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YES, YOU!!!!

Are you on Facebook??? Please ask all of your friends to vote!!

Are you a member of a health related forum or message board?  Please ask them to come visit this site and vote!!

Do YOU have your own Blog?

Have you participated in the Graceful Agony Blog Carnival???

Feel FREE to make a blog post and include all the info here (copy and paste it if you want!)

Do you have friends or family that have been touched by a chronic illness or chronic pain?

Take this time to tell them how much you care – and let them know that I am representing the whole ‘Chronic’ Community in this Competition!

Do you have an email or twitter account??  Please forward this post!!

Forward it as many times as you’d like , get your friends to repost it and so on and so on…  😉

If you don’t believe that your vote won’t make a difference, please think again!

This has been an amazing opportunity for me, and I am honored to be included with some amazing bloggers!

My wish when I started Graceful Agony was to spread the word, and increase awareness on Chronic Illness and Chronic Pain.  I wanted to be able to light another person’s path through a life that is often misunderstood.  I wanted to leave my footprint, make friendships, and be a part of an amazingly supportive online community…. and THAT is the biggest gift in what I do here.  I get all of those things and so much more every day.

The rest is icing on the cake.





Thank you to everyone that has given me such amazing support and encouragement through this process.  Graceful Agony wouldn’t be a part of the world-wide web if it wasn’t for you.

You keep me inspired,

keep me coming back,

and keep me loving what I do…

In spite of Pain.



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I am SOOOO angry!!!  My poor parents have found themselves in a horrible position, and I feel sad that there is nothing I can do to help them…. So in writing this, I hope that I can help get the word out, and at least WARN people about the pitfalls and perils of traveling… Let me back up and explain…

My parents have worked very hard in their lives to be able to travel.  THIS was always a priority for my family as I was growing up… Mom and Dad sacrificed so many things in their lives to give us the opportunity to see the world.  I don’t know if I appreciated it fully when I was younger, but looking back now, I understand how truly blessed I was to have experienced different cultures and to see parts of the world that most don’t get the opportunity to see.  I learned more about life on these family vacations than I ever did from a text-book, and it has made me appreciate everything I have in my life.  The value of living in a first world country where I have freedom has never been lost on me.  It is hard to forget seeing amputee children beg on the streets when I was 8-years-old. I had the gift of standing on the stairs in front of the Sydney Opera House, going to England and seeing where my family is from, and visiting the San Blas Islands where POOR means something entirely different from what it means in Canada.  I got to see that primitive cultures still exist, and people will do just about anything for a pair of Nike’s… I not only value each memory, but I, as an adult, appreciate all the time, energy, effort, and resources my parents used to give us these opportunities….

As I became an adult, moved out of my childhood home, and started taking care of myself, I only valued my parents more for the opportunities they gave me… my parents continued to travel on their own, working year-round for the opportunity…

When my Dad fell ill with cancer, it was simply the notion of going on a family trip that kept my Dad going… Not only had my parents given my sister and I the beautiful gift of travel, BUT they decided to pass that along to OUR kids, and last year they took all of us on a family vacation to Mexico… It truly is one of the most important memories I have to date.  My parents very selflessly gave my son and niece an opportunity that we would  not have been able to give them on our own.  It was a beautiful trip, my family got to spend 8 days together without distraction –  and that meant more to me than anything. Because of my Dad’s health, we weren’t sure if we would have that time.

Let me tell you that when my family was told that my Dad had cancer, his prognosis was almost as poor as they come.  He truly is my hero, he fought every step of the way – through unimaginable road blocks, and he beat the odds… I think we all learned that life is very short, and to take every opportunity that comes your way because you don’t ever know what tomorrow will bring.  Once you have been through something of that magnitude, you can’t disregard the lessons that it brings.  Life life.. See the world… Love passionately… create your own memories…

Fast Forward to the present – My parents have been working very hard this past year to be able to take a cruise through South America.  It has been a LONG time in the making – and I can’t tell you how much effort, time and resources have gone into this.  They were supposed to leave this past Sunday…

We all know that this past Saturday there was a MAJOR Earthquake in Chile.  My heart, prayers, and all my thoughts go to the people of Concepcion and Santiago – the places that were hit the worst from what I understand, and all of the other people who were impacted.  Lives were sadly lost, and the devastation that they are going through is only something you can even try to imagine if you have lost a loved one in your own life.  It is truly sad.

My parents were  to fly into Santiago – but the airport there suffered major damage, and air travel was canceled into this area.  We sat on pins and needles Saturday night as my folks waited to hear from Princess Cruises, the company that they booked this trip with…. and the phone didn’t ring….

Sunday, some of the people who were booked on this trip congregated on a cruise forum, and they all started to share stories of how they were stranded in airports and homes across the world with NO idea what was going on, how Princess intended to handle this situation, or HOW they were supposed to get to the ship on time… hundreds of calls were made to Princess… without much of a response.

Yesterday as we followed this devastation in the news, we were left to come up with our own conclusions, and since air travel had been suspended, and there were travel warnings and advisories released which stated that all non-essential travel into this area of the world was prohibited, we came up with our own conclusion…. this trip would NOT happen as planned… which is completely expected, and obviously what is best for everyone… But Princess Cruises STILL hadn’t communicated this to any of their passengers.  My Parents, along with help from their wonderful travel agent, both came to the conclusion that they wouldn’t be going on holiday, which was actually a relief – after 3 days of sitting by the phone, not sleeping, and not knowing whether they were going to have to leave at a moments notice and travel into an area of the world that is destroyed.

But GET THIS….. LAST NIGHT, my parents were told that this cruise was leaving, with or without them – and IF they chose not to get themselves to Chile, they were NOT receiving a refund…. That the $$$$$$, time, effort, resources, and frustration were for nothing, as they were not being refunded or compensated for any of it!!

UM… HELLO?!?!?  If people can NOT get out of Santiago, how to they suspect that people are going to get IN?  How can you sail a cruise ship OUT of an area that has been impacted by a SEVERE earthquake, leaving hundreds of people stranded with no way to get there, and then KEEP their money?  Keep in mind that almost all of these people have travel insurance….

Some brave souls have decided to make their own travel arrangements, flying into city centers as close to the ship as possible, and either taking a bus, or hiring a driver to take them the rest of the way… My hat is off to all of you.

Other people cannot even get close to this point, as flights into this area aren’t feasible right now – and are trying to meet the ship somewhere along the way and salvage what is left of this trip – at their own cost.

But regardless of how people have tried to make lemonade out of the lemons that they have chucked at them – Princess Cruises SHOULD be helping the people that essentially keep their business alive and well.

THIS  just isn’t good enough… and as Princess makes press releases stating that they are doing everything they can to assist all of these travelers, I must admit, looking from this perspective –  I think that it has been convenient for them to use the media to their benefit – because I have spent the last 4 days reading story upon personal story that contradicts everything they have said.

Again, my thoughts and prayers go out to everyone in Chile that have been affected by this horrible disaster.  I hope that they will be able to grieve, rebuild, feel the love and prayers we are giving them from around the world, and hopefully become stronger at the broken places….

As for Princess – The saga continues… I hope they do the right thing and really help these people out…

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I got this emailed to me last week…. and some of these  really made me smile!  You know what they say about laughter being good medicine… and it is healthy to be able to laugh at yourself sometimes… Can you relate to any of these?

You know you have a chronic illness when…

* You understand all the medical terminology discussed on the T.V. show Grey’s Anatomy.

* When you hear the term “Club Med” you automatically think of the hospital.

* You ask your child to open the “child-proof” bottles of medicine because your hands are too sore.

* Your medical records have to be transported on a cart.

* To entertain people at parties you recite the side effects of medications as if you are the voice over on a commercial.

* Your favorite Oprah program is when Dr. Oz is on.

* To get rid of boredom on road trips, your whole family can go through the alphabet and name a drug that starts with each letter of the alphabet.

* When you’re unable to sleep because of pain, you watch “The Jerry Springer Show” and feel like you actually have a life.

* Your spelling has improved dramatically, especially on words like “fibromyalgia” and “osteoporosis.”

* Or you’ve been “Around the World in Thirty Minutes” with CNN’s Headline News 57 times in one sitting.

* You have a panic attack in public and say, “Praise God this is only the second one today!”

* You’re invited to the wedding of the gal who works at the hospital lab.

* You’re child can say “Myofascial” “Amytryptilene” and “craniosacral therapy” in a sentence when talking to you.

* You have a flashback and don’t know what happened and can honestly say, “I don’t know where I was or what I was doing but I’ll make something up if you’d like.”

* You have your pharmacists cell phone number.

* Nothing is sacred anymore between you and your spouse, including talking about your irregular bowel movements.

* When you call the drug store, they don’t even have to ask for your name, because they recognize your voice.

Do you have any more to add to the list?!?  Please leave a comment if you do… I’d LOVE to hear what you come up with!!

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The Layers of Me Meme

Good Morning Everyone!

I knew it would be inevitable that I would be sent a meme… it seems like every blog has to have at least one ;).  I woke up to this one sitting in my Graceful Agony email account this morning…. so I thought I would give it a go while having my morning coffee…

I am supposed to tag 3 people – but I wouldn’t be so cruel 😉  So feel free to tag yourselves and answer these questions on your own site if you wish… and if you don’t want to, then don’t!


The layers of me

layer one
name: Jolene
current location: Canada – Beside the beautiful Rockies
eye color: Green
hair color: Right now? LOL!  Brunette.. after being BLONDE for many many years
height: 5’3
righty or lefty: I am left-handed
zodiac sign: Cancer

layer two
your heritage: I am adopted, so hard to tell… I believe my birth mother had a last name of Swiss origin.  But my Mom and Dad are from England and Wales, and I relate to those traditions.
the shoes you wore today: No shoes…. and I plan on keeping that way as long as I can… I have nerve pain in my feet!
your weakness: Isn’t that the worst question to answer! Like in a job interview, you are supposed to make your ‘weakness’ sound like a strength!  LOL!  I’d say chocolate is a HUGE weakness…
your fears: I fear that I will live a life with pain and not find relief and I fear losing people I love.
your perfect pizza: My perfect pizza is ANY pizza that I get to share with BOTH of my boys.

layer three
your most overused phrase(s) on AIM: I don’t use AIM… but I do use Blackberry Messenger everyday, and my most used phrase would have to be “I love you honey”
your first waking thoughts: are usually… Ouch… yikes… and Aaahhhh….
your best physical feature: This is a HARD question to answer… probably my eyes…
your most missed memory: This is a general question that could be read different ways… But I miss being able to speak to my brother.

layer four
pepsi or coke: Coke
mcdonald’s or burger king: McDonald’s.. only because my son loves it there, and I like to make him happy!
single or group dates: Both… But I honestly feel like every day is a date with my honey… even hanging at home doing laundry and vacuuming feels like a date with him… I am SOOO lucky!
adidas or nike: Neither…. I hate wearing sneakers!
lipton ice tea or nestea: Either, it doesn’t matter to me.  I don’t drink iced tea very often.
cappuccino or coffee: BOTH!!!

layer five
cuss: Yes… I cuss probably more than I should.
sing: I love to sing, and do it often when we are driving in the car… my honey has been known to roll his eyes and laugh at me!
do you think you’ve been in love: I absolutely KNOW I have been in love… with my Dad, my honey, and my son…
want to go to college: This is my biggest regret!  I never completed college, and given the opportunity (and the $$) I would LOVE to be a student again!
want to get married: YES, one day!
believe in yourself: Yes I believe in myself… I didn’t before chronic pain, but I sure do now.
get motion sickness: I get horrible motion sickness at times… and I get vertigo EVERY time I fly…
think you’re attractive: That is a hard question for me to answer, I don’t think of myself in those terms… I am more concerned with how attractive I am on the inside.
think you’re a health freak: Not a textbook health freak, but I am in some ways.. I have to be, I am the only one who can advocate for myself as far as my illnesses are concerned.
get along with your parents: Absolutely!! I LOVE MY MOM AND DAD!!
like thunderstorms: After you have had an indirect lightning strike, you tend NOT to enjoy thunderstorms… I am not kidding… I had my head burned by lightning!
play an instrument: I have 3 guitars and I am trying to learn.

layer six
in the past month…
drank alcohol: Yes
done a drug: That is a funny question to ask a chronic pain patient… LOL!  Define ‘drug’!
made out: Absolutely! 🙂
gone on a date: Absolutely 🙂
gone to the mall: Yep!
eaten an entire box of oreos: In one sitting?  NO!  In a week? YES
eaten sushi:I love SUSHI!!  I just had it last week!
been on stage: No… and I am not a big fan of being on any stage… makes me too nervous!
been dumped: Absolutely NOT!
gone skating: Ha ha…. Some days I have a hard time walking even!

made homemade cookies: Not in the last month, but I LOVE to bake!
gone skinny dipping: I skinny dip in my big jetted bath tub daily 😉
dyed your hair: YES!
stolen anything: NO!  Except maybe my honey’s heart;)  Cheesy I know…

Remember this is only in the past month

layer seven
played a game that required removal of clothing: The only ‘game’ I play that requires removing my clothing is the “health care” game at my Doctor’s office every couple of weeks, does that count?  I know, aren’t I a crazy girl?!?
if so, was it mixed company: umm…. no
been trashed or extremely intoxicated: Absolutely NOT
been caught “doing something”: What does that mean?!?  I get “caught” doing the laundry, I get “caught” watching TV when I should be vacuuming… I am a housewife…. 🙂
changed who you were to fit in: I am PERFECTLY me, take it or leave it… I am way past the point in my life that I change for anyone.

layer eight
age you hope to be married: Been and gone.. Married once.. Divorced once… 😉  Not many “young’ marriages work out these days…
numbers and names of children: I have 1 amazing boy… I thought I would have at least 2 or 3 children, but I may not be given that opportunity… so I try to concentrate on the one miracle I already have in my life..
describe your dream wedding: Anywhere, Anytime, Any place with the love of my life… I don’t think I would have a traditional wedding again… It isn’t about the wedding day – it is about integrity, respect, and love in a marriage that counts.
what do you want to be when you grow up: I don’t want to ever grow up 😉  Seriously, I would like to work in psychology, addictions counselling, or in the chronic pain world.
what country would you most like to visit: I would love to go back to the South Pacific!

layer nine
number of cds that i own: HUNDREDS
number of piercings: I have 7 ear piercings… and none anywhere else.
number of tattoos: I don’t have one YET – my I keep thinking about getting one.
number of scars on my body: I have a few.. a heart surgery scar, scars on my face from being mauled by a dog, scars on my belly from surgery… gosh… I have quite a few actually…
number of things in my past that i regret: I try not to concentrate on regrets… Every ‘regret’ I have ever had I have learned something that by far surpasses the regret in the first  place…  The only thing I wish I had learned earlier in life was to stand up for myself… Had I learned that when I was much younger, I probably could have prevented a lot of pain.

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Just a question

WHY is it sometimes the more you try to let something go, the more it haunts you?

I am having one of those days that I JUST cannot seem to get out of my head….

Lobotomy anyone?

I hope you all are having a ‘light’ and peaceful day…


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Graceful Agony Book Club?

Hi everyone!

A little while ago I posted about the possibly of maybe starting an online book club.  I would STILL love to do this, and am gearing towards a March 1st start date.  I will run one if we can get 3 or more people together to do it, and I already have a book picked out, which I made sure was easily available at discount chains such as Walmart and Target, so the cost won’t be too bad!

Here is my original post!  Is anyone interested?

Please let me know, so I can plan it or toss the idea!!


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Rest Peacefully Jeannette

“Aunt” Jeannette was my great-aunt through marriage for the past ten years……

She was a funny old “broad”, and I call her that in the most endearing way.  She was an old spinster…. single….. independent….. and LOVED to chat!  She was always full of smiles and conversation…..

She lived by her own set of rules, and when many her age were dependant and inactive, she was living in an unassisted facility, going out to the Legion with her friends, and had been known to cut a rug with the best of them.

Just about 8 years ago now, Jeannette had a stroke….. and she lost all of her independence.  She was never to walk again….

It was really hard for her…. She ended up in a home, looking towards everyone to care for all of her basic needs….. Her health started to decline. …

She was a fellow chronic babe…. She too dealt with pain everyday…..

The last few years she suffered a constant decline in her health…. and for the people who cared for her, it became harder and harder to watch…..

She was a survivor…. and she fought valiantly…….

Until yesterday….

The angels called her home.

I bet she is up in heaven right now cutting a rug… doing the Lindy hop…. having a beverage……

and free from the restrictions that bound her here on earth.

So Jeannette, wherever you may be…. Know that I am thinking of you today….. Although I never had the chance to tell you, I admired your courage…..

And I won’t ever forget you.

**If you are reading this anywhere other thanwww.gracefulagony.wordpress.com it is because this post has been stolen.  Please click on the link provided to return to the site of origin

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