How to Talk About Your Pain Without Whining


By Maureen DeGarmo

You’re in pain all the time. Many of your friends are not, and they don’t understand. How do you open up to them without sounding like you’re complaining?

This is a difficult question and one that I have personally struggled to answer. I want to be sure that I don’t alienate my friends by monopolizing their time discussing nothing but my illness. Asking about their life certainly helps balance the conversation, but that does not help me decide what to share about myself.

A recent column by Carolyn Hax, a columnist with the Washington Post, provides some very clear guidelines. She recommends: Continue reading

The 5-D To Do List

By Maureen DeGarmo and Lisa Mark, C.P.O.

You don’t feel well. You look around and see things that need to be put away, projects that need work, and reminders that your body has betrayed you. Pain, fatigue, brain fog, lack of stamina, learning to live in your new normal…whatever your symptoms are, they prevent you from accomplishing daily tasks.

Let’s try an exercise.

  • Write (or record) a list of things that you need to do. Include everything that is on your mind: taking your medications, resting, doctor’s appointments, picking up clutter, paying bills, driving the kids, laundry, dishes, cleaning the bathroom, etc.
  • Now, rate your energy level for the day, on a scale of 0-10. Zero would be you cannot even get out of bed that day. A level ten would be how you felt prior to your illness.
  • Next, I want you to prioritize your list, and sort it by these categories:

Continue reading

How Making Tea Changed My Life

By Lisa Mark, C.P.O.

I want to empower you, even if it just means making a cup of tea.

If you are experiencing a Traumatic Illness, then you might be thinking, “I can’t do anything more than be in this one comfort spot on the couch.” But maybe with the guidance of friends, there may be a way for you to participate in life a little bit more than you otherwise could.

When I was sick, an acquaintance told me how she’d coped with the death of her spouse from brain cancer. Continue reading

8 Shortcuts to Getting Dinner on the Table

By Maureen DeGarmo

There are many different ways to stay organized, but, when you’re ill, the task of creating new solutions can be difficult. Also, doing things differently is sometimes easier to just start than to accept why it is necessary (credit for that thought goes to Sue West, an Organizing Coach in Amherst, NH).

One practical way to reduce stress is by simplifying meal planning. Here are some ideas: Continue reading


By Maureen DeGarmo

Recently, I was driving down a street near my home, when I spotted a young woman with bright red hair, who was wearing a matching shirt. She was listening to some music, and skipping to the sound. Skipping! “When was the last time you skipped to the music?” I asked myself. Joy seemed to ooze out of this woman.

Joy is different than happiness. Continue reading