My Tagline: Surviving Pain with Style and Humor; #HAWMC

wego 15-2Day 15.  I’m participating in WEGO Health’s Health Activist Writer’s Month Challenge (#HAWMC).  Today’s question is:  “Health tagline” Give yourself, your blog, your condition, or some aspect of your health a tagline. Make sure it’s catchy!

MY ANSWER

jessicagimeno.com
jessicagimeno.com

The tagline for Fashionably ill, (which is on the left hand corner of the site), is “Surviving pain with style and humor.”  I have four illnesses (bipolar II, polycystic ovarian syndrome, asthma, and Myasthenia Gravis or MG).  MG is a neuromuscular autoimmune disease.  Within two years after being diagnosed with MG in 2008, I gained two dress sizes—a product of being on twelve medications (hello Prednisone!) and being bedridden for over a year.  I was 24-years old at the time of my diagnosis.

The Irony of Gaining Weight  

When my body and face changed, I initially struggled to dress myself.  Over three years, I took notes on what works and doesn’t work—those style notes gave birth to this blog.  For two years, between 2008 and 2010, I received a lot of insults about my appearance (example: “You’re so fat; I could barely recognize you”) from people who knew I was sick.  Growing older with illness has changed me and ironically, I have even greater confidence and a better body image than I did when I was young and healthy.   I enjoy giving makeovers to women who are chronically ill (see my makeover of Lou, a woman with MS, fibro, diabetes, and PCOS).  My goal is to give more makeovers to chronically ill women of all kinds of illnesses.  I believe that every woman has certain inalienable rights: the right to beauty, style, and the pursuit of confidence.

Laughter Helped Me and My Family Through Dark Times

In addition to dealing with the psychological effects of changing appearance, one thing many patients don’t hear enough about is the power of laughter.  We hear about medications, and the importance of exercise, family, and (sometimes) faith but we don’t talk enough about humor.  Laughter has helped me survive the mood swings of bipolar disorder and the excruciating physical pain of my ovarian and autoimmune diseases.  The ability to laugh in the face of tragedy has also buoyed my family through some of our darkest days.  The year I was diagnosed with MG, my maternal aunt was also diagnosed with stage-three colon cancer.  My “Tita Baby” was sixty-years old then.  Between my medical procedures and her chemo, it was a grueling year for the whole family.  After a year of chemo, she was declared cancer free!  Her daughter, my cousin, was finally able to have a real wedding—a church wedding.  We even had a party to celebrate my aunt’s healing.  And then a few days later, she was diagnosed with breast cancer.  Her cancer didn’t spread; instead she was actually fighting a separate strain of cancer.  When we found out the news, our family—thirty aunts, uncles, cousins—gathered at our favorite Thai restaurant.  That night we prayed, cried, and even laughed.  While our faith anchored us, our ability to laugh in the face of tragedy sustained us.  My aunt beat cancer again.

Sharing Laughter Through Fashionably ill

On this blog, I’ve written about the science of laughter—how the physical act of laughing releases endorphins, “the feel good” hormones, which help us manage pain.  I regularly share funny viral videos in “Comedy Corner” posts (like Kevin Bacon’s Footloose Entrance on Jimmy Fallon’s Tonight Show) and jokes my six-year old nephew, Mikko, tells.  For some reason, people tell me they find my stories entertaining.  To me, it’s just my daily life, but I’m happy whenever my blog makes someone in pain smile.

Stay tuned!  Tomorrow I’ll be answering another question for Health Activist Writer’s Month Challenge.

Meet Other Warriors

images“Like” us on Facebook at:  https://www.facebook.com/fashionablyill.  I post funny memes about chronic illness that I usually don’t post on the blog.  Readers with various illnesses often share their thoughts—serious and funny.

–Your Stylist, Jessica Gimeno 

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 “My Tagline: Surviving Pain with Style and Humor; #HAWMC

  • April 16, 2014 at 3:55 pm
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    Hi Jessica

    I enjoy your writing style so much. You are open, honest and refreshing.

    Thanks for sharing your personal stories. It helps so much in tough times to realize we are not alone. Someone else has been through what we are going through and made it out the other side.

    I really enjoyed this post. Laughter is great therapy and something we all need and should do a lot ore often. Laughing at the issues we face each day doesn’t down play or reduce the significance of the issues it simply helps to realize that no matter what we face, life goes on, the sun will rise in the morning and we just have to readjust to our changed environment.

    Life and our position in it will constantly change and we will be thrown curve balls. It’s how we deal with it that counts.

    Please keep up your great work

    Thanks
    Ian

    Reply

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