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Buying a Christmas gift for someone with a chronic illness can be challenging. It’s hard to know what someone would want or use when they’re dealing with debilitating symptoms. Life with chronic illness can look a lot different than it does for someone who is healthy, so I created this guide to make finding the right gift for someone with chronic pain or illness easier!

(This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase, a small portion of the sale, at no added cost to you, will go toward keeping this site running. I’m grateful for the opportunity to provide lots of free resources on the blog! Thank you for your support!)

Here are some gift ideas for those with chronic pain or illness:

1. A gift card to their favorite local store or even a gift card to Amazon.com. Amazon gift cards come in handy when ordering supplements or other necessities. It’s also fun to have money to spend on a book, movie, or other hobby supplies.

2. Coloring book and colored pencils – I love coloring books like this one that include scripture. They help ground me in the Word. Twist up colored pencils are my favorite because they’re much easier to use since they don’t require sharpening!

3. A luxurious, warm blanket! A lot of people with chronic illnesses like Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, Thyroid conditions, and Lyme Disease have temperature sensitivity. I’ve been eyeing this blanket for a while – I’m even thinking of putting it on my wedding registry because it looks incredibly warm and comforting!

4. Some cute, comfortable leggings – For those who spend a lot of time resting, wearing something that feels cute while also being like pajamas is wonderful! There are so many patterns to choose from in these leggings.

5. An acupressure mat – These are great for pain relief with chronic illness. 

6. Offer to pay for some supplements or treatment for a portion of time. I can’t tell you what a blessing it would be to have even a week’s worth of supplements paid for by a friend or family member!

7. A Bluetooth speaker can be a useful tool for those who spend a lot of time detoxing while listening to music or podcasts. Doing detox treatments can get boring fast, so listening to something can help pass the time!

8. A heating pad – Even if they already have one, an additional heating pad can be incredibly beneficial for those dealing with chronic pain. I only have one, and while I’m using it on one area I often wish I had a second one to use for a different place of pain.

9. Scripture wall art – Having scripture posted around my house helps remind me of who God is and how he’s working in my life, even through the ups and downs of suffering. Wall art like this can be encouraging to someone who is going through difficult times with chronic illness.

10. An Instant Pot – This is on my Christmas list this year! I have heard those who are avid users of instant pots rave about how much easier it makes cooking. You can make fast, nutritious bone broth with it…which I’m all about as I seek to heal my gut. (You can make a lot more than bone broth, though!)

11. Money for a date night – Money can be tight for those with chronic illnesses, so it could be a big blessing to give money to someone who could use a date night out (or in) with their spouse or significant other.

12. An Amazon Kindle – Kindles can be helpful for those who spend a lot of time stuck at home or in bed. You can use them to get on the internet, play games, and read. At times of intense arthritis, my hands hurt too much to hold a book. Propping up the Kindle is a great way to still read when books are too much for someone with a chronic illness.

13. Fuzzy socks – These socks are super cute and warm! Last year, I had a gift basket given to me that included a couple pairs of fuzzy socks, some Epsom salt, and a coloring book. I loved this gift!

The post 13 Christmas Gift Ideas for Someone With a Chronic Illness appeared first on Emily Lofgren.

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I’m really excited to tell you about a program that’s made a huge difference in my life as I’ve worked toward healing from chronic illness. Of all the forms of treatment I’ve tried, including both traditional and naturopathic medicine, this is the one thing that’s created the most significant shifts!

The treatment that’s helping me heal is called the Dynamic Neural Retraining System.

What is the Dynamic Neural Retraining System?

The Dynamic Neural Retraining System is a drug free, neuroplasticity-based healing approach to rewire chronic illness disease patterns in the brain as seen in Chemical Sensitivities, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia and many other chronic illnesses. It was developed by Annie Hopper, a counselor and chronic illness suffer who rewired her own brain as the means to overcome chronic illness.

In the DVD program, Annie shares her neuroplasticity research and the entire program, which is full of tools to help those suffering from chronic illness regain their health.

Who Can DNRS Help?

According to the Dynamic Neural Retraining System’s website, it can provide relief from: Adrenal Fatigue, Allergies (pollen, food, perfume, chemical, environmental), Anxiety, Asthma, Centralized Sensitivity Syndrome, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Chronic Pain, Cognitive Function – memory or brain fog, Depression, Dysautonomia, Electric Hypersensitivity Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, Food Sensitivities, Gulf War Syndrome, Headaches, Heavy Metal Toxicity, Insomnia, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Leaky Gut Syndrome, Lyme Disease, Mold Toxicity, Multiple Chemical Sensitivity, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Panic Attacks, Parkinson’s Disease, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome, Skin Conditions – eczema, rash, hives.

How DNRS is Helping Me Heal

These are the primary diagnoses I received prior to beginning treatment with DNRS: Lyme Disease, Babesia, Bartonella, Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Mycoplasma Pneumonia, Pyroluria, food intolerances, and Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis.

Before I began using the DVDs for DNRS, I had been treating with a wonderful integrative doctor who really knows her stuff when it comes to the conditions I was facing. But even with her successful track record, I just didn’t seem to be making improvements.

My lack of improvement was discouraging. My doctor really listened to me and cared, but the diet changes, medications, and supplements just didn’t seem to be enough on their own.

I knew something needed to change or I wasn’t going to be able to keep going – with treatment, with my relationship with my boyfriend (my health was taking a HUGE toll on things!), and with life in general. It was that bad.

After praying about my current life situation and making a decision to keep renewing my mind in the truth of God’s Word, I did more research about treatment, hoping I’d find something else to help.

Soon after that, I came across a friend’s blog post about her experiences with DNRS.

At first, I wasn’t interested. I assumed it would be another positive thinking, “manifest what you want” kind of thing (IT’S NOT!). As a Christian, I tend to be cautious of the self-help industry’s Eastern religious influence. I didn’t want to get into something that contradicted my faith.

But I found that DNRS is a neuroscience based program with a focus on reducing chronic stress on the limbic system. It stops the fight or flight response in your body so that all systems can begin to work properly again.

The stress response on bodies with chronic illness is unconscious. It isn’t caused by us and it isn’t our fault we’re ill. (READ THAT AGAIN!) It’s not your fault that you’re sick. You didn’t just “think the wrong thoughts” to make yourself sick.

I’ve learned by studying neuroplasticity that limbic system dysfunction (which includes the chronic fight or flight stress response) can be brought on by factors such as viral or bacterial infections, emotional stress (from the past or present), mold or chemical exposure, physical injury, or psychological trauma (death of loved one or divorce).

By reading information on the DNRS website and watching video testimonials, I learned that limbic system dysfunction is often brought on by a ‘perfect storm’ of contributing factors. No matter what those contributing factors are, we can take what is known about neuroplasticity and brain retraining to help ourselves recover!

Essentially, DNRS teaches that something beyond your control (like an initial illness) triggered your brain to go into overdrive and cause a stress response that resulted in chronic illness. But there are tools available to help you rewire your brain so it is working properly again and you can heal!

Once I had done A LOT of research, I decided to order the DVD Program of the training.

What Made Purchasing DNRS an Easy Choice

The decision to purchase the program was easy once I learned about the Money-Back Guarantee! They don’t just sell this program; they guarantee it. If you commit to the program for 6 months without significant results, you can get your money back! That speaks volumes to the effectiveness of the program.

At $250+, it was an investment, but I was already spending hundreds each month on medical expenses. If this helped to lessen the cost of other treatment, I was on board!

(Since starting DNRS, I now use less than half the supplements I did before beginning the program! The program has already paid for itself at least 5 times over!)

As always, please remember: The information on this website has not been evaluated by the FDA and is not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent, or cure any disease. I am not a doctor and am not offering medical advice. This website is available for informational purposes only and should not be used for treatment.  Medical treatment should always be supervised by a doctor.

In the first week of using DNRS, I saw these results:
  • Energy levels increased
  • No panic attacks – I was having them almost daily before starting DNRS
  • Increased strength to walk – I began to go on walks up to 1/2 mile when I previously had been unable to go more than a block or two
  • Depression lessened – I was happy, genuinely happy for the first time in a long time!
  • Less anxious about social situations – was able to communicate clearly and actually have fun!
  • Was able to attend a wedding and dance for quite a while before getting winded
  • Better able to relate to my boyfriend – there was a sense of peace between us that we previously were unable to achieve due to my depression/anxiety symptoms
  • Brain fog began to lift
As I implemented DNRS over the next few months, I saw these results:
  • Panic attacks infrequent and less severe in intensity
  • Increased strength and energy to walk – I can now walk up to 3 or 4 miles
  • Depression is not a regular issue anymore (In fact, I no longer take anti-depression supplements!)
  • Was able to go on a week-long family vacation and eat whatever I wanted
  • Was able to travel alone to a 4-day writers’ conference, attend every session, socialize, and eat whatever I wanted
  • Pain almost nonexistent aside from around my period and times I pushed myself too hard
  • Had the energy and stamina to volunteer at a week long Vacation Bible School at church
  • Reading comprehension and ability significantly increased – could only read short passages of the Bible before DNRS but can now read multiple chapters in one sitting
  • Neurological issues from Lyme Disease have diminished – these symptoms don’t happen often, and when they do, I recover a lot more quickly than before DNRS
  • Brain fog only occurs occasionally
  • I began to make plans with people and was able to follow through without worrying about illness getting in the way!
  • My relationship with my boyfriend actually became stable! We could finally have open, honest conversations without my brain spiraling out of control. And you know what?! He proposed!

The difference in my life before and after DNRS is night and day!

Now, when I do have some bad days (which aren’t nearly as bad as the bad days before DNRS), it’s not as big of a deal because not every single day is bad. Before doing the brain retraining program, I only had about one or two good days a month when I could go out and do something. And even then, I was still experiencing symptoms. Now, the bad symptom days are infrequent.

I’m gradually seeing myself recover faster from symptom flares.

To back up the things my boyfriend (now fiancé), Jonathan, and I noticed in my health, at the last appointment with my integrative doctor (just two months into DNRS), my inflammation was down, lymph nodes were not swollen anymore, spleen was finally normal size, balance was MUCH improved, and the rest of my physical testing showed significant improvement.

DNRS Has Been a Valuable Tool for Healing

While the Dynamic Neural Retraining System has helped cause huge shifts for me, I don’t want to put this information out there as a magic “cure all.” It has helped a whole lot, but there are a lot of other things I do to support my body and mind as well. Eating well, sleeping, exercising, renewing my mind in God’s Word, maintaining strong relationships, taking supplements, etc. are all important! I needed all of those things in addition to DNRS.

And honestly, DNRS actually helped all of those things help me more. Because of DNRS, I get better sleep, am able to exercise, have the mental energy to read the Bible more, have stronger relationships, and am able to digest food better.

When I say that DNRS is helping me heal from Lyme Disease, I mean that’s it’s helping me heal. I’m not all the way healed yet, but my quality of life is vastly improved than it was before I began the program. I still have progress to make in order to be “all better,” but I cannot deny the fact that DNRS has helped me to live life more “normally”! It is an incredibly valuable program!

All the treatments work together to create results, but I truly believe neuroplasticity techniques was a tool that was missing from my treatment protocol. Using DNRS has been a game-changer for me!

The links in the post are affiliate links. This means if you choose to purchase DNRS, a small portion of the sale (at no added cost to you) will go toward keeping this site running. I love being able to provide free content on this site for those who are facing chronic illnesses, so purchases through my affiliate links are a big blessing!!!

If you want to explore DNRS a bit more and then decide to buy it later, I’d really appreciate it if you use my affiliate link: https://emilylofgren.com/brainretraining. Thank you for your support! I’ll be excited to hear how the program works for you!

The post How DNRS is Helping Me Heal from Lyme Disease appeared first on Emily Lofgren.

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Something I find fascinating about life with Lyme Disease is that it looks different for each person. Each person uses different treatment protocols. Our routines change regularly as we add or take away various forms of treatment.

Some of us Lyme Disease patients work outside the home while others are not able to work. I’ve experienced many forms of working while treating Lyme. At some points, I worked full time. Other times, I did work for a full time job from home when I wasn’t well enough to be in the office. During the worst months with Lyme, I was mostly bedridden,homebound, and unable to work. Now I work part time and also do some other work from home.

I decided to document a day of my life while treating Chronic Lyme Disease to give you a glimpse into my life.

This particular day was off to a later, slower start after being unable to get quality sleep during the night. This was one of the more productive days. In the past, before making more progress with my health, I wasn’t able to do much reading or work on the computer. Now, on the better days, I’m able to do a lot more. Each day is different. Some days I exercise. Other days I need more time in bed. Some days I’m alone all day. Other days, my fiancé, Jonathan comes over. This is an average day in my life as I treat Lyme Disease and work on writing/blogging projects.

(This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase, a small portion of the sale, at no added cost to you, will go toward keeping this site running. I’m grateful for the opportunity to provide lots of free resources on the blog! Thank you for your support!)

Here’s a day in the life of a blogger who is treating Lyme Disease: A few minutes after Noon

– Wake up, put a spoonful of coconut oil in my mouth to begin oil pulling.

– Go to my favorite big comfy chair in the office to pray and read my Bible. I’m currently studying Job and also using this Bible commentary.

12:30 p.m.

– Spit out oil and rinse mouth, make a mug of warm lemon water and prepare herbal tinctures.

– Go back to Bible study while drinking lemon water.

12:55 p.m.

– Rinse out mouth from lemon water, take herbal tinctures and other supplements.

– Do a few tasks around the kitchen.

– Make a breakfast protein shake. This time it was Chocolate Vegan Shakeology, but other times I use this kind of chocolate bone broth protein along with almond milk, spinach, moringa, frozen blueberries, and ice.

1:30 p.m.

– Sit down on the couch to drink the protein shake and work on the computer. Do various blog tasks and connect with my friends from Hope*Writers.

2:00 p.m.

– Get up to take more supplements, put Ylang Ylang essential oil in the diffuser, and grab the heating pad.

– Back to the couch to spend more time online replying to emails, checking social media, and creating a few images for Pinterest.

3:20 p.m.

– It’s time for a coffee enema! Eek. For some, the idea of coffee enemas is completely overwhelming, but I have found them to be really helpful for my healing journey. I use this enema kit and this kind of special enema coffee.

4:15 p.m.

– After getting everything ready for and performing the enema, showering, getting ready for the day, and cleaning up enema supplies, I’m exhausted! So I make more warm lemon water and this time add a little sea salt to it. Then I drink bone broth while I rest on the couch.

5:00 p.m.

– My fiancé, Jonathan, comes over and we review Ephesians 4 and 5 before we drive a few blocks to church for a premarital counseling session with our pastor.

5:30 p.m.

– Premarital counseling session.

6:30 p.m.

– Drive back to my house where we eat leftover lentil potato soup that I cooked the other night. Take supplements with dinner.

– When we’re done eating, we talk about life, our relationship, and some misunderstandings we had previously been working through. Life with the anxiety of Lyme Disease can put a strain on relationships, so we are constantly learning how to cope, go to the Lord about our struggles, and genuinely trust each other. Tears are shed on my end, but we end the conversation feeling happy and content!

8:00 p.m.

– Jonathan and I play Dominion – our favorite game!

9:30 p.m.

– Jonathan leaves and I catch up on Voxer messages from Hope*Writers and then check social media while using the heating pad.

– Eat a snack/meal and begin to draft a blog post.

11:10 p.m.

– Eat another snack.

– Just sit and rest for a while.

– Do a couple rounds of DNRS to retrain my brain.

12:30 a.m.

– Take bedtime supplements and go to bed.

So that’s a day in the life of a Lyme Disease patient who is also a chronic illness blogger. :)

The post A Day in the Life of a Lyme Disease Patient appeared first on Emily Lofgren.

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As I finished drinking my warm mug of lemon water a few moments ago, I smiled to myself, thinking about how different my life looks as a result of chronic illness.

It wasn’t a happy smile, but a smile of contentment.

I felt peace. And still do.

It’s funny how that happens.

I never in a million years would have thought I could be content spending my day in bed, eating a restricted diet, and constantly using various forms of treatment.

My adventurous, travel-loving self would have never chosen to stay put.

I loved to go. To serve. To experience all I could.

I still like those things, but caring for myself in the best ways possible means I have to put my desires on the back burner.

It’s true that I would rather not have spent the past two hours detoxing my body.

But it’s also true that God is good. I believe He knows. I believe He cares. And I believe He’s working.

It doesn’t always make sense to us at the time of suffering, but God really does turn the hard things of our lives around for good when our hope is in Him (Romans 8:28).

(This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase, a small portion of the sale, at no added cost to you, will go toward keeping this site running. Thank you for your support!)

When our lives look different than we’d imagined because of chronic illness, there’s a grieving process many of us go through. We look at our former lives and selves and think about the dreams we once had.

Lately, as I’ve been seeking God about ALL THE THINGS surrounding how my life looks as I treat chronic illness, I’ve had a strong sense of peace.

I won’t pretend it isn’t hard to let go of how I thought I’d live. I won’t pretend that chronic illness hasn’t been the hardest thing I’ve ever experienced. I won’t pretend I actually like doing coffee enemas.

Life with chronic illness is incredibly difficult.

But part of the Christian walk – part of living life here in a broken world – includes suffering. In following Christ, we choose to surrender our will and seek after Him (Matthew 16:24-26).

When we choose to follow Christ, we admit that we are weak. That we can’t do this alone and that, as hard as it may to come to terms with, we are not invincible. And you know what? It’s actually a good thing.

Having multiple chronic illnesses reminds me of this.

Every day, instead of trusting in myself to pull through, I have the opportunity to trust in God. When I’m at the end of what I can do and it’s still not enough, I have faith that God will be enough. He will provide.

So as I spend my days using the far infrared sauna and drinking bone broth protein shakes while I lie on the couch in pain instead of going out into the world to “be productive,” I am reminded that I’m not in control. Even my greatest efforts won’t be enough to get all my needs met.

The thing is, each of us, chronically ill or not, needs the grace of God. We need to experience His presence.

Instead of looking at each day and feeling like I’m missing out because chronic illness has caused my life to be different than I expected, I can embrace each day as another opportunity to know God more. It’s another opportunity to rest in His presence. And that will always be enough.

***

The post When Your Life Looks Different Because of Chronic Illness appeared first on Emily Lofgren.

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When you’re sick with Chronic Lyme Disease, everything in life can be a little overwhelming!

I know how it goes.

I’ve been there.

Some days, I’m still there.

There’s so much to think through, plan, and do to keep symptoms under control. And even then, it can be a tossup as to whether treatment is actually going to make you feel better. A lot of times, you feel worse before you feel better because of Herxheimer Reactions. It’s tough (to say the least)!

So normal things like celebrating Thanksgiving with your family or friends can seem daunting. If you had previously been the one to host the festivities, the idea of cooking, cleaning, and opening your home for others can be enough to cause panic. If you usually travel for Thanksgiving, that can add another layer of challenges.

No matter what kind of Thanksgiving plans you usually partake in, I’ve put together a short list of things to help you to enjoy Thanksgiving while you live with Lyme Disease.

(This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase, a small portion of the sale, at no added cost to you, will go toward keeping this site running. Thank you for your support!)

5 Way to Enjoy Thanksgiving with Lyme Disease 1. Plan in advance

As much as possible, try to plan in advance. Think through the various family gatherings and begin to prioritize your time. The fatigue with Lyme may mean it’s not possible to do everything you used to do for Thanksgiving, and that is okay! Start planning now so you have an idea of what you need to do, what you can eat, and how it will all work together.

If you have dietary restrictions, I have something really neat to offer you for a limited time:

*Only available November 13-14, 2017, you can “pay what you want” for this awesome bundle of allergen free recipe guides for the holidays! This is a great way to prepare, and is worth way more than it costs! Sign up to get an email when it goes live, and you can buy it for $1 or more. 2. Be honest with the people in your life

Believe me, I know how hard it is to have people in your life not understand how difficult life with Lyme Disease really is. When it comes to navigating family holiday celebrations, though, it is better to tell people what they can expect from you upfront. If you are not able to help with the cooking or participate in board games, do your best to have honest conversations about what you can and cannot do this Thanksgiving.

3. Have food on hand that’s satisfying

When everyone else is eating pumpkin pie and warm dinner rolls with butter, it can be hard to feel satisfied if your current health situation requires dietary restrictions. It’s SO important to find ways to substitute healthier options for your favorite foods.

A few of my favorite alternatives that are these Paleo/GF crackers, this soy sauce alternative, these GF/DF chocolate muffins, and these GF noodles. :)

4. Schedule in rest before and after festivities, but seek to laugh and have fun while celebrating!

I know that Lyme comes with unpredictability! Some days you don’t know if you’ll be able to leave the house (or even your bed!). It can be tough. In order to hopefully be able to enjoy the holiday festivities, try to schedule rest time before and after the events. Then, when you’re actually with people, have fun with them. Savor each moment, and laugh as much as you can!

5. Practice gratitude

Practicing gratitude is so important! It helps us to look beyond the pain we’re experiencing and recognize ways God has blessed us. It may not always be easy to notice the things we can be grateful for, so I designed this free 30 Day Guided Gratitude Journal to help! After making a list based on the daily prompt, you can go to God in a prayer of gratitude for the ways He has provided for you! Download your free copy today!

The post 5 Ways to Enjoy Thanksgiving with Lyme Disease appeared first on Emily Lofgren.

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We live in a culture where instant access is expected.

We have the ability to obtain knowledge about almost anything right at our fingertips.

If we’re hungry, it doesn’t take more than a swing though the fast food drive thru to curb our cravings.

Waiting is begrudged.

We think we should be able to satisfy our desires at all costs. Any time we can’t immediately obtain what we want, it feels like we’re experiencing something burdensome.

While this is the norm of society at large, it doesn’t make it the best thing for us.

Sure, there are major benefits to being able to do things more efficiently. I love productive systems as much as the next person. Organization means I can better enjoy time with the people I love.

But even with the benefits of new technology and quick access, there are negative consequences for us as people.

Believing we can do and have whatever we want whenever we want is prideful.Click To Tweet We end up taking God and His will out of the equation when we get into a place of perpetual striving.

While experiencing life with chronic illness, I have taken a step back to analyze this societal conundrum. When I’m in sick, stuck in bed, and without any guarantee of how long it’s going to take to get better, I begin to recognize my weakness. I see that just because society tells me I can have what I want when I want doesn’t mean it’s the best thing for me (or that it’s even possible).

Until getting sick to the point of debilitation with Chronic Lyme Disease, I was a self-sufficient person. I was a Christian. I loved the Lord and had a desire to follow Him wholeheartedly, but my pride kept me from embracing true rest in Him.

As God began to work in my heart and draw me closer to Himself, I recognized my need to let go of my expectations for how life should be and surrender to Him and His will. And you know what happened? Everything changed!

The world tells us we should seek after the good things of life (the blessings), but God tells us we should seek after Him (Psalm 63:1-3).Click To TweetWhat will truly fill us and curb those cravings is God. He meets us just where we’re at and fills our souls.
Psalm 107:8-9 says, Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for men, for he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things. (NIV)

The past few years of my life have been full of waiting. Waiting to find a good guy to date, waiting to find the right job, waiting for doctors appointments, waiting for medical test results, waiting to see glimpses of improved health, waiting to get married.

Over and over, the waiting continues. You may be able to relate, because it feels like many of us who are facing difficult health challenges seem to do a whole lot of waiting!

Recently, I started to see light at the end of the tunnel in one of the areas of waiting.

My boyfriend, Jonathan, asked me to marry him and I, of course, said “YES!” We’re getting married in a few short months, and we couldn’t be happier!

The proposal and engagement season have seemed so much sweeter than I ever imagined, and I believe a big reason for that is because we waited. We didn’t jump into marriage. Jonathan stayed with me through the deepest valleys of chronic illness and we came out of the darkest parts together, as a team.

Even more importantly, throughout the time of waiting, I got to know God in ways I never had before. With delayed gratification, we can learn a lot. The waiting season isn’t always a hardship. It’s often the place God teaches us about what it means to depend on Him.

In Jonathan, I have everything I ever wanted in a life partner. I feel incredibly blessed! But even so, I know that he can never fulfill all my needs in the way God can. Jonathan and I have a lot of fun, we love each other deeply, and we have the same vision for what it looks like to honor God with our marriage. But that doesn’t mean Jonathan can be my source of full support.

God has to be the one I cling to the most. He has to be my source of hope!

I’ve come to recognize waiting as a means of further understanding God’s grace.

Delayed gratification can be a blessing because it gives us opportunities to more firmly cling to God.

***

If you’re struggling with waiting for treatment to work or for symptoms of chronic illness to be alleviated, please know that you don’t have to walk through this tough season alone! Grab your free copy of my eBook, Finding Hope Through the Fog, and join our email community of hope!

***

The post The Blessing of Delayed Gratification appeared first on Emily Lofgren.

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Thanksgiving and Christmas are coming!

I know that people always comment on how fast the holidays get here after the year prior, so I wanted to write a post to provide some resources for navigating the holidays when you have a chronic illness. This way you can be prepared as you move into the holiday season!

Last year, I experienced my first Thanksgiving and Christmas post-diagnosis. Symptoms had come and gone for years prior to diagnosis (and I can actually remember multiple Christmases of not feeling well), but last year was the first time things were debilitating enough to change the way I participated in festivities.

When I started thinking about the holidays, I honestly felt sadder than I did when thinking about my daily way of life. My treatment protocol was intense, but adding dietary restrictions, depression, and low energy levels to the mix caused uncertainty about participating in anything.

While there were certainly some low points for me during the months of November and December of last year, I learned some things about navigating the holidays when you have a chronic illness.

Here are some keys to help you participate in holiday festivities while still considering your needs as you treat chronic illness.

7 Keys for Navigating the Holidays with Chronic Illness 1. Plan in advance

As Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years get closer, it’s a good idea to start thinking about what you’ll do and where you’ll go. Think through the things you usually participate in and plan your schedule around the items most important to you. It’s a good idea to prioritize the things you most want to do because it might not be possible to do everything you’d like. If you usually host friends or family at your home, start planning now to do so or ask others to do the honors this year.

*Only available November 13-14, 2017, you can “pay what you want” for this awesome bundle of allergen free recipes for the holidays! This is a great way to prepare. Sign up to get an email when it goes live and you can buy it for $1 or more. 2. Schedule rest

If you know your body usually gets worn down from being out and about, schedule time to rest before and after the days you will be participating in holiday festivities. Also think about the day of the events and how you need to ration your energy to have the greatest chance of being able to participate. Extra stress can take a big toll on those with chronic illnesses, so be sure to build rest into your schedule.

(Please note: This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase, a small portion of the sale will go toward keeping this site running at no added cost to you.)

3. Bring your own food

I know it can be hard to pass on those chocolate chip cookies at Grandma’s house, but if you’re serious about keeping your health in check through dietary choices, resisting may be necessary! Bring along things you enjoy eating so that you feel better about food choices. One weakness of mine is crackers. My favorite GF/Paleo friendly crackers are these ones. Eating them helps satisfy my cravings!

4. Be honest

If you’re going somewhere else to celebrate and you have energy limitations, let your host know that you may not be able to participate fully in the activities. If you aren’t able to host at your house like usual, ask others to chip in and host instead. Being honest with people in your life about your limitations can be helpful for avoiding hurt feelings later. Think through what you need to explain to others ahead of time to allow the events to go smoothly.

5. Bring a teammate

Enlist the help of someone else to be part of your team during the holiday festivities. This should be someone who knows you well and will be able to read your responses to situations. This person will help you feel safe in the situations you’re entering and will watch for any indication that you aren’t feeling well.

My fiancé, Jonathan, serves in this role for me. Another friend or family member could also do this. Basically, Jonathan notices when I’m getting worn down and my health is going downhill. He’s particularly aware of neurological symptoms that flare and helps get me the additional treatment I need. I also know I can tell him I’m ready to go and he’ll take me home immediately if I need to leave.

6. Be okay with your plans changing

This one is a big part of normal life with chronic illness. Health challenges can worsen at a moment’s notice, so it is important to be flexible. Even if you have everything planned and scheduled with the hope that things will run smoothly, do yourself a favor and release expectations. Prayerfully plan your schedule but then hold those plans loosely. Ask God to give you His perfect peace in whatever situations you may encounter with your health over the holidays.

7. Laugh as much as you can

This one is one of my favorite pieces of advice. Laugh. Just do it. I’ve found that no matter how horrible I feel, laughter can be a source of medicine for me. Laughing helps lift my spirit and makes me feel more alive. Try to enjoy yourself while you celebrate the holidays, and be sure to include laughter in your days!

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If you’re looking for support on your journey with chronic illness, please know you don’t have to walk through this tough season alone! Grab your free copy of my eBook, Finding Hope Through the Fog, and join our email community of hope!

***

The post 7 Keys for Navigating the Holidays with Chronic Illness appeared first on Emily Lofgren.

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Let’s face it. Life with a chronic illness can be hard. Very hard.

The ups and downs of symptoms can be overwhelming.

While the pain and fatigue are difficult to deal with, I usually find that symptoms of depression and anxiety affect me the most.

Over the years of dealing with depression and anxiety, I’ve come to find some useful tools that help me boost my mood when I’m feeling low. These things are not cures (I’m not a doctor and can’t give treatment plans or cures anyway!), but they are resources to help you feel a little better on your journey of treating chronic illness.

(Please note: This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase, a small portion of the sale will go toward keeping this site running at no added cost to you.)

9 Things to Instantly Boost Your Mood: 1. Pray and meditate on Biblical truth

When we’re feeling down, the first place we need to go is to the truth in God’s Word. Don’t really feel like praying? That’s okay. Tell God that. Ask Him to give you the desire to pray and be in His Word. I’ve realized that usually when I need Him most, my low mood gets in the way of going to Him for support. Don’t let your feelings keep you from embracing the Lord’s comfort.

In my free eBook, I share some practical ways to get into the Word when you’re distressed.

Another resource that has been helpful for putting my struggles into perspective is this book. Our problems seem a little less daunting when we further understand God’s character.

2. Open the blinds to let natural light in

This one helps me a lot! If I’m not feeling particularly cheerful, I open the blinds. Having natural light in my days truly makes a difference.

3. Drink some water or your favorite tea

The combination of warm lemon water with some of these other tips can be game-changing. Lemon water also helps me manage brain fog because it serves as a detox method.

I just love wrapping up in a blanket with a hot cup of tea! Some of my favorite detox teas are this one and this one.

4. Sit out in the sun

Take advantage of free Vitamin D by sitting out in the sun. :) Embrace the sunshine and fresh air if it’s a nice day!

5. Go for a walk

While walking may not be possible for all with chronic illnesses, if you are able to go for a short walk, do it! I’ve been able to gradually build up stamina to take some longer walks. When I first started re-implementing walks into my routine, I could barely go a block. Now I go much father and it always makes me feel better emotionally.

6. Use essential oils

I love the way essential oils help lift my mood. Try diffusing essential oils or rubbing a couple drops on the bottoms of your feet or on your wrists/neck. My favorite oils to use are Joy, Lavender, Peace and Calming, and Ylang Ylang.

7. Listen to music

There’s something amazing about some good worship music to help me move toward a better mood. Keep a playlist ready in Spotify so you can always go to it when needed.

8. Be with people you enjoy (and laugh together!)

Laughing with my favorite people is the best! If you’re dealing with low moods, human connection can be a helpful thing to get you out of the funk. Laughter really is good medicine, too!

9. Retrain your brain

As part of this program, I do a daily practice of brain retraining. Over the past year, I’ve learned a lot about our limbic systems and how it’s crucial to focus on brain health along with other forms of treatment for chronic illnesses. If you struggle with depression or anxiety as symptoms of your condition, this program could be a big help for you!

***

If you’re looking for support on your journey with chronic illness, please know you don’t have to walk through this tough season alone! Grab your free copy of my eBook, Finding Hope Through the Fog, and join our email community of hope!

***

The post 9 Things to Instantly Boost Your Mood appeared first on Emily Lofgren.

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A crisis strikes.

Hope appears lost.

There is pain, discouragement, and feelings of uncertainty.

You’re not sure what to do.

Life with a chronic illness is full of ups and downs. At certain points, the ups don’t reach very high and the downs seem to go deeper than you ever imagined.

Things are hard. There’s no denying that.

But what happens next will determine the the character of your life.

When faced with a crisis, we have two choices – two options for how we may respond.

First, there’s the choice to fear. Fear leads to many feelings and actions, including anxiousness, attempts to control, bitterness, and anger.

Second, there’s the choice to trust God.

The world tells us that when we face hard things, we somehow aren’t getting what we deserve. We’re cheated out of the comfort and success we should be experiencing.

But individual comfort is not part of the Lord’s plan for living out the Christian life. Jesus told his disciples they needed to take up their crosses daily and follow Him (Luke 9:23). He told them to come and die; they were experiencing a loss of their old selves (giving up dreams, goals, comfort, family, etc.) in order to follow Christ in the way that is most glorifying to God.

As Christians, we must hold our dreams loosely. We can make plans and set the goals (those are good things when they are done prayerfully, in accordance with God’s will), but we can’t hold onto them too tightly. Anything we have can be taken from us except for the very thing we need most: Jesus. He promises us his presence, and that will always be enough.

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear. (Psalm 46:1-2a, ESV)

While I never would have chosen to experience chronic illness, facing chronic illness gave me the opportunity to choose God.

Instead of choosing to rely on my own strength and abilities, I recognized the emptiness in my pursuit of success. I experienced the strength of the Lord as He comforted me during many painful days and sleepless nights.

As you face crises in this life, my prayer is that you would turn toward instead of away from God and you’d choose to trust instead of fear.

***

If you’re looking for more support on your journey with chronic illness, please know that you don’t have to do it alone! Grab your free copy of my eBook, Finding Hope Through the Fog, and join our email community of hope!

***

The post The Choice You Have in Times of Crisis appeared first on Emily Lofgren.

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Hello there, sweet reader!

I want you to know that I am so glad you are here!

Since our community has been growing in recent months, I wanted to write a blog post that tells a little bit more of the heart behind the writing on this site.

My name is Emily Lofgren. I’m 26 years old, and I am currently treating Lyme Disease, co-infections, Pyroluria, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, and more. Life with chronic illness has been a hard journey for me. I’ve hard periods of times when I wanted to give up, but there was always this deeper, lasting hope within me as the Holy Spirit worked to keep me aware of His presence.

I am a Christian. I love the Lord and desire for my life to reflect Christ. My goal in writing here is to help others who are facing similar life experiences with chronic illness. I want those who are hurting to know that they are not alone and that the Lord will meet them in the midst of the pain.

A little over a year ago, I released an eBook called Finding Hope Through the Fog. It shares about my struggles with chronic illness and what it meant to turn to God when it felt like things are hopeless. I’d love to give you a free copy!

Here are some of my most-read blog posts. I hope they’ll be helpful resources for you in your journey of following Christ while living with a chronic illness!

Lyme Disease

Does Anyone Understand? My Battle with Lyme Disease

5 Ways to Pray When Lyme Symptoms Flare

5 Things to Remember When You Have Lyme Disease

Chronic Illness

Trusting God When Healing is Slow

How to Be Kind to Yourself When You Have a Chronic Illness

7 Psalms for Surviving Chronic Illness

How to Set Goals When You Have a Chronic Illness

The Power of Connection When You Have a Chronic Illness

I hope you enjoy these resources as you take a look around the blog! Thank you so much for being here.

The post Let’s Find Hope Amidst Chronic Illness appeared first on Emily Lofgren.

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