White Supremacy and Chronic Illness

Jun 09, 2020

I’m the only white kid in my family. Understand, me saying that does not give me some kind of get-out-of-racism-free card, just a different lens on growing up white than the one you may have had. Being the youngest in a family with two brown siblings made me aware of my whiteness earlier than some. It made my whiteness overt when for most white people, it isn’t.

That’s part of what privilege is — the invisibility of the advantages our skin color confers. If you had the...

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What's It Like to get Infusing Meds?

May 26, 2020

For five years now I’ve been getting infusions to keep my body from fighting itself.  Infusing meds are a big part of modern rheumatology.  Thanks to the large population of folks with rheumatoid arthritis, there are now a growing class of IV or intravenous meds aimed at helping those of us who have immune systems misprogrammed to attack ourselves.  These meds are generally designed to halt, slow, or shift that process, although some, like IVIG, provide additional...

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What is Myositis?

May 12, 2020

Myositis is a type of inflammatory myopathies that are most commonly thought to impact the muscles (which they do) but they can also affect the heart, lungs, GI tract, and be associated with the development of cancer.  Myositis is considered autoimmune in nature; in it the body begins attacking its own muscles, connective tissue, skin, blood vessels and other organs.  It is estimated that between 50-75,000 people in the U.S. have one of the forms of myositis.  This makes it...

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When the Story Gets Hard…

Apr 28, 2020

A mentor of mine says that “when the story gets hard, the story gets good.”  Mind you, when my story is in the midst of a hard swing, is likely the last moment I want to be told that things are “getting good;” and yet, time and again, looking back, it has been true.  We have these sayings like “it’s always darkest before the dawn,” because life is struggle.  Suffering is the shared mark of the human condition, and while we are scared of...

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How to Shelter in Place

Apr 14, 2020

President Kennedy was said to have been quoting a Chinese curse when he said, “may you live in interesting times.”  Well, these times are nothing if not interesting.  A global pandemic during a time of unprecedented global travel, communications, and commerce; at a time when our earth has more people on it and, therefore, a greater demand than ever for her resources.  This, my friends, is getting interesting.  As world leaders are responding with every...

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How Do You Deal with Times of Crisis (and Chronic Illness)?

Mar 31, 2020

Twenty twenty has started out pretty rough, after tearing tendons and ligaments in a spectacular ankle turn, my mother in law was hospitalized for eleven days of January (9 of that in the ICU), shortly after, my wife totaled our vehicle.  We are so thankful that no one was injured – that’s not nothing!  Additionally, she runs her own business and is having an issue with the primary place she contracts with that may put her out of business in the next six months.  My...

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How do We Cultivate Self-Love?

Mar 17, 2020

I have had the opportunity to see the Dali Lama speak.  One of the things he talked about was the value of all faith traditions.  He wasn’t interested in converting the Wisconsin Episcopal to Tibetan Buddhism.  In his words, “there are many paths up the mountain.”  I find that the same is true with self-love.  While self-loathing is an easy state to find yourself in – particularly when overwhelmed with chronic pain, chronic illness, the ravages...

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Healing, Money and the Enneagram. What do They all Have in Common?  

Mar 03, 2020

By, Annelise Bretthauer CFP®

 My journey since being diagnosed with an autoimmune disease (Crohn’s) has taught me two things that I believe are vital to wellness. 

#1: There are times when being is more effective than doing.

#2 (and most important): Awareness is a destination.

For most of my life, the way I’ve dealt with not feeling enough is by “doing”, by taking constant action. While sometimes doing IS the answer, other times just being is the answer....

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Meditations on Love and Loss

Feb 18, 2020

The three most influential women in my life have all shared this date as their birthday.  How remarkable is that?!  My wife, my mother and my best friend.  I don’t know how much stock to put into astrology or birth charts, but the odds of this being true seem truly astronomical.  These women have shaped me, perhaps more than any other three people aside from my sister and they were all born on the same day.  I met my best friend the week before school started...

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What’s it Like to Live with Lung Disease?

Feb 04, 2020

It is estimated that chronic lung disease impacts more than 13% of the adult population in the United States.  That’s a serious chunk of us.  There are two broad types of lung disease, obstructive and restrictive.  Their names give away a lot about the disease types: obstructive diseases are ones in which the airway is impeded (it, in fact, obstructs the exhale) and, and in restrictive diseases the lungs are prevented from fully inflating (restricting the inhale). ...

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