This month, I’ve been working my way through the 30 Day Chronic Illness Challenge.  Each day, there is a new writing prompt that focus on topics relating to chronic illness and/or living with a chronic illness.  The Challenge was created by @cfs_zombie, and I learned about it through Tumblr.  I’m almost halfway done with this Challenge and I’m starting to get tired of it.  So, this post will contain a lot of photos (just to change things up a bit).

Day 14: Give 5 things you are grateful for.

In order to fit with today’s topic, I am going to focus on 5 things that I am grateful for that help me to cope with the symptoms of my chronic illnesses. There are far more than 5 things that help me, so I picked out a few that provide quick relief. This list is in random order because I couldn’t decide on which was the most important.

One: Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies
The photo at the top of this blog shows an entire plate of yummy, gluten-free, chocolate chip cookies (fresh from the oven). I’ve always loved chocolate chip cookies, and they were the hardest thing to abstain from once I’d figured out that I am gluten-intolerant (and allergic to wheat, rye, and barley). Fortunately, Udi’s makes some awesome, frozen, ones that you can pop in the oven – like “normal” chocolate chip cookies. Delicious! These will make my day a little bit brighter (no matter how sick I am).

Two: Air Cleaner

There are days when I find it really difficult to breathe. Maybe I went outside when the pollen count was high. Or, I spent time exposed to allergens that I couldn’t get away from. Sometimes, I just wake up wheezing. When that happens, it is really nice to hide in my room next to my air cleaner. It removes the dust, pollen, and other junk from the air. This makes it easier for me to breathe. Recently, I moved the air cleaner from the floor it is sitting on in the photo. It now sits on a small table right next to my head as I sleep (or nap).

Three: Acupuncture

Oh, how I look forward to “acupuncture day”!  I can go to my appointment even when I’m super sick – and come out feeling better.  Acupuncture (and the herbal supplements that go with it) are helping strengthen my immune system.  Acupuncture is also helpful for dealing with exposure to gluten (and the inflammation it causes).

Acupuncture provides stress release, reduction in pain, and so much more.  I find that acupuncture, combined with the “typical” medications that I use, works better than only the medications.  I understand that acupuncture won’t cure my allergies (or other chronic illnesses). It does, however, make some of the symptoms a lot more manageable.

Four: Cute Little Pill Caddy

I got this as a Christmas gift from my mother-in-law.  I love it!  The little compartments hold exactly what I need to take every day.  There is even an extra space for the medications that I take “as needed”.  Using it helps me to remember to take my medications.

It also comes in handy for the times when I cannot remember if I took my medicine or if I didn’t take it yet.  Is it still in the pill caddy?  No?  Then I took it already!  It’s no fun having to take medication every day.  But, somehow, taking “happy pills” feels a lot more positive.

Five: Electric Blanket

I live in California, where it doesn’t really get cold.  The weather here is a lot warmer in the winter than it is in Illinois (where I grew up).  Even so, there are times when I have trouble staying warm. I’m pretty sure that, most of the time, my inability to stay warm has something to do with some of my allergy medications.  Or, it might have something to do with the constant fatigue.  Maybe I don’t have enough energy to keep warm.

This is exactly why I love my electric blanket.  I rest better when I don’t have to use my limited energy to keep warm.  The warmth from the electric blanket also feels really good on my joints when they are inflamed, stiff, and achy.  I don’t need to use my electric blanket every night, but I do use it for a large part of the winter.

This has been the easiest topic (so far) in the 30 Day Chronic Illness Challenge.  I love to write, but it is always fun to create a blog post with a bunch of photos in it.  I appreciate that the topic specifically asked me to list 5 things.  Otherwise, I might have felt the need to make this blog a lot longer and more complex.  Instead, this blog was fun, and low energy, and stress free.

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