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Sleep Struggles? Share Your Story

Sleep is a precious resource that many people, particularly those with chronic illness or pain, don’t get enough of. If you’re a woman who has triumphed over your sleep problems, Laurie from A Chronic Dose wants to hear your story for an article she’s writing.

The National Sleep Foundation is an amazing resource for those still struggling with sleep. For information on sleep and headache disorders see Sleep, Sweet Elusive Sleep.

If good sleep still eludes your (or if you’re a man!), please share your experiences in the comments for this post.

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Romantic Relationships, Marriage & Chronic Illness

Whether you’re married, living together or dating, chronic illness causes upheaval in any romantic relationship — no matter if it is solid or if it’s a little rocky. In marriages involving a chronic illness, the divorce rate is more that 75 percent (from A Chronic Dose).

I get asked for advice a lot and am always at a loss for what to say. I’ve finally stumbled upon some helpful resources. They all focus on marriage, but some themes are universal.

Keeping Your Marriage Strong
This overview is a good place to start exploring the topic. It addresses many different topics and gives some suggestions for improving your relationship.

How to Survive a Health Crisis or Chronic Illness
An excellent in-depth article covering a swath of issues that couples face. It has concrete, detailed suggestions for keeping your relationship strong.

Marriage and Chronic Illness: A Couple’s Story
One couple’s experience with chronic illness and how it ultimately improved their marriage.

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Personality or Illness?

Laurie at A Chronic Dose wonders if she’s type A by nature or by illness. “Too much energy wasted on wishing things were perfect and making sure everything unfolds just so?”, she asks.

Laurie’s questioning is similar to the questions I’ve been asking myself in the last week. Do my insecurities in social situations stem from pain preventing me from being fully engaged in conversations? Is my (generally) more laid-back approach to life because I can’t be the high-energy, high-stress person I used to be, or have I simply grown up?

These questions also lead to reflections on the path I might have taken without my headaches. Would I have found a career that was as fulfilling as blogging? Would I be so eager to do things that we dream of now instead of after retirement, like traveling? Since I can’t do it differently, I’m glad that I feel like I’m heading the right way. Still, I have to wonder.

Even Hart’s life would be different without his episodic migraines, albeit in minor ways. He’d drink more coffee and enjoy the occasional glass of red wine. He wouldn’t have the fear of being struck down out of the blue.

Do you wonder what your life would have been like without your headaches?

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Guilt & One’s Social Life

Having to cancel plans, not pulling your share around the house, letting down co-workers (or not being able to work at all)… Everyone with chronic illness has an overabundance of guilt. Writer Laurie Edwards explores the affect guilt has on her social life and ways she’s tried to overcome this.

I’ve raved about Laurie’s other ChronicBabe articles and am thrilled that she now has her own blog, Chronic Dose.

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Dating Your Doctor

Figuring out how much to disclose about your illness requires a balancing act that often feels like the scale is askew. In January, Laurie Edwards shared the story of a cute guy at a party who didn’t run when she disclosed her illness in more detail than she normally would.

She’s since learned that finding a good doctor and finding a good partner have much in common — including how picky one should be about choosing the person you fall in love with.

Laurie writes:

“A first appointment with a new doctor really is the medical equivalent of a first date. It’s all about the chemistry, that intangible sense that this person is worth another look.”

“Think about the ways we’re trained to evaluate first encounters of the romantic kind: Was he (or she) polite and engaging, or brash and curt? Was the other person merely hearing the words coming out of our mouths or actually listening to them? All of these litmus tests apply once you step into that exam room.”

In addition to writing articles for ChronicBabe, Laurie also has her own blog, Chronic Dose.