One component of my 6M method to maintaining a balanced life with chronic illness is motivation. (The other components are medication, movement, manage, meditate and maturate). Being creative is one way I motivate myself. It utilizes all parts of the brain and I am encouraged when I finish a project. Here is an attempt at acrylic painting. I am definitely not Michelangelo but it was fun and relaxing making the attempt.
- 1/2 cup diced onion
- 2 tsp minced garlic
- 2 TBSP butter
- 2 cups diced potatoes
- 2 cups diced carrots
- 1 14-oz can chicken broth
- 1 medium zucchini, diced
- 2 large tomatoes, peeled and diced (or you can use 1 14-oz can diced tomatoes, not drained)
- 1 14-oz can corn (not drained)
- 1/2 tsp rubbed sage
- 1/2 tsp all-purpose seasoning
- 1 can evaporated milk
- 2 TBSP cornstarch
- 1 cup diced chicken or ham, optional
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, to top bowls of stew with
- In a large stockpot, heat butter over medium heat. Add in onions, garlic, potatoes and carrots. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring often, until onions are translucent.
- Add in chicken broth. Cover and cook for 15 minutes, until potatoes and carrots are soft.
- Add in zucchini, tomatoes, corn, chicken or ham (if desired) and seasonings (except cornstarch.) Heat for another 10-15 minutes or so, until mixture is hot and beginning to boil.
- Reduce heat and add all but 2-3 TBSP of the evaporated milk. Mix remaining evaporated milk with the cornstarch and stir until combined. Stir it into the stew. Simmer for an additional 10 minutes. Salt & pepper to taste. Top with fresh diced cherry tomatoes & a little shredded Parmesan cheese once stew is ladled into each bowl.
It is sometimes difficult to continue living a hopeful life while enduring constant affliction from my multiple chronic illnesses. When things get most challenging, it is my faith in God that gives me hope to continue in life. Some people ponder, how can a person with chronic illness still have faith in a God that doesn’t heal all of one’s sickness?
My father survived cancer three times. During his second battle, I asked him how he could continue to have faith in God even though he got cancer again. He explained, “God does not promise life is going to be beautiful all the time like roses. There are thorns on the rose bush. We will get stuck by several thorns before we get to the rose, which is eternal life. What God does promise is that he will stay by our side during the trial and help us through it.” My father did get healed and was healed a third time from cancer. He ultimately lived another 30 or so years and experienced a full life.
In the case of chronic illness there is no cure, one can never be healed of the illness. Even though the illness will never be healed, it doesn’t mean that God does not provide healing. Healing can occur in many others ways. I have been hospitalized for Depression six times. Each time I learn from the experience. This has allowed me to accept my affliction and I am now able to manage the disease more effectively. Had I not endured all of those challenges I would not be where I am today. God healed my fears about my future, provided me strength to endure difficulties and gave me courage to move forward.
It is God’s promise of eternal life that sustains me. Our lives here on earth are just a short time compared to eternity. Our sufferings may appear to be long in earthly time but it is only one second in eternity. This is what I always remind myself of when I start getting discouraged about living with chronic illness. My suffering now is nothing compared to the glory I will receive in Heaven. In Heaven there will be no illnesses, no hospitals, no medications and that is something to hope for.
Last month my family celebrated my Cousin Raul’s 100th birthday. It was a great reunion of over 300 family members we had not seen in quite some time. We looked at old photos, took lots of new ones and shared a big Cuban meal together. It was quite a commemoration of my cousin’s long life.
This got me thinking, would I want to live for 100 years? I don’t think I do. My body is already quite tired of dealing with my multiple medical conditions. I can’t imagine living another 50+ years. That would result in an incredible number of blood tests, medicine, and doctor appointments. Of course maybe by then there will be some magical medical advances which would allow me to have a bionic body to rid me of my illness management.
During the party a family member gave a speech. He said the key to Raul’s longevity was that he stays engaged in life. Raul has continued to remain an active member of a social club in the city where he lives. At his reception, Raul accepted donations so light posts could be installed around the outside of the club’s building. Even at 100 years old he is involved in the process of restoring a community.
I believe it is not the quantity of years one lives that matters, what matters is the quality in how one lives. In The Bible, Ecclesiastes 5:20 states, “For he will not often consider the years of his life because God keeps him occupied with the gladness of his heart”. Purpose is the key to having gladness in one’s heart. God has given each person special talents and circumstances to share with others. One should use these gifts to engage in life. As long as one continues to seek God’s will, life will be fulfilling.
I often get weary of dealing with my medical issues. Some days I feel like I cannot deal with all the daily activities of living while having to spend so much time on my health. But it is my faith in God and my relationship with others that keeps me hoping for what is yet to come. Whether I live another 50 years or just one more day, I will continue to follow God’s plan for me. My purpose will keep me going through any challenges I face in the future.
This recipe is a fresh alternative to the traditional potato salad. It is from one of my favorite chefs, Giada De Laurentiis.
- 1 pound orzo pasta
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus 1/4 cup
- 2 cups fresh arugula (about 3 ounces)
- 3/4 cup crumbled ricotta salata cheese (or feta cheese)
- 1/2 cup dried cherries
- 12 fresh basil leaves, torn
- 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Watch how to make this recipe.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain pasta and put the pasta on a large cookie sheet. Drizzle the pasta with 3 tablespoons olive oil, toss, spread out, and set aside to cool.
Once the orzo is cool, transfer to a large serving bowl. Add the remaining ingredients and toss gently to combine. Serve.
Recipe courtesy of Giada De Laurentiis
It’s already summer, time is flying by. Well, in my last update I talked about how this year is my year of ACTION! I am working towards my goal of living a balanced life with multiple chronic illnesses.
Beginning June 1st this month, I started a new approach to my spiritual life. I read the book “Writing Down Your Soul” written by Janet Conner. The book talks about writing from your subconscious mind. It explains the process of reaching one’s deeper thoughts through a spiritual ritual. This book has encouraged me to mediate on God’s word every night and practice writing from my soul. This has helped me engage in one of my goals, meditation. I feel a greater connection to my faith as well as a greater connection to others. I first use aromatherapy to calm myself, then read some scriptures from the bible, pray, then write. I call it my Awakening Ceremony.
The second action I have been working on is exercising more. I have been working up to two 15 minute sessions a day on my Simply Fit board. So far I have been doing it almost everyday this month. I have had some improvement with not feeling as stiff. Plus, my ankles have not been as swollen.
I am looking forward to seeing progress on these two goals. We will see what happens in the next quarter!