Sunday, December 30, 2007

Check Out The New Cafe Chronique!

Hello Chronique Friends,

Click here to join:

I have something exciting to share with my Chronique Diva friends! We have created a new & improved "social networking" Cafe Chronique that offers individual customizable profiles, blogs & much more in addition to forums similar to the message board we have currently. The new Cafe Chronique will soon take the place of our current message board. We even have which will be an active url in a few days.

Come check out this amazing "myspace" style community created with YOU the Chronically Unique in mind! I encourage you to invite your Chronique friends and help us transform this community into a must have bookmark on every Chronique Divas PC!

Click here to join:

We also have some exciting changes that will be taking place in the store over the next few weeks. Expect updates on that in the days & weeks to come.

Be Well,


Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas!

Wishing our Chronique Friends a very Merry Christmas and may the year to come bring you much joy, blessings and good health.

Be Well,
Kimberly Flynn

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Kudos For Chronique Couture

Well, I just came across a blog post that brightened my whole week! I would like to thank Allie from Wardrobe Oxygen for her wonderful words about Chronique Couture!

Allie shared with her readers:
I was visiting my MySpace account and was approving friend request and as I usually do, I look at the pages of people who want to be my friends and inspect their friends. Through this process I came upon the page for Chronique Couture and just knew I had to write about this company on Wardrobe Oxygen.

Read the rest of Allie's rave review!

Chronique Couture will have some exciting new products soon after the first of the year, and we are upgrading our store software for an even better customer experience. We look forward to seeing you all soon at Chronique Couture!

Thanks again, Allie!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Living With Invisible Illness: 5 Ways To Let Go Of Hurt Feelings

Yet another amazing article compliments of Lisa Copen from
It's that time of year - Tis the season for things to get especially hectic & it's the perfect time to revisit these 5 golden rules. Hope you find all the energy you need this holiday season! :)

Be Well,

"You look so good! You can't be as bad as you say. You look perfectly
healthy.""You think you have fatigue? Try working full-time plus having four
children! Then you'll know what chronic fatigue is.""I think you're spending too
much time thinking about how you feel. You need to just get out more.""If you
really wanted to get well, you'd at least try that juice drink I gave you last
week. It won't hurt to try it."

And the comments go on and on.

And it hurts.

Nearly 1 in 2 Americans has a chronic illness or physical condition that impacts their
daily life. The definition of chronic illness can include everything from
arthritis to cancer, migraines to diabetes, and back pain to fibromyalgia. Even
mental illness or eating disorders are considered invisible illnesses.

One of the biggest emotional hurdles for people who suffer from daily pain is the
invisibility of it. Statistics tell us that about 96% of illness is
invisible—meaning the person who suffers from the chronic condition may appear
to be a healthy individual but who actually copes each day with physical pain.

If you have an invisible illness here are 5 ways let go of hurt feelings and move
on to a better life:

(1) Let go of expectations. This may be a life-long process,
but you will consistently find that people will always disappoint yo. No one is
perfect—including you! Remember, you don’t understand the difficulties that your
friends are going through, whether it’s a divorce, the death of a loved one, a
loss job, an ill child, etc. Your illness is significant in your life. Even when
people care, they still will have significant things going on in their own
lives. Listen to them share about their challenges too even when you think they
pale in comparison to your own.

(2) Find supportive friends. When you are sick and tired of feeling sick and tired you don’t need to be around people who constantly belittle you or doubt your illness. End that relationship or distant yourself from that relative. Illness has a way of helping prioritize friendships. We don’t need friends that will send us spiraling into depression. Spend your limited energies with those that mean the most to you.

(3) Find joy in your blessings. Rather than thinking about how badly you feel find ways to bring more joy into your life. Appreciate the little things. Many chronically ill people even begin to write poems to help them examine what makes them happy and where their passions lie. You may not be able to garden like you once did, but
you can grow a few plotted flowers or hire a neighborhood teenager to plant some
vegetables and set up an automatic sprinkler system for them.

(4) Use your talents and skills for things you care about. If you’re no longer able to work because of your illness, you may feel like your skills are going to waste. Maybe
you’ve always wanted to write children’s books or be a business consultant. Find
a place to plug in and do some volunteer or part-time work for to be able to use
these skills in an area where you feel passionate. Instead of focusing on what
others aren’t doing or giving you, follow your dreams and give that gift to
yourself. Many people find th advice of a chronic illness coach or counselor
helpful. There are even some 12 step programs for chronic illness available on
the internet.

(5) Encourage someone else. You personally know how hard it is to
live with illness and to feel like no one understands. So take time to be
vulnerable with someone else who is going through this. Whether you meet someone
through an online group such as National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness
Week’s message boards, or through your local support group, volunteer your time
and expertise (yes, you’re an expert on living with invisible illness!) and use
it to make someone else’s journey easier and you’ll find your own is more
enjoyable too. Are you frustrated that no one at your church thinks your
invisible illness is real? Rather than stop going to church, find ways to
educate them, such as a column in the church newsletter or brochures about
National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week. These say what to say/not to
say to a chronically ill person.

We can’t change other people, but we can educate them and give gentle advice. Then we much work on ourselves. It’s a delicate balance to find how to live most successfully with chronic illness. You’ll find that even when you want to change it can be difficult. It requires discipline and motivation for a better life. But you owe it to yourself and finding joy in your life despite invisible chronic pain will improve both your mental and physical health.


Get a free
50-page excerpt of Lisa Copen's book, “Beyond Casseroles: 505 Ways to Encourage
a Chronically Ill Friend” when you sign up for the National Invisible Chronic
Illness Awareness Week "Updates" Ezine at . Lisa is the
founder of invisible illness week held annually in September and the author of
various books on living successfully with chronic illness.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Fatigue - As Described by Author Dean Koontz

In a book I was reading by Dean Koontz recently, he was referring to the utter exaustion of one of his characters and put it:
"...she could not find the energy to get out of the armchair. She felt as if she
had stepped into a vast pool of quicksand and had expended every bit of her
strength in a frantic and futile attempt to escape". -Dean Koontz, Whispers

This description really stuck with me and I knew the sentiment would not be lost on my Chronique Friends. So this one is short but sweet - and just to share fatigue ala Dean!

Be Well!

Be sure to check out our message board, Cafe Chronique! It's the girliest spot on the web for Chronic Divas to chat!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Who Hates to Hear They Look Great?

This is a great article, thanks to Rest Ministries for passing it on.

Be Well,

Chronique Couture

Who Hates to Hear They Look Great? Over Half of the Chronically Ill!

SAN DIEGO – JULY 2007 — In a recent survey of 611 chronically ill
individuals, done by the National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week committee, 53.27% of the respondents said that the most frustrating or annoying comment people make about their illness is “But you look so good!”
“Although telling someone they look good is often seen as a compliment,” says Lisa Copen, founder of National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week “it feels like an invalidation of the physical pain or seriousness of one’s illness and the suffering they cope with daily.”

According to Copen, author of “Beyond Casseroles: 505 Ways to
Encourage a Chronically Ill Friend,”
statistics show that nearly 1 in 2
people in the USA have a chronic condition and 96% of it is invisible.

National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week held September 10-16 for
2007, is an outreach to increase awareness that living with an invisible illness
can be emotional challenge—as well as physical—and that more people than we
would imagine are suffering silently.

Respondents answered the survey at and
reported the following other annoying comments people tend to make:

* “Your illness is caused by stress.” (14.22%)

* “If you stopped thinking about it and went back to work…” (12.42%)

* “You can’t be in that much pain. Maybe you just want attention.” (10.95%)

* “Just pray harder.” (9.15%)

Carmen Leal, creator of SomeOne Cares Christian Caregiver Conference and author of The Twenty-Third Psalm for Caregivers says, “When someone appears physically
normal people are less likely to show understanding and compassion. National
Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week is an important opportunity to help
families, businesses, churches, and communities understand that conditions
without an outward sign are just as debilitating as other more visible illnesses
and disabilities.”

Copen, 38, who has live with rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia for fifteen years agrees. “We know that 75% of marriages impacted by illness end in divorce and 70% of suicides have uncontrollable physical pain as a factor.* There are hundreds of invisible illness such as diabetes, cancer, myasthenia gravis, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, and Crohn’s disease as well as mental illness and conditions such as bulimia or migraines. Regardless of one’s illness or level of pain, feeling isolated and misunderstood can be emotionally devastating. We are each responsible for learning how to effectively show compassion and understanding to those we can about, including the chronically ill.”

National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week’s web site has articles, resources and will feature twenty online seminars during Sept 10-14, 2007. Guests include Maureen Pratt, author of “Peace in the Storm: Meditations on Chronic Pain and Illness” and Jenni Prokopy, founder of Outreach
materials include t-shirts, silicone awareness bracelets and rack cards,
appropriate for support groups or the work place state what to say and not say
to a chronically ill person.

The theme for 2007’s invisible illness week
campaign is “Living with invisible illness is a roller coaster. Help a friend
hold on!”
For more information see
call 888-651-7378. National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week is
sponsored by Rest Ministries,, a
Christian organization that serves the chronically ill and HopeKeepers Magazine.
* Sources: National Health Interview Survey /
Mackenzie TB, Popkin MK: "Suicide in the medical patient.". Intl J Psych in Med
17:3-22, 1987
# # #
Nearly 1 in 2 people in the USA has a
chronic condition and 96% of it is invisible. A new survey reveals that over
half of the chronically ill get annoyed when someone says, "You look so good!”
because it invalidates their illness and suffering. National Invisible Chronic
Illness Awareness Week strives to create awareness for invisible illness.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Happy Birthday ChronicBabe!

Happy 2nd birthday to ChronicBabe "...For Babes who just happen to have chronic illness"!

Thanks for the uplifting and always useful info you provide on your site and the Chronique or Chronically Unique look forward to growing old with you! :)

...... and many mooooooooooore.......

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Ehlers-Danlos in August's Chronique Spotlight

Ehlers-Danlos National FoundationWhat is Ehlers-Danlos?

Individuals with the Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS) have a defect in their connective tissue, the tissue that provides support to many body parts such as the skin, muscles, ligaments, and organs. The six major types of EDS are classified according to their manifestations of signs and symptoms, such as stretching skin, unstable joints, and tissue fragility (in organs and blood vessels). Unfortunately there is no current cure for EDS so many folks live in constant pain, are disabled, or die prematurely from ruptured aneurysms.

To learn more about EDS, you can checkout the foundation's website at , contact EDNF by phone at 213-368-3800, or attend the 2008 EDS Learning Conference, July 31–August 2, 2008 in Houston, Texas.

Visit our Chronique Spotlight page. 10% of each sale that we make in the month of August will be donated to EDNF.*

Be Well!

*All over our county and around the world, there are men & women that work tirelessly to offer new drugs, cures for diseases for which there are none & hope for people everywhere whose lives are touched by illness. Chronique Couture wants to do our part too! 10% of each sale that we make will be given back to our monthly Chronique Spotlight organization. As our monthly sales grow, with the support of our customers, so will our monthly gift. As fun as it is to pimp out our Chroniqueness, the preference would always be to not need some of the items we must use to medicate or stay comfortable. Chronique Couture will focus on keeping it cute, while offering our small part to those working for cures.

Friday, July 27, 2007

An Activist In The Making

I am really not the activist type, but this topic really has me going....

Simply put - with me out of work and facing Cobra for insurance coverage, my sister, roomie and Chronique Couture co-owner Allyson asked HR at her "day job" about having me added to her health insurance. Since Allyson and I are blood relatives, this is a no-can-do. If we were say...lesbian lovers, we would be hooked up. I have NOTHING against the lifestyles of lesbians, and gay men, and I am really glad that the gay community can enjoy this benefit where it's available - (and it should always be available) - I would never begrudge them their right..... but I find it down right frustrating that my sister and I contribute to society, pay taxes, and have a "solid relationship" that has gone on for oh...31 years. We have lived together now for about 6 years, I guess. Longer than many relationships last (unfortunately) gay or straight. As previously mentioned, I am about to have to start paying Cobra to the tune of $550 a month for insurance. (I should have already, I just keep putting it off!)

Don't get me wrong. I know guidelines would have to be put in place to cut down on abuse of the system if health benefits became available to blood relatives or long time roomates and couples who are not gay. If people have lived together for a week.... sure, maybe they wait a bit. There should be min period of time before they can benefit from the others insurance. But our 6 years would meet any guideline, I am sure?!

Click the link to see some pretty common language describing a same sex domestic parntership. It's an affidavit used by Ball State University, but it looks a lot like the one we saw from my sister's company, NNN. (Not picking on BSU, just came up in a Google search) :)

I just think there is something very wrong with the system and I wish I knew where to start to try to change it. I get tired going to the grocery store sometimes, let alone taking on Capitol Hill! :)

Maybe this will change one day. Maybe if we make changes now, people in the same situation that come down the pike will not have to struggle and will not have to be descriminated against when it comes to healthcare if they are single, living with a friend and not gay. Not to say these benefits are available to gay couples everywhere, they should be, but where they are, I think some changes need to be made to make the system fair.

Perhaps it's time for me to write my congressman. :)

Be well!

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Hey! They Don't Look Disabled!

My sister & one of my business partners, Allyson found this great article on an equally great website Invisible Illness.

Hey! They Don't LOOK Disabled!

Who Is Allowed To Park In those Disabled Parking Spaces, Anyway?

Have you ever seen someone get out of a car parked in a space reserved for the disabled, who did not LOOK disabled? Did it make you very uncomfortable or even upset? Did you let them know of your disapproval by giving them a dirty look or yelling something at them?

Well, you are not alone. Many people are very disturbed by the sight of a seemingly mobile person stealing the space of someone who is truly in need of it. After all, we want to protect the rights of people for whom these spaces are reserved!

However, in wanting to help those who deserve these parking spaces, we actually may be hurting someone who does have a legal right and a legitimate need to park there. How can this be true, you ask? Isn’t it obvious who is and who is not disabled? The answer is... NO.

The qualifications for the general accessible parking spaces include those using chairs, walkers, crutches and canes, as well as some whose impairments are not always so obvious to the onlooker. I refer to these impairments which cause disabilities that are not so apparent from the outside, as "invisible disabilities."

There are thousands of people who are forced to contend with serious illnesses, injuries and circumstances, which have left them with mountains to climb every time they take a step. Most people do not realize that a person can have hindrances that come from the inside and may not even be visible on the outside. Their restrictions may not be conspicuous at a glance, but their pain, limitations and inability to function normally is all very debilitating in reality.

Click here to read the whole article
by Written by Sherri L. Connell, BA
Copyright © 1997, Revised 2002
The Invisible Disabilities Advocate

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Relief For Spasticity?

A product that helps take the edge off Spasticity? Well, it has for me! I posted a teaser on our message board about this because I have wanted to give it a fair shot. I didn't want to just try the product twice and tell everyone it's great or it stinks.

Let me tell you a bit of history:
I have MS - officially diagnosed last summer. I have been taking Tizanidine/Zanaflex for a couple of years now for tightness, etc. in my legs - primarily my left leg. Most recently - the toes on my left foot are really going nuts. So tight... sometimes I just think they will never feel right again. :(

A great friend of mine owns an online store and he sells vitamins and supplements for endurance athletes, which is something I am sooooo not! LOL! (He has been talking about creating a new area of his site for CAMs (Complimentary & Alternative Meds), which I am very excited about.)
... So, I was wandering through his site and noticed a product called Sportlegs. He had some info that Sportlegs has been known to help with RLS or Restless Leg Syndrome. Well, I do get restless legs...restless body really, but I thought what if this stuff ever helped with spasticity!?On his site, Sportlegs is described (in part) like this:
How's it work?
Taken an hour before sports, SportLegs gently raise your blood lactate level just enough to
prevent your muscles from making more lactic acid than they need. Elevated blood
lactate is the signal which tells muscles not to make so much lactic acid.
Researchers have discovered it's not lactic acid, but lactic acid accumulation,
which is the athlete's real enemy. The result: Your muscles don't make more
lactic acid than they need for you to perform at your very best, with less
painful muscle "burn" during sports, and less soreness afterward.

I thought "what the heck!? My legs burn and spasm!" So - I tried it. Let me also add here that since my insurance benefits have stopped and I have not hopped on the COBRA train yet, I have been OUT of my Zanaflex/Tizanidine for about a month. I was running to the mailbox every day like I was a kid expecting a personal acknowledgement of my letter to Santa from the man himself. I took 3 pills when I got them, and I kid you not - it was the most comfortable evening I have had in a long time. I realized my mind was not CONSTANTLY on the discomfort of my legs and feet, but actually enjoying watching some prime time TV! (probably CSI Miami, but that's another blog post for another day!)

I am not saying they always take the pain away completely. But they really seem to always take the edge off. I suppose it's like anything else - I guess some days my legs/foot bother me more than others, so some days the supplements will seem to work more than others. I can truly say that I have noticed a difference - and ESPECIALLY at a time where I am out of my other meds - I think that speaks volumes. Most of the time I will take them with some Advil.

I highly, highly recommend trying Sportlegs. We are adding a page for product reviews (products other than CC store items) for things like supplements, books, websites, services and other merchandise of interest for the Chronique. We will be sure to put Sportlegs up as soon as we get the page up and running.

Like I said to myself - what did I have to lose? I am really glad I tried it.

Stay Well & Happy Saturday!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

The Importance of Living Well for the Chronique

I stumbled upon this great article that I think speaks to a topic we are all aware of, but one that we could all stand to be reminded of. Be Well!

Living with chronic illness impacts one’s physical, psychological, emotional,
and spiritual well-being. Living with chronic illness often causes one to feel
helpless and hopeless, discouraged and isolated. It can devastate one’s career
and financial security, friendships and love relationships, creativity,
concentration, motivation, and one’s very peace of mind.

It is important now and useful long-term, to remain as active, social, and productive as possible. That means focus on what you can do and let go of what you can no longer do. Create priorities for your body, mind, heart, and soul.

Ancient philosophers and healers recognized that the body and the mind were one. Modern research confirms this body/mind connection. In the last 15 years, Western medicine has coined a term for what the ancients knew: psychoneuroimmunology. Harvard Medical School now publishes a professional journal called Mind/Body Medicine. Studies show that improved physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being stimulate an innate healing response in the body. It is possible to create a healthier
lifestyle that will promote wellness. The key is to balance the physical,
psychological, emotional, and spiritual aspects of your life.

Improving and maintaining physical well-being includes proper nutrition, rest, and exercise. It means carefully selecting the activities in which you participate and the
people with whom you spend time to ensure that you are making good choices about
expending energy and making the most of each day.

Paying attention to the psychological and emotional aspects of your life includes becoming a good observer of your thoughts, feelings, and how/what you feel in your body. This is a time to allow yourself to experience, examine, and express your thoughts and feelings in an honest and forthright way.

Accurately expressing yourself is one of the most important aspects of living with chronic illness. No one will know how you feel and what you can reasonably be expected to do or not do unless
you tell people directly. Value yourself and take ownership of your feelings,
and thoughts, your resources and choices.

Honor and express your deepest truth and make what you say and how you say it match what you feel. Say your real “yes” and your real “no” and say what you feel without blaming or needing to please others. Don’t avoid saying what is in your heart or on your mind to say. Don’t hide your worries and concerns because you don’t want others to know you are not in control.

Accessing your spiritual nature can be as easy as watching the sunset or taking a walk through a beautiful garden. You might also consider meditation, yoga, chanting, or praying. Whether you call it God, the Universe, higher power, or “the force” a la Steven Spielberg, it is quite comforting and healing to experience the inner peace that is uniquely you.

Sitting in the quiet and allowing your attention to flow inward is very
foreign to men and women in the Western world. It is, however, a fundamental
practice if one is to develop and maintain health and well-being, inside and

Human beings are resilient and adaptable. When faced with seemingly
insurmountable tasks, we rise to the occasion. Chronic illness often motivates
us to re-evaluate and reconsider every aspect of life; to review and change
habits, goals, choices, and decisions.

This review includes everything from food choices, career/work, social relationships and recreational activities, to including naps and going to sleep earlier. Now is the time to create a more flexible schedule and intentionally pace yourself.

Determination and persistence will enable you to stay motivated through the tough times, and stay involved in activities that are meaningful and joyful. Maintaining your sense of humor is essential.

Invite people into your life who are kind, respectful, and compassionate. Stay away from well-meaning, well-intentioned people who have an agenda for you and can’t see you or hear you accurately.

This is the opportunity to create the changes in your life that will bring meaning to every day and cause you to choose and maintain a lifestyle that promotes and sustains your well-being: physical, psychological, emotional, and spiritual.

While chronic illness may close some doors, it will no doubt open others. Take good
care! You’re worth it. Remember, only YOU can make it happen!

Dr. Jackie Black 1999-2005
If you like this article, please read more about Dr. Jackie’s
relationship dating advice and help for issues and problems
This article may be re-published with appropriate attribution to the author including name, web site, email address and telephone number.
Check out Dr. Jackie's Podcasts here:
Check out Dr. Jackie's Blog here:

Friday, June 8, 2007

Journaling for the Chronique

Well, my last blog entry was 5/18 and I had made a comment prior to that that I was going to make a real effort to utilize this blog as a journal of the ins & outs of all the ways chronic illness touches my life. The good, the bad & the ugly. Clearly, I have not been speedy in getting to my next post - especially once I decided it should be on journaling. I think by the time you read this, you will have a better understanding of why.

First, to discuss the obvious pros of journaling and why we should all learn from my own hang ups and journal anyway! Keeping a journal of some sort is really important, particularly for those of us with a chronic illness - or any other life-changing event that will continue to change-life as time goes on. Kristi Patrice Carter wrote:

Many doctors will encourage you to journal details about their illnesses. You see, this gives them a better insight into what you are thinking, enduring, defeating or struggling to defeat. It also allows them to take rare look inside your mind that they otherwise would not see. After all, doctors cannot monitor every one of their patients 24 hours a day, but a journal allows them a window into the personal life of their Chronic Fatigue or Fibromyalgia patient and this journaling experience can serve both you and the doctor as they become more intimately connected to your experience...

Journals also serve as a therapy for some people....

...Lastly, journals allow you to track your illness through cycles and document whether your treatment regimen is working. To read the entire article, follow this link:

Now, a little personal history on Kimberly Flynn & journaling. Specifically, journaling when asked to do so by a medical professional. I "had" an eating disorder. That statement is one for another blog entry - another blog alltogether! In a nut shell, I had some very bad habits and we will leave it at that for now.

Back then, I was seeing (or being seen by) an amazing counselor named Marilyn who specialized in eating disorders. At that time, I was living outside of Boston and her office was in her apartment smack dab in the middle of down town Boston! She was as a BONE and had posters of BALLERINAS in her bathroom! - I am not sure if she was entirely "cured" of her obvious eating disorder, but she was a blessing to me, nonetheless. I knew she really, really understood where I was coming from. That part of it I dug.... she would practically finish my sentences for me. But then....there was HOMEWORK! Marilyn asked that I start journaling everything I ate, when I would exercise, if I would "fall off the wagon" and "uneat" anything, etc. This while also tracking my weight changes and so on.

My sister - and without question my best friend - wanted me to get better or, better said, not "practicing" my eating disorder. She bought me a small journal with lined pages just for the purpose of fulfilling Marilyn's request. I was very excited about this journaling thing for about one day, maybe 2 tops! ;P

Here is what we found out about me:

On a day that I did "all the right things" and ate what I perceived as "good", etc. I kept the neatest journal you have ever seen! I mean, perfectly shaped letters, plenty of info; was I full after eating?, how did it make me feel?, etc.

....Then there was the flip side to this type of day.

Let's say I had a slice of pizza or two instead of a 1/2 cup of couscous, 4 oz baked chicken and some fresh veggie to go along side - then what would my entry look like then? (without delving into the unhealthy though process of an individual with an eating disorder, this pizza scenario would be considered a complete and utter failure and there was no excuse, in my mind, to justify this action)
Literally - if i even wrote stuff down at all - it would typically not be in a timely fashion. I wouldn't make a note immediately after eating pizza, when i still felt so "dirty". ;) I would wait and rely on memory to make my journal entries for that day. An entry like "2 slices of pizza" would be written not perfectly within the lines of my nice little journal - but slanted across lines or written in the margin as if I were making a quick note to myself regarding some minute detail. A day like this "pizza day" might have started out with a 1/2 cup of Grape Nuts with skim milk and some strawberries for breakfast. That entry would be neat, legible and written within the lines of the journal. If my day went off the tracks (as believed by yours truly) and lunchtime is when this pizza catastrophe took place - it would be the lunchtime entry that the visible difference in my journaling could be seen.

This all seemed quite normal to me ..... it was the workings of my mind and my innermost beliefs, subconsciously transformed on to paper. Looked like acceptable journaling to me!

So, my next appointment with Marilyn came around. I hopped on the Red Line to the Green Line and made my way up Newbury St. (via Starbucks, of course) with my journal in hand for my meeting with Marilyn. It took her only glancing at the pages to come to the following conclusion:
I am only likely to journal something that is fully acceptable to me - something that showed success, not "failure". All entries that I was loath to identify myself with would be messy, outside of lines, in margins and un-legible. A stark contrast to the neat entries I was proud of that would mark not just the hour, but even the minute that I enjoyed my 1/2 cup Grape Nuts! ...Then some random scribble that looked something like "burrito" but no one could be really sure what it said ..... & it was any ones guess on what day this "burrito" even took place! Well, after Marilyn brought this to my attention I felt quite exposed and decided I didn't like journaling one bit!

This brings me to present day and our topic of journaling. Everyone told me to keep a record of symptoms, medications, etc. when I was diagnosed with MS. The same before diagnosis was very important to keep new symptoms straight and note when I became aware of them. Once I began treatment, the good people at Shared Solutions, the patient resource for Copaxone users, sent me a great little planner with spots for journaling, symptoms, meds and a record of when I do my injections. Apparently they don't know me too well to believe Kim Flynn would want to keep a written record of when she self injects medications daily! ;) I hate needles....we won't even "go there" right now! The scenario was similar to the one years ago in Beantown in that a day where I did my shot would be well documented, but admission of missing a shot would never be admitted - which becomes more missed shots - which becomes a VERY EMPTY JOURNAL.

I suppose too, I would prefer to not write it all down, as in Boston, because the preference is to "not admit I have a problem". It was an eating disorder then and it's MS management now - and whether I write it down or not - it's not going away! I am sure my MS specialist at the Maxine Mesenger MS Clinic in Houston thinks I am crazy when I whip out a bank deposit slip in his office with whatever new symptoms or issues I wanted to discuss with him scratched all over the back. ...This list carefully jotted down, of course, on the car ride to his office! Hopefully Dr. Hutton shares the insight Marilyn had years ago. If not, I am certain he must believe Multiple Sclerosis to be the least of my problems and that I am the most disorganized screw ball to ever set foot in his office! ;)

So where does this leave us? I suppose I owe anyone who has read this far in this post a "happy ending" or solution to this story. We'll see if I can oblige -

Here is what I have recognized lately in myself that might help anyone out there with hang-ups like mine:
I appreciate the effort on the part of the folks at Copaxone to put a journal in my hands in hopes that I use it, and I am sure that particular journal comes in very handy for many people. For me, in the interest of separating myself as much as possible from the reality of why I am being asked to keep a record, I recommend a "non pharmaceutical grade" journal. It's much more "mentally pleasant" to have an adorable little (or big) journal that makes a statement about YOU rather than a statement about the drug company that issued it, or Mead or whoever the manufacturer is. Why would I look forward to "special alone time" each day with a journal that literally "matches" the "look & feel" of my SYRINGES?! Or a plain notebook that has the personality of a dial tone and takes me back to all the joys of note taking in high school?!

Make YOUR journal about YOU in more ways than one - inside & out. This can be done on any budget. Been to the grocery store lately? School supply aisle - there are the "dial tone" notebooks and there are the cute notebooks that you can only see yourself journaling in if you have a cute pen to match! Which, by the way, I highly recommend! Target is a goldmine for such things. (Love Target-again, another day-another blog! People like me go into a Target store and come out hours later having no sense of the time or money they have just spent. A fugue that I am sure even the world's finest doctors of psychiatry can't explain-The Target Fugue!) For those of us that slip into Coach or Kate Spade or Juicy Couture fugues, there are day planners and journals put out there by all the big designers.

At Chronique Couture, we also offer a few journals that fit the bill and look more like you would imagine the story book cover to your life's biography to look! Elizabeth Friedl, owner of Little Miss Perfect has handmade some very fun journals exclusively for CC, of which she is also co-owner. We also have some other fun journals you should check out!

I think this journaling issue goes even more hand in hand with the overall concept of Chronique Couture than we knew. I also do think it's important to keep a record of this "stuff". It's important. We are speaking of illnesses for which there are no cures! Let's do our part and jot things down if it will ultimately help solve the puzzle behind these diseases and offer cures to the many who will be diagnosed in the minutes, hours, days & years to come.

A quick note to Marilyn: I probably never thanked you then as you were more the "enemy than friend" at the time (or so was my perception) but I do credit you for probably saving my life. I also credit you for the 20 lbs. I can't seem to shake .... but living, still with major hang ups regarding "eating" but hang ups I have found it much easier to live with - is certainly preferable to not living at all. Thank you.

And finally - to anyone that has actually read this entire post: First, I commend you for an attention span that far surpasses my own and I apologize for rambling on such ultra personal "stuff" to which you might not be able to relate at all. But, truth be told, I am just kind of proud of myself for "putting it down on paper" in the first place. ;D

Happy Friday & Chronique Regards!


Friday, May 18, 2007

Practicing What I Preach

Hello & Happy Friday!

You know, most of the time I stay up beat about my MS diagnosis. Having the store now really helps too, but sometimes, it's easier than others. Today started out one of those "other" days.

I don't know what I have done that has been so exausting, though I suppose with MS (or any illness that brings with it chronic fatigue) we can feel like we just climed Everest even if we didn't......

I slept late today, almost until 10:30am. I was wearing a raggedy old pair of PJs....scuffed out to the kitchen like it was some early ungodly hour to get the coffee started. It's trash day and the trash guys had already come by - so I considered whether pulling the bins back into the garage was worth the effort and decided it was. I moseyed down the driveway in my less than couture PJ ensemble. (I might add, they are Victoria's Secret PJs and they USED to be really cute! ;P) My neighbor was out and she and I began to chat. We really have not had the opportunity to chat and it was great talking to her. I actually told her all about Chronique Couture, too. Then I stopped in my tracks and laughed. I said to Elsa, "OMG, I can't belive I am going on about Chronique Couture and look at me today!?"

Elsa and I continued our chat, nailed down a date for our big garage sale (yay! - bye bye ugly couches!) and I returned inside to my fresh pot of Starbucks. (By the way, Starbucks' Arabian Mocha Sanani is where it's at! I never thought I would spend this much on a pound of coffee, but I LOVE it!)

So.....I started thinking... the day is still quite young and not at all lost. I still have time to turn my sluggish mood around and turn this day into a "Chronique" day! You know what - YES I DO feel like staying in my PJs today! You know why? BECAUSE I CAN! :) But, I took my shower, slipped into a brand new pair of Frankie & Johnny PJs made of super light cotton poplin. The style of the PJs are called "pampered kitty" and that seemed to fit the bill for what I needed today. I also slipped into a new pair of Patricia Green pink, fuzzy, shearling, flip-flop slippers called Snow Cub, but NOT BEFORE I painted my toe nails and my finger nails! As I was painting my toes, I thought, "hey, I should blog about this". Though I knew full well I would have to wait until the polish dried!

I mean it when I say - I feel 100% better then I did this morning! Better about myself, better about what I want to accomplish today and God knows, I feel better about my toes! ;p

Sometimes it's hard to push ourselves to tend to the little things that make us feel "prettier", when valuable energy is needed to pick the kids up from school, get them to soccer practice and then feed a hungry husband! All this particularly because it takes up more of our "spoons" to tend to these little things we used to take for toe nails and such. (If you are not familiar with Christine Miserandino's Spoon Theory it's a great read, quite accurate and can be found on her But You Don't Look Sick website.)

Ladies, a couple of extra spoons or no, pamper yourself. In the longrun, you will feel better that you did! A little retail therapy never hurt anyone! Go buy some PJs that would normally be out of your price range or a little black dress, for that matter! Splurge & enjoy! It's amazing what happens when we show OURSELVES a little TLC.

I am off to do my Arbonne Thermal Fusion face mask and continue my little mini spa day. Take some time and do the same!

Be well!

Monday, May 14, 2007

Chronique Couture ~ Now Open!

Well, it's feels like it's been a long time coming....but...we are open for business! We are thrilled to finally open the virtual doors and welcome you into our boutique.

This "running your own business" thing is tough work! I am used to being "the sales girl" or "the phone girl" or "the marketing girl", etc. Well, now I, along with my partners Allyson & Lisa - we are all wearing a variety of hats! From the IT hat to the advertising hat....the last 6 months or so has been a real education. All of the hard work put in to Chronique Couture makes it that much more satisfying now to open the doors.

If you have read the updates here before, you know what the concept of our store is. The tag line is Tres Chic for the Chronically Unique and that says a mouth full! We feel strongly that a chronic disease or illness should not rob a woman of her "girlyness". It's important to hold onto our sense of self; keep it in tact as it was before our diagnosis.

We hope Chronique Couture can add a pleasant twist to otherwise not-so-pleasant circumstances. Know how beautiful you are and pamper yourself - because you deserve it.

Be sure to visit our message board - Cafe Chronique. Super cute!

I am going to make a real effort to utilize this blog for updates regarding Chronique Couture, but also to use it as a diary of sorts for thoughts and feelings I have currently and have had along the way before and since my diagnosis of MS back in June 2006.

Be well!