Chronicles (Chronic Ills)

It’s No Secret After All

As a person with a chronic illness, I’m often frustrated by how easily others dismiss illness and just say, if you set an intention to the universe to heal you will. Or what’s even worse is when people respond by asking, “Have you seen The Secret?” Yes, I’ve seen it, I know all about it. And I think people have taken it far too literally. I don’t think that just visualizing being well, or having a new home or a new job will actually cause those things to be a reality. In order for those things to happen, people have to put in the effort, and sometimes the stars don’t align and those efforts don’t pay off. Dreaming isn’t enough. Trust me, I know. If dreams were all that mattered, I would have been a pop star by the time I was 17 and I would have been driving around in […]

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Managing My Mystery Diagnosis

The Art of Self-Diagnosis

The thing about having a mystery diagnosis is that there isn’t any text book I can refer people to. There’s no support group for people like me. As a result, it has been necessary for me to learn to be my own advocate, healthcare provider and number one supporter, all while also being the patient. It’s not something I would wish on anyone yet I also see the upside to these experiences. Because of them, I can relate to others when they are going through their own hardships. I know better than to think that people should snap out of it or find a distraction. I have also learned to be more adaptable and to recognize that life isn’t a series of check boxes. It’s a journey, and like most journeys it is often unpredictable.

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About a year ago, I lost the one form of exercise I could handle. Due to constant joint and muscle pain, there is very little exercise I can do without putting myself at risk. But I try not to focus on what I can’t do. Instead, I put away my running shoes, put on a bathing suit and converted a favorite childhood pastime into a preferred exercise routine. After joining a local gym with a pool, I committed to swimming laps three times a week. I’m not an Olympian by any means, but I always showed up. This little achievement made me feel like I had some level of control over my life, and my body. Everything changed for me last summer. From now on, I won’t go in a pool until I know that the pH levels are in the safe zone.

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Later Seder


Passover has always been my favorite holiday. As a kid, I always looked forward to the annual Passover Seder. This year, it didn’t come at exactly a good time. So I had to miss the Seder this year. Until…I decided that maybe it wouldn’t be too late to host one of my own. I coined it, “The Later Seder,” and it will now be an annual event. Here’s what we prepared and how, and how we went wrong in a few places.

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The Pollyanna Paradox

I once dated someone who observed that I’m drawn to depressing movies, TV shows and music. “Why?” he asked. “Because I feel that I can connect – that the writers and characters are expressing something I feel but cannot articulate,“ I said. He shrugged and said he didn’t get me. (I guess that’s why the relationship didn’t last long.)

Many years later I’m still drawn to melancholy or even self-deprecating humor (although the latter might just be a result of my neurotic Jewish DNA). This sentiment has carried over into my own forms of expression.

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Going In Circles

How do I explain what I’ve been feeling lately? In a nutshell, I guess I could say that I’ve been depressed. It’s not as though I haven’t experienced this before. We all have those moments. But usually these moments are predicated by the dissolution of some promising relationship or the feeling that I’m stuck in my life. Neither of these scenarios applies to me right now. In fact, now that I’ve picked myself up and moved to another city (granted, Philly is not far from NYC but it feels as though I’m in a totally different part of the country), I know I can do this again.

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