Locating a mental health professional to help you cope What I've learned about living from my chronic illness - Personal Care & Comfort
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Blog Title: What I Learn About Living From My Chronic Illness by Shelley Peterman Schwarz
Chronic illness changes every aspect of your life. In my blog, I reflect on my 30+ year journey living with primary progressive multiple sclerosis (MS). I share thoughts, insights, and lessons learned that hopefully will help you or someone you know. - Shelley
By Shelley Peterman Schwarz on Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Shelley and Hannah working out "I am so glad when you leave," I blurted out one day after a particularly taxing exercising session.  Hannah looked at me in surprise. It was clear that I had hurt her feelings. I stopped and thought about my innocent comment and then started to laugh.  What I really meant to say was, "I feel so energized and limber after we workout; it's easier to move 'reluctant' body parts."


I never was a fan of physical fitness and truth be told, I never liked to exercise. I was more of a spectator. What got me to consider exercising was the fact that I was feeling stronger and knew that I might be able to handle more "physical exertion." 


Then, one day ...

By Shelley Peterman Schwarz on Thursday, November 08, 2012

Question markWhen you live with a chronic progressive illness there are lots of unknowns, like; how fast will the disease progress?  How disabled will I become?  And, how will I manage if I become disabled?  There are very few things, if any, that you can predict about your future.   At least, that’s been my experience.


However, there is one thing that I do know for sure.  It’s this: When you ask for help, someone will be there to help you...

By Shelley Peterman Schwarz on Thursday, October 11, 2012
I am thrilled that the colonoscopy is over and the doctor did not find any polyps.  However, the procedure took a lot out of me and I will write about the experience next week when I've recovered. Yes, I have helpful tips to share that may help you when you need a colonoscopy.
By Shelley Peterman Schwarz on Friday, September 21, 2012

I recently visited with a friend who told me about an accident at the city park across the street from her house.  Some children were playing on a climbing toy when a little girl slipped and caught her leg in the play equipment.  An adult who was with the children ran to my friend's house and asked her to call 911. 

 Dawn diswashing liquid   After making the call, my friend, who had raised 3 children of her own, grabbed her...

By Shelley Peterman Schwarz on Friday, September 07, 2012

Lay a large, cylindrical bottle of lotion or shampoo on its side and gently drape hand and fingers over the bottle.  Then, gently lift each finger to apply polish.

Shelley's hand contracted in a fist  SHelley's hand draped over bottle  Polishing each finger

By Shelley Peterman Schwarz on Thursday, July 19, 2012

My massage therapist, EllenOne of the best treats for me is to have a massage.  I feel so pampered and taken care of.  I truly relax and let my worries take a vacation for an hour or so, as I drift into LA LA Land. 


When I first started getting massages, it was too taxing to go out and get them.  The act of undressing, then getting re-dressed, even...

By Shelley Peterman Schwarz on Tuesday, July 17, 2012

With the excessively hot temperatures we're having in the Midwest, the focus of my monthly segment on WISC-TV, (the CBS affiliate in south central Wisconsin) was on creating "Your Emergency Backpack."


By Shelley Peterman Schwarz on Wednesday, July 11, 2012

My independence is SUPREMELY important to me!  Everyday I fight hard to do what I am able to do.  I really don't like asking for help from anyone, especially my husband, Dave, who does soooooooooo much for me on a daily basis, (helping me dress, making all the meals, cleaning up afterwards, etc.) You get the idea.


But even with my best efforts, there are times when my dis-abilities smack me back to the  reality of my limitations.  And, last night, it was the mouthwash...


By Shelley Peterman Schwarz on Monday, July 09, 2012

Recently, a reader recommended the following book to me. Here are her words: 


"I am wondering if you might have already read the book, The Art of the Possible, copyright 1995, by Alexandra Stoddard, and if not I recommend it.  She is a decorator/designer but much more than that as a writer with quite an interesting philosophy of living expressed in several of her books.  I happened upon her books in a resale shop and now have several of them which I reread from time to time.  This book has several chapters on such topics as balancing expectations, remaining centered which deals with health and healing and death, and joy, love and freedom. When I read the chapter on health and healing I thought of you over and over because I read your story about coming to terms with your health, accepting help from others and your writing a column that shares your outlook and wisdom to help others."


I want to thank this reader for writing to me about the book, The Art of the Possible, a book about "decorating/designing" your environment to help you find with balance and acceptance in your life. I was familiar with the book and now realize that I have been incorporating many of the Alexandra Stoddard's ideas and suggestions to creating my home environment.  I'll share with just one example of something I did.

In 1985, my husband and I put on an addition to our house. Our bedroom doubled in size to accommodate equipment I needed because of my increasing disability.  I needed...

By Shelley Peterman Schwarz on Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Before the 2012, On the Move, National MS Society fundraising luncheon last week, Carol, my dear friend, and I went for a manicure/polish change.  We wanted to look our best at this large community event.



It's always been important to me that I "look good," i.e. put together, whenever I go out in public.  My mother, her sisters, and their mother, my grandmother, took pride in the way they "presented themselves." But when I was 32 years old and was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, it had an effect on my self-image and self-esteem. When I started using my 3-wheeled Amigo™ scooter a few year later, going out in public was...

By Shelley Peterman Schwarz on Friday, June 01, 2012


If you have asthma, allergies, or chemical sensitivities, clean air in your hotel room is a must. When you make hotel reservations, ask if they have hypo-allergenic rooms or if they can treat your room with an ozone machine to knock out scents and pollen before you arrive. If the answer to both is “No” and you have no option to change hotels, consider taking along a portable air cleaner or other devices you may need to breathe and sleep better while you're away.


What travel tips would you like to share?

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