me through and strengthened me through the suffering and trials, and He can do the same for you.

If you have a chronic illness, don’t give up!


Do you have a chronic illness? Can you relate? What tips can you share to help others? 

Please share your comments and questions below in the comment section. I love hearing from you!


 You might like to read the following for help and encouragement if you or someone you love has a chronic illness:

Connect With Me Below:

Pinterest — /LoriGeurin
Facebook — /LoriGeurinBlog
Twitter — @LoriGeurin
Instagram — @LoriGeurin
Bloglovin — lorigeurin
Email — healthylife@lorigeurin.com

This post contains affiliate links. And you can read our Affiliate Policy here.


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The Signs, Symptoms And Stages Of Lyme Disease

signs symptoms and stages of Lyme disease
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Lyme disease continues to be a hot topic in the news, likely because it is increasing at an alarming rate due to climate changes and other factors.

Between 2004 and 2009 reported cases of Lyme disease rose 94%.

And the number of cases continue to rise today.

Fortunately, people are starting to take notice of this disturbing trend.

But, if Lyme disease continues to spread, often unrecognized and untreated, it won’t take long before everyone either knows someone who has it, or they have it themself.

Lyme is now much more common than AIDS, West Nile Virus, and other vector-borne illnesses.

Knowing what to look out for is crucial.

I’ve been living with late-stage chronic Lyme for the past 5 years. I don’t want anyone to have to go through this horrible illness and believe prevention is essential.

I’m going to share the signs, symptoms, and stages of Lyme disease below so you know what to watch for. I truly hope this will help you protect yourself and your loved ones.

signs, symptoms and stages of Lyme diseaseSigns Symptoms And Stages Of Lyme Disease

1. Early Localized Lyme Disease (1 to 4 weeks)

This stage can develop from days to weeks after becoming infected.

Symptoms may include:

  • Rashes – Less that 50% of Lyme patients remember developing a rash. Sometimes the rash looks like a bulls-eye. This is referred to as erythema migrans (EM). It is a myth that you must  have this rash to have Lyme disease (1). I did not ever see a bull-eye rash, but have developed a number of unusual red and splotchy rashes since the tick bites (for more on rashes, keep reading below).
  • Flu-like symptoms, such as fever and chills, fatigue, headache, pain or stiffness in the neck and swollen lymph nodes (2).
  • Nausea, dizziness and vomiting

Stage 2: Early Disseminated Lyme Disease Infection (1 to 4 months)

This stage develops when the disease is not found and/or treated properly soon after infection. At this point the infection can begin to affect the joints, heart, nervous system and skin.

Symptoms may include:

  • More rashes that start to appear in different parts of the body due to the infection spreading
  • Paralysis of the facial muscles, or Bell’s Palsy
  • Fainting
  • Headaches or migraines
  • Painful, swollen joints, such as the knees
  • Heart palpitations or Lyme carditis
  • Conjunctivitis, or pink eye
  • Meningitis – swelling of the brain

Stage 3: Late Persistent Lyme Disease, Or Chronic Lyme

Failure to treat Lyme promptly can cause damage to the brain, joints and nervous system. This is the most serious stage.

Symptoms may include:

  • Extreme exhaustion which is not relieved by sleeping or resting
  • Inability to control facial muscles
  • Heart problems, such as pericarditis
  • Tingling and numbness of the hands and feet
  • Arthritis, often in the larger joints, such as the knees
  • Short-term memory loss
  • Confusionsigns symptoms and stages of Lyme disease
  • Difficulty thinking or reasoning
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Getting lost, even in familiar areas
  • Anxiety, panic attacks
  • Seizures
  • Tremor
  • Sensitivity to sound, light and smells
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Mood swings, depression
  • Sleep disorders
  • Migrating joint and muscle pain
  • Vertigo
  • Difficulty hearing
  • Vision difficulties
  • Weight gain or loss
  • “Air hunger”
  • Pain in the chest or ribs
  • “Heart block”
  • Neck pain, stiffness and cracking
  • Night sweats
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Heart murmur or valve prolapse
  • Light-headedness, dizziness
  • Menstrual irregularity

The Takeaway

This list of signs, symptoms and stages of Lyme disease is not exhaustive. I’ve talked to a lot of people with Lyme and many of our symptoms are similar, but others are different.

My friend, if you are struggling with an illness and the doctors have been unable to help you, you may want to consider this list to help you rule out (or in) Lyme disease, especially if you spend a lot of time outdoors or live in a tick-infested area.

And of course, if you know you’ve been bit by a tick, mosquito, etc and aren’t feeling well, please get yourself checked out immediately.

Here is a list of doctors who specialize in treating Lyme patients. I would highly recommend starting here.


Do you have any of these symptoms? Or do you have an unexplained illness and can’t seem to get answers?

Please share your comments below in the comment section. I love hearing from you!


For more on Lyme disease, you may want to check out:

Connect With Me Below:

Pinterest — /LoriGeurin
Facebook — /LoriGeurinBlog
Twitter — @LoriGeurin
Instagram — @LoriGeurin
Bloglovin — lorigeurin
Email — healthylife@lorigeurin.com

This post contains affiliate links. You can read our Affiliate Policy here.

Finally, the information provided in this article has not been evaluated by the FDA and is not intended to treat, prevent, diagnose or cure any disease or health problem.


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