A Few of My Favorite Things; #HAWMC

photo-9Health Activist Writer’s Month Challenge:  Day 13.  “These are a few of my favorite things” It may not be brown paper packages wrapped up in string or warm woolen mittens, but what are some things you love? What can’t you live without?

MY ANSWER:  4 of My Favorite Things:

  1. Rocky Boxing Gloves/Strength:  Everyday I wake up, I face another battle—one where my body is fighting against me and I need God’s strength to go on.  When I feel like I can’t go on, I put on my Rocky boxing gloves and pray.  (Specifically I pray Philippians 4:13, “I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.”)  I started loving Rocky when I was in college—one day I was really depressed and couldn’t do my homework or prepare for Nationals (Speech Team) and I turned on the TV.  Apollo Creed was telling Rocky he needed to have the “eye of the tiger.”  I thought, I’m Rocky!  Whenever I got depressed from my bipolar disorder, I would play Rocky DVDs.  Whenever Rocky prayed before his fight, I would ask God for strength for my fight.  These days juggling four illnesses, Rocky is even more relevant.  Bipolar disorder is Apollo Creed.  Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is Ivan Drago.  My asthma is Mr. T.  And Myasthenia Gravis (MG, my neuromuscular autoimmune disease) is Mason Dixon.  Like Rocky, I never give up.
  2. Lipstick/Courage:  When I get nervous, I put on Arbonne’s lipstick in Strawberry. arbonnestrawberry Before an important presentation, I put on red lipstick for “lipstick courage.”  It never fails me. (As I’ve blogged about before, I am a consultant for Arbonne, a vegan cosmetics and skincare company.  Our products do not contain toxic or synthetic materials that are used by 90% of U.S.’ cosmetics companies.  Interested in learning more?  Leave a comment below.)
  3. Medical Gloves/Immunity:  People with autoimmune diseases can easily develop infections.  I’ve gotten infected from things as mundane as shampoo getting into paper cuts.  The more I wear my medical gloves and masks, the fewer infections I get.  In fact, I can’t remember the last time I got an infection.  (For more info on buying masks or gloves, see my previous post, How to Look Great While Wearing Masks; Tarte’s Awesome Eyeliner.)
  4. New Kids on the Block DVD/Innocence:  It’s really easy to become jaded when you’re fighting mood swings, physical pain, and chronic fatigue.  When I was diagnosed with MG at the age of 24, I already had been fighting bipolar disorder and PCOS for years.  I was hospitalized in critical condition and had two weeks of plasmapheresis.  I was also bedridden for over a year and I was insulted a lot as my appearance dramatically changed.  Losing some long time friends (see 5 Reasons People Abandon a Sick Friend) added to the emotional toll of chronic illness.  However, the same year I got MG in 2008, the New Kids on the Block reunited.  It was something I never thought would happen—I even wondered if CNN was playing an April Fool’s prank.  All the pent up frustration that was built from their 15-year exile retirement was released the day they reunited on TV on April 4, 2008 on The Today Show.  It’s like the sun started shining a little brighter and the skies got bluer.  And 20,000 fans attended their first performance in 15 years on the show (May 16, 2008) even though it was only ten minutes long.

580452526_oDuring their 15-year absence, I would watch this DVD of their 1989 performance.   I was too young then to see them perform; basically, I was a teenage girl trapped in the body of a five-year old.  When I finally got to see them in concert in October 2008, I was in pure ecstasy even though I attended their concert a few hours after surgery in bloody bandages and a wheelchair.  NKOTB takes me back to a more innocent place in time.  They came of age before the Internet era when there was just the radio and MTV.  Because MTV thought they were too wholesome, they didn’t play New Kids’ videos.  In spite of that, the New Kids would go on to have eleven hit songs in four years.  When I watch this DVD, it takes me back to my childhood when I had no idea what the words “neuromuscular autoimmune disease” meant.  I’m reminded that illness can’t take everything away from me.

wego 14Stay tuned!  Tomorrow we continue Health Activist Writer’s Month Challenge.

–Your Stylist, Jessica Gimeno

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JessicaGimeno

Hi, I have five illnesses--bipolar disorder, myasthenia gravis (neuromuscular autoimmune disease), polycystic ovarian syndrome, asthma, and psoriasis. Most of the organs in my body are affected. I'm dedicated to being a stylist for sick women. As someone who has experienced changes in my appearance due to my 12 meds (including Prednisone), I know how hard it can be when your face and body change overnight. (In fact, because of treatment, between 2008 to 2010, I went from a size 0 to a size 10. While I lost the weight, there are permanent changes in my face and body, which I've grown to appreciate.) My blog will also help women deal with other issues like surviving chronic pain and fatigue. Healthy people can also use this blog as a window into what life with illness is like. Let this website be a place where we can draw strength from each other despite our illnesses and find solutions to our everyday challenges!

One thought on “A Few of My Favorite Things; #HAWMC

  • April 13, 2014 at 3:28 pm
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    “A Few of My Favorite Things” was well written and very inspiring. Got me thinking about MY favorite things. It helps to focus on the positive, as our illnesses can do the opposite and cause us to be depressed. Thank you Jessica, you made my day a lot happier! God Bless you!

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