When you have chronic illness your holiday wish list might look a little different from others. It's probably filled with items to make your life a little more comfortable or indulgences you may not be able to afford, because of medical expenses.
The holidays are a time to treat yourself and others. Whether you are living with a chronic illness or love someone who is, here are few ideas for great gifts:
Holiday Gift Guide for People with Chronic Illness:
1. Animal Humidifier
This adorable humidifier keeps colds and dry skin at bay. Choose a favorite animal for added cheer. I like this owl, but there are many other choices, like a frog, an elephant, and even a dragon.
2. Essential Oil Diffuser
A great aromatherapy tool. When paired with the right oils, an oil diffuser aides sleep, elevates mood, wards off illness, and helps with breathing issues. This is the one I have at home. It has a pretty design and it's easy to use.
3. Essential Oils
Package with the diffuser or use as a stocking stuffer. NOW essential oils are good quality and affordable. Use these oils in a diffuser or in the bath.
4. Toilet Stool
Don't laugh. This is actually on my Amazon wish list. People with chronic illness often have digestive issues, but anyone can benefit from a better bathroom position. I like the design of this one, but some may prefer a more traditional Squatty Potty.
5. Back Support Cushion
Many people with chronic health issues also have chronic back pain. Give the gift of support and comfort. This is the one on my list.
6. Mermaid Blanket
Give the gift of warmth and fun. This cute mermaid blanket will make lying on the couch a little more enjoyable. Replace a boring old blanket with something with a little more imagination.
7. Heated Blanket
For the less adventurous this heated Sherpa blanket is a perfect alternative. I received a similar blanket last year and I use it every single day. It's hard to remember a time when my blanket didn't heat up. This is the one thing I can't live without.
8. Designer File Folders
People with chronic illness usually have lots of medical records. We also have to carry records to back and forth from doctor to doctor. Make sorting and transporting all those test results a little more stylish with these Orla Kiely mid-century modern inspired file folders or something similar taking into consideration personal preference.
9. Quality Knife Set
This gift serves two purposes. One, people with chronic illness are often on a specific diet and cook at home a lot. Two, chronic illness causes muscle weakness and/or arthritis. New, sharp knives will help make cooking a little easier.
10. Nourishing Meals Cookbook
Speaking of cooking at home, this is a great allergen-free cookbook. The recipes are all gluten-free, dairy-free, and soy-free. Plus, they are relatively easy to make and don't use an overwhelming number of ingredients like some whole food cookbooks.
11. Pill Holder Key chain
This ingenious little invention allows you to carry pills in style. It saves you from having to pull out your grandma-like pill container when out with friends. Useful for medication or to tote around emergency Advil.
12. Herbal Tea
Tea is always an excellent gift. I would suggest a soothing herbal tea for someone with chronic illness. I like a loose leaf variety to add a little class. This Teavana Oprah Chai Herbal Blend has a spicy flavor, but it caffeine-free.
13. Mana-tea Infuser
I can't get enough of this adorable Mana-tea infuser. Get it? It's a Manatee, but for tea? Pair with loose leaf tea for a simple, sweet gift.
14. Himalayan Salt Rock Tea Light Candle Holder
You've probably heard of the health benefits of a Himalayan salt lamp. Here it is in a smaller size. These pretty candle holders have a lower price tag and take up less space than a salt lamp.
15. Tibetan Singing Bowl
Many people with chronic illness use medtiation as a mechanism for healing. This singing bowl has beautiful etchings and is a great addition to any meditation space.
16. Wireless Headphones
Music is one of the most important ways to cope with illness. These wireless headphones allow freedom from being attached to a device. I envision a person with chronic illness streaming white noise as they drift off into a nap or drowning out the stress of a busy day. Wireless earbuds are also a good choice for a short walk or light workout.
17. Total Recovery
Every year I add a few new books about healing to my wish list. This is the one I added this year. Gary Kaplan is an integrative medicine doctor who treats Lyme disease. He writes about how inflammation in the brain leads to chronic pain and how to recover.
18. Warm Socks
Socks are the quintessential holiday gift. People with chornic illness live in warm and fuzzy socks. Personally, I don't think you can ever have too many pairs. Wigwam is a good brand of wool socks for both men and women.
19. Funny Movie Collection
Bundle a few of your favorite comedies as a lighthearted gift. Laughter is truly the best medicine and for people who are often relegated to the couch it's nice to have some funny options available. Here is one my personal favorites.
20. Inspirational Jewelry
I'm drawn to James Michelle Jewelry, because the owner and designer has Lyme disease. Her designs are beautiful and delicate. I love these mini-disc necklaces, but check out all her other great designs. There are also tons of Lyme warriors designing jewelry on Etsy and other sites.
Hopefully, you'll find the perfect give for yourself or a loved one. What's on your holiday wish list this year?
"It was the outstretched hands, the giving, that mattered." -Annie Proulx
I knew I had to write an article/essay to pay homage to my husband, Zach, and all he's done to help me throughout my illness.
After I joined a few online support groups, what surprised me the most was the number of Lyme patients struggling with relationship issues. Then, I watched Under Our Skin and Under Our Skin 2: Emergence and saw even more examples of relationships that fell apart because of Lyme.
Zach sometimes lost his patience with me before I had a diagnosis, but he also encouraged me to never give up until I had one. I actually remember one day when I told him I thought it was Lyme disease, he said, "I hope not." It was insulting for him to think there was something worse than what I was going through, but he didn't mean it that way. When I was finally diagnosed with Lyme I think it helped that he already understood it was a serious illness.
I wrote this article as sort of a practical guide for Lyme patients and a love letter to Zach. You can read it here:
How to Be a Good Partner to Someone with Lyme Disease
How has Lyme impacted your relationships?
"Love is like breathing. You take it in and let it out." - Wally Lamb
Robin Fiorese is a champion for her husband, Tony, who was finally diagnosed with Lyme disease after a misdiagnosis of ALS. In this installment of The Lyme Interview, she shares his story with the goal of spreading awareness of Lyme Disease and the many ways it imitates other illnesses. This is a family that will inspire you to never give up, traveling all the way form British Columbia to Florida for treatment. They went from hopelessness to hope. This is a picture of Tony taking a break from treatment to visit Epcot.
Tell us a little about who you are and what you do:
I'm in my late 40's, I don't have human children, but I have dogs. I have been involved in a volunteer parrot rescue for the last 16 years, and have a few adopted birds. I enjoy being outside and we have recently moved from our 2.5 acres in the City of Surrey to a property 3 hours away in the city of Peachland in the sunny Okanagan, British Columbia, with a lake view. Needing to downsize to pay for treatment and for a drier climate. Tony is a 50 year old craftsman of all trades, working in the movie industry building sets, as well as, a volunteer Fireman and presently a Paramedic, he is also an outdoorsman into hunting, fishing and outdoor sports.
Your husband was diagnosed with Lyme after a misdiagnosis of ALS. Please share your story:
Tony was in the best shape of his life and working out 6 days a week, but while at work, one of his patients adjusted herself on the cot as she was being carried out of her residence, and Tony, along with his partner, went to stop her from falling and he ripped his right rotator cuff. He started physical therapy and was only getting weaker, losing all his muscle mass on the entire right side of his body, including his leg.
He was then sent to a neurologist, and then a second neurologist, and they both said Tony had ALS, which as they said is "a death sentence." They said they had a drug they wanted Tony to take, but he refused and started to do his own research. He found that ALS and Lyme mirror each other very closely. Tony being a hunter thought it was quite possible he was bitten by a tick. We don't know when, it could've been 20 years ago. It was not until he had the trauma to his body (ripped rotator cuff) that it started to show its ugly face.
Then we found a Lyme Literate Natropathic Doctor about an hour from where we lived. Tony's blood was sent off to the United States for testing. He had enough markers to diagnose Lyme disease, so the year-long treatment started. Things were getting worse but we held onto hope that at some point he would turn the corner. Once all the so-called natural remedies we tried didn't work the doctor wanted to use heavy, high doses of IV antibiotics. We left and started treatment with a Chinese Medicine clinic only 5 minutes from our home for 8-9 months, again we were holding onto hope...
What was your family's lowest point and how did you find your way out of it?
After realizing the Chinese remedies were also not working and feeling we were at a dead end was probably the lowest point. More research on the internet brought Tony to the current treatment in Florida where he has been for the last 5 months.
What is the one thing your husband has found most helpful in treatment?
Finding a doctor that knows what he is talking about and knows the proper treatment for each individual case of Lyme.
What do you want people to know about Lyme disease?
It can can happen to anyone. Who hasn't been bit by a mosquito? Or flea, which are also carriers.
If you could take away one symptom, which symptom would you take away and why?
The deterioration of the myelin sheaths on the nerves. This has taken away Tony's ability to walk and do things with his arms and fingers. He had bad breathing issues as well, but that has been Improving.
Finish the following statement "I wish…":
There was funding available and the government would recognize that Lyme is an epidemic and needs to be addressed.
Please share a mantra or quote that inspires
Everything happens for a reason.
I'm Kerry and I am a licensed therapist, writer & speaker. This is a positive space focused on how to thrive in any situation and the transformative power of suffering.