Posts Tagged ‘Thank you’


It has been such a long time since I was here.

And so many things have happened in my life since then… I hardly know where to start.

Writing has always been healing for me, and I have truly missed it, but for many reasons, I had to take a break.  I am hoping that break is over now, and that I can rejoin this amazing on-line community!  And do you know how awesome and inspiring this on-line community is???

I will tell you!!

Since I stopped writing, Graceful Agony has still remained strong!!  I was shocked to learn that this site has had over 63 THOUSAND HITS!  63,429 to be exact!!  That is so amazing to me!!


I will slowly be filling you in on what has transpired over the last year, while writing new posts, relaying new info in medical news, and hopefully reestablish the commitment I made to all of you.

I am excited to communicate with all of you, relearn the art of blogging (Please be patient, as the format here at WordPress has changed quite a bit since I was last here), but most of all, I am excited to find a piece of me that I have been missing…..

Thank you again for hanging in.. and not giving up on me.  This Chronic Life sure has its ups and downs…

One thing is for sure….. I am blessed to be able to share those ups and downs with you.



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  • Best Overall Blog

  • Chronic Illness

  • Health

  • Best New Blog

  • Personal

I cannot begin to tell you all how much this means to me, and how honored I feel.  This online community of hope, compassion, and caring means the world to me.  The amazing support I have received in the last 10 months since starting Graceful Agony has certainly changed not only my perspective of living with chronic illness and pain, it has also changed my heart.  I have never been great at receiving…. whether it be a gift or emotional support.  I have always been a lot more comfortable being on the ‘giving’ side.  But by being a part of this community has made me grow as a woman, partner, daughter, and Mother.  And I have all of you to thank for that.  THAT means more to me than just about anything.  I have already won.

I will announce the next round of voting so you can all follow along with the process!  I am SO excited!!

I hope you will keep those fingers warmed up and limber so you can keep on voting!! 😉

Thank you again for ALL of your unconditional love and support.  I am forever grateful.

**If you are reading this anywhere other than www.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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I received a letter today, and it touched me greatly, and left me in tears…

I don’t think that any of us in this amazing online community truly understand the power we have in the lives of others.  I ABSOLUTELY know the impact that all of you have made in my life – but as far as the ‘heartprint’ I leave in another person’s life… well…  I don’t know if I fully understand… and if that is the case, then it must be true for most, if not all of us.

The first round of the Graceful Agony Blog Carnival has been received amazingly well!  And I cannot wait to see where this journey takes all of us… But there is more to it than you might think…  Collectively, when we write about our personal journey through this life, and how we navigate  THROUGH chronic pain and illness – our truth and our raw emotions have a way of forging a path of healing not only for ourselves, but for other people as well.  We can find comfort, take solace, and maybe even find some healing when we know that our lives have a tangible effect on others…

Now, the letter that was sent to me not only made me EXTREMELY proud to be a part of this ‘circle’, it brought me back to a time when I didn’t have all of you… And it is just another reminder how blessed I really am…

I have asked to share this letter with all of you….

Dear Jolene,
I read the blog carnival last night and was in tears, not so much because of the heart wrenching stories, but because of the strength and honestly that I heard in those stories. And I also cried for myself. I always knew that there were other people out there living with chronic pain but I just was not able to connect. I have been isolated with this for so long that I just had stopped trying. My doctor wasn’t even of any help when I asked about a support group, which I think is really sad and shameful because I knew how many people are out there suffering alone. So I had this novel idea to start a blog that would be helpful, to teach, to reach out to others. I had never read many blogs and I thought they were mostly about cupcakes and decorating. I had no idea. I read those stories and I felt like I had been reunited with my long-lost family, these people are just like me, we speak the same language. I can’t begin to convey all that I felt. But I do know that this is where I belong. That I need to be a part of this somehow. Is it too late for this carnival or should I wait for the next? I am being long-winded I know but I am so excited. I also know that you are in a challenging place right now and I don’t want to intrude on that. But if you get a chance to let me know I would appreciate it. It’s time I found a place to rest these weary bones for a while and be around people who understand. Thank you for doing what you do and to the others bravely walking this same path….

I wanted to share this letter because it is not just for me… those words are truly for all of you, and a testament to how powerful sharing YOUR lives in your own words really can be…

And by the way – I couldn’t think of a better way to introduce Maryn to all of you… I think her letter serves as a great introduction, don’t you?

Her blog can be found here.  I am really looking forward to Maryn joining in on Round 2 of our Blog Carnival!!

**If you are reading this anywhere other than www.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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I just wanted to first express my thanks to EVERYONE who participated, and for all the support and encouragement I have received…. IF you have hosted a blog carnival in the past you know that there is a bit of work that goes into it.. but does the ‘work’ ever pay off!  It has been a pleasure and MY honor to get to know all of you better, read your ‘introductions’, and share in your experiences, your perceptions, and most of all the wonderful and raw parts that make up YOUR human spirit… THANK YOU for sharing with me, and now I GET TO SHARE WITH ALL OF YOU…..

So without any further adieu…. I now present to you the first round of our brand new blog carnival!!!!!

– Sheila is a wonderfully strong woman, and the moderator in our Graceful Agony Facebook group.  Her introductory post, Who I am now? Introducing….ME! will give you some insight to her strength.  From single-mom struggling and almost homeless, to her struggles with her health – Sheila keeps putting one foot in front of the other…. I admire her greatly, and thank her for all the support and time she puts in to our group!

– I haven’t known Dana for long, but I must tell you, there is a wonderful energy about her – and you will immediately know what I mean when you read her post,  A tsp of sugar, a tsp of spice, a dash of everything nice…. Dana has Avascular Necrosis, Fibromyalgia, Sjorgren’s… yet she also has a ‘get up and go’ mentality, living a purpose driven life.  Her spirituality and her family motivate her to live the best life she can… that is VERY clear.. but what else is clear is that she is one special gal.  I’m honored to be in her circle.

– Kathy is someone I have been friends with since joining the online community.  She also lives in my city, and I cannot wait to meet her in person and give her a BIG HUG…  She means the world to me.  Her blog post, Introducing Kathy will give you a glimpse as to why she is so important to me.  With Kathy, what you see is what you get – and she lives her truth.  I have GREAT respect for her.  Although she deals with Fibromyalgia every day, she is always there for others, is truly an ARTIST in many ways (look at her photography – you will see what I mean), and is a true friend in every sense of the word.  She wants people to know that they aren’t ‘alone’ in this chronic life… and with her on your side, you won’t be… She has been there for me selflessly, as well as everyone else in our group who needs her.  THANK YOU KATHY!!  We NEED to do coffee soon!!

– Speaking of friends… Tammy is one of the BEST!!  If you have not yet read her blog, I suggest you get yourself a cup of coffee, a box of tissues, and jump in.  Her Introduction barely scratches the surface of who this awe-inspiring gal truly is… Tammy and I hit it off from the first second I met her, and I am proud to call her my friend.  Imagine going into the hospital for a routine surgery as far as today’s standards are concerned, and spending MONTHS upon MONTHS in the hospital fighting for your life… this is only a part of Tammy’s history – and I am constantly in awe of her strength and courage.  I am forever a better person for having her in my life… and you will be too! Love you my soul sista!!

– And speaking of soul… that is pretty much the start of describing Wendy!  I had the pleasure of getting to know Wendy through the world-wide web soon after I started Graceful Agony… and I can only speak for myself, but it was like talking to someone I had known for years.  Wendy speaks her truth, she is a great friend, and she is giving with her time and her energy whenever you need her, no matter what she is going through.  Her post, Introductions Again, YIKES! couldn’t be more candid and real.  What she does, and WHO she is are connected beautifully in her post – and she acknowledges that she is a work in progress… BRAVO!  Aren’t we all!?  It is about the journey, and not the destination in this chronic life… and Wendy relays this brilliantly.

– Selena is someone I really admire, and I know you will too.  She is someone who forges ahead, has a quiet courage that has changed the way I perceive myself, and defines herself – not letting her Illnesses define her.  That is what you will read about in her carnival post, I am not my Chronic Illnesses… She has been through so much with her health, but continues to inspire others to live an authentic life, and to not have those struggles define the heart of who she is.  I know her to be a sweet and genuine person, always helping others, and LIVING… and sometimes that is the hardest thing to do when you deal with pain everyday…  She is someone who doesn’t know exactly the impact she has on others… but I am here to say that she has had a great impact on mine.

– Phylor has a great blog, and she is one of those ‘chronic’ warriors who is ALWAYS motivating and supporting others!  That is how I found her in the first place, and she has been a kind friend and motivation in my life.  Phylor has insight that is so truthful, and I know it will resonate with you as well.  In her Introduction she points out that we don’t generally shake someone’s hand and include our illness in the “hi my name is…” greeting.. Isn’t THAT the truth!  Phylor is many things, and just like all of us, we are a sum of our parts – but isn’t it GREAT that we can include our online community in that?  Each of the people who touch our lives become a piece of us in some way – and we are blessed because of that.

– Rosemary is one of the most beautiful people I have known – inside and out.    She makes me laugh, makes me cry, and makes me want to be a better person.  Her writing is both candid and beautiful, and she gives me courage to be really honest when I have bad days… That is something that at times is still hard for me to do – but after reading her blog, you will know what I mean – you CANNOT be anything BUT real in her presence.  Her post, The Skippy Diaries will leave you nodding your head… you will be able to see yourself in her post.  As she reflects on the things that used to be a part of her world – high heels, a love of reading, and living without restriction – you will be able to relate to that ‘day’ when all things changed…  She might not think she is ‘dealing’ with this so well, but it is quite the opposite… She grieves over the life that once ‘was’ and in doing she gives her readers the courage to do the same.

– I met CJ through Rosemary a short while ago, but already she is someone I hold dear to my heart.  Like Rosemary, CJ is admired for her honesty… And for someone who has been blogging for a short time, she sure fits in to this community, and I’d be lost without her!  The picture CJ paints of puzzle pieces becoming lost in her Introduction really hit me to the core… Having a completed puzzle until chronic illness and pain smashes the puzzle could not be more accurate or profound… It is so VERY true… How do ANY of us start putting those pieces of ourselves back together??  I think maybe if the community around you stop and start helping you find the pieces that have rolled under the table and across the floor – just maybe we can get that puzzle put back together.  CJ might not think ‘graceful’ is a word that describes her life – but I beg to differ… Grace, like beauty, is in the eyes of the beholder.

– Krismom has a wonderful blog that has been mainly about her life as a Mother, and a wonderful Mom she is!  You don’t need to look farther than her main page to know that her family is the center of her universe… That is why I have a TONNE of respect for her that she maintains such a close-knit family in spite of her chronic pain.  She has taken a big step on her site and introduced herself, Underneath it all.  I laughed out loud as I read about others judgments on being a stay-at-home Mom.  ‘You are so lucky’ people say, but if they only knew… I can SO completely relate to this in my life, she could be telling my story, and the story of SO many Chronic Pain Survivors who have small children.  You will be a few sentences in and you will realize that she is SO much more than what she appears on the outside, and I think that is something we ALL can relate to!  I am SO happy she is part of our circle!

– Now if you haven’t gotten up and stretched yet.. please do so now… LOL!  Are you enjoying the blog carnival so far?  Have you found personal experiences that resemble your own?  Have you found inspiration in the these amazing posts?  I am SURE you have… I cannot begin to tell you how in awe I am of all of you….  Take a break, go get yourself an iced tea… grab the heating pad for your tushie…  make sure to stretch a little… and keep reading!!

– Have you been following the Fibromama blog?  If you haven’t then you this is one to definitely include in your blogroll!  Her introduction starts with such honesty, and in a place where I think we all have been… in bed… hair a mess…  in agony…  She is right, you cannot get much more raw.. and how many of us have been there?  She is one awe-inspiring gal, from graduating Summa Cum Laude to raising her children and being a wonderful wife – she is so much more than the Fibromyalgia that she struggles with… She might not think she has the gold star for being the ‘best’ any longer, but I think some of you will very much disagree… This Fibromama balances so much in her life and her words motivate me to keep doing the same… She definitely gets a gold star from me!!

– Michelle is an amazing Mom of a teenaged son who struggles with Chronic Pain.  I have had the pleasure of getting to know her this past little while, and I invited her to take part in this blog carnival.  She doesn’t yet have a blog, but her voice is JUST as important as ours… and this is her introduction:

Hi my name is Michelle, I am 45 years old. I am my son ‘s only parent living. My son, Josh will be 16 years old in a couple of months. Since he was 9 years old, I watched my son slowly grow in to dark spot of his life and every now and then I will see a smile. Since age of 9 he had three spinal surgeries to help with a tethered spinal cord. Nothing helped but all symptoms were worse including pain that is severe causing him to have to be sick to his stomach. Needless to say 6 1/2 years later, one very tired , heart hurting mother found this wonderful group of people who understands. I may never know what and how I found it. I was sad and needed someone to understand and not leave me. Over the last few years I found out who were my true friends the hard way. I do not have many. I hope to have found a few with this group. Who knew that it takes people to have to be in pain to be my friend..That is a very sad truth. Another reason my heart hurts..As you can tell I do have chronic heart pain and it will probably not go away.

* Please feel free to leave comments for Michelle on my blog, or she can be found as part of our Graceful Agony Facebook group.

Infinite Daze is a new blog to me, and I’m excited that we have a new online friend in this community!  I must say the quote on the main page is priceless… “Life is never quite like the brochure” – ain’t THAT the truth!!  As the writer struggles to find a proper diagnosis, and is housebound 80% of the time, maintaining a blog is something to be proud of!  And I think I speak from our whole group when I say that many of us have been where you are, and you are definitely not alone.  We have a facebook group, and so many WONDERFUL friends here… We look forward to getting to know you!

– Laurie’s blog is beautiful!  She has an amazing way with words, and she is also someone I consider to be a dear friend.  Although we lost touch for a little while (life happens), I am so glad that she wanted to be a part of this carnival!  If she only knew how much she means to me… her words have kept me going on a few really rough days.  But enough of that ;).  Her post – Feel Good, Eat Cake made a big change in me… I found it to be really profound in my life, and I think that you may feel the same way.  A life of illness and pain isn’t fun.. we all know that – but with it comes anger, depression, frustration etc. and often a change of perception.  Things that we normally didn’t react to – we do now, and sometimes our reactions can actually hurt us… I think because we can potentially swing from one extreme to another.  How about moderation? Laurie asks… Whether it be taking vitamins, eating cake, or even just MOVING some days… Mental and Physical health stems from internal balance… something this gal has, and I love her for it!!

So with that, If I can steal the last words on Laurie’s blog post… We are all in this together… And I must say that I am SO happy that we are.  I love all of you, and I am so honored to call you my ‘family’.  It has been a JOY to host the first round of the Graceful Agony Blog Carnival, and I am SO excited to see where this journey may take us.

I will let you all know when the next round will be as soon as I can, and I hope you will want to take part in it again!! ALSO PLEASE NOTE THAT WE ARE PREPARING A GRACEFUL AGONY CARNIVAL BADGE THAT WILL BE POSTED SOON! I hope that you will post this badge with pride!!

*If I somehow have forgotten to include your post, or you didn’t get it in to me on time PLEASE let me know and I will include it here… Accept my sincerest apologies in advance… I haven’t been so well as of late, and I am doing the best I can 😉

Oh and I forgot about ME… I was going to write a post to include in this carnival, but as some of you know I have been going through a bit of a rough patch the past few weeks.  My pain has been through the roof and uncontrolled for a few weeks now and my Nanny is in the final stages of her life and will be heaven bound soon… I pray she finds peace, and my Pappy waiting for her with a cuppa tea and his arms wide open.  Losing someone is never easy, but it is a time that we can reflect on our own lives…  The footprint we leave in others lives and on this earth – and how fragile life can be along with how our strength and courage can leave a legacy for others… Instead of my ‘introduction’ today I am asking you all to reflect on YOUR footprint in this life…

My life is an open book, and you are welcome to read through the archives to learn a little more about me.  I have many posts that I could probably include here – but Graceful Agony isn’t only about me… It is about ALL of you, and that is who I choose to honor today.

Thank you for being a part of my life…. I hope this is only the beginning….

**If you are reading this anywhere other than www.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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2010 Canadian Weblog Awards



I am extremely honored, and VERY excited to announce that Graceful Agony has been nominated in THREE categories of The Canadian Weblog Awards for 2010!!  HOORAY!!!

The Canadian Weblog Awards is a juried competition that showcases and recognizes excellence in Canadian Blogs, and the art of ‘blogging’.  There are several categories, and come January 1st, 2011 – 3 winners will be announced for each category!!

Graceful Agony has been nominated in the following categories:

  • Best New Weblog

  • Health/Wellness

  • Life

*You can clink of the 2010 Canadian Weblog Award Nominee Buttons in my side-bar for more information.

I  have to say that on a very painful and lonely day back in January I decided to start Graceful Agony, and made my first post… I had absolutely no idea how many people would read this online journal IF ANY… I figured that the best thing I could do for myself at the time was find a way to express so many feelings that I had held inside for a very long time… I knew that there HAD to be people out there who suffered the way I do…   I thought that if I could build a forum, be truthful about myself and my experiences, and find others who could identify with my less-than ordinary life than this journey wouldn’t be in vain…. and I had absolutely NO idea the impact of what I was doing…

I have had thousands upon thousands of hits on this blog since that first day – I have received hundreds of private letters and comments with messages of inspiration, struggle, strength, and determination.  I have been able to create an online forum of support and of friendship…. And I hope above all I have, and will continue to spread light and awareness about living with Chronic Illness and Chronic Pain.

But the true impact of all of this has been that this blog has changed my life…

YOU, my readers, have changed my life, uplifted my spirit, and have shown me that my capacity of love and friendship is far greater than I ever thought…

You have been my lifeline, my laughter, and ultimately the reason I have been able to find hope again in this crazy life.

And I want to thank you from the very core of my heart.

I hope to make all of you proud, and commit to living my life openly, honestly, and gracefully – on and off this blog – but you know what they say… It is an honor just to be nominated…

Those words are trite, and often used, but it is true…

I hope you all stick with me, and keep being a part of my journey…. I couldn’t do it without all of you.

**If you are reading this anywhere other than www.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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In a few short hours I will be saying goodbye to my 35th year on this earth and saying hello to the big 3-6… thirty-six… I guess it is time for me to grow up for real this year ( 😉 Isn’t this what we say to ourselves EVERY YEAR?!?).

I don’t know if you all know this about me yet, but I am a tad bit sentimental… okay so I am a LOT sentimental.. I admit it.. I still have clothes from grade 9.. still have ticket stubs from my first Bon Jovi concert in ’89… I even have paper napkins from some restaurant that meant something to me at one time or another.. but for the life of me I cannot remember what now.  I am sentimental – and I am okay with that… So the day or two leading up to every birthday I start to reflect on the year, and how far I have come, how many steps back I have taken, the people who have touched my life, left my life, changed my life…  I stop to feel blessed that I have another year ahead of me, AND another year that has passed…

In many ways this past year has been more eventful, more challenging, and more fulfilling that any I have had so far.  I have lost people in my life.. found others… and tried to leave my ‘heartprint’ each and every day…

I have created a beautiful home with the love of my life and found a stability that I never knew existed…

I have seen my little dude absolutely flourish and become one of the coolest people I know, regardless of his age…

I saw my Dad ‘pass’ his cancer check again, and the magnitude of the miracle that has happened in his life, and subsequently in ours…  YAY DAD!!!

I shook my head with shock and dismay when I found out I lost someone I loved dearly to cancer… and realized just how precarious and vulnerable our lives can be…

I saw some friends walk out of my life.. reconnected with old friends, and made completely new and wonderful friends…

I got off one medication…

and got put on six more…

I began to ‘deal’ with the pain I’ve been feeling  for years…

and then I started to develop ‘new’ pain in different areas…

I started to accept that I won’t have another child grow inside my body…

I cried with the love of my life… and he loves me more now because of my tears…

And together we adopted the cutest puppy in the entire world… and yes I am completely biased!!

I started Graceful Agony…

and I have met some amazing people who have become my second family and my life-long friends… You know who you are, and I love all of you!!

I was published for the first time…

I found my passion in writing again…

I got to love fiercely, and be loved fiercely…

I woke up in pain every single day…

I went to bed in pain every single night…

and through it all something really tangible happened….

I found purpose, and hope… love and friendship…. acceptance and a fighting spirit…

I found my voice… and began to love ME for the first time in my life.

I will be sad to see 35 go… it has been one hell of a ride


I am SO looking forward to see where this journey takes me through my 36th year….

and I am looking forward to sharing my journey with all of you.

Thank you for making the past year one of the best ever… it wouldn’t have been the same without you.

**If you are reading this anywhere other than www.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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What do you say to the most influential man who will ever be a part of your life?

The man that has held you at your very worst…
Celebrated your very best…
And has loved you through it all…

How do you thank the person who has sacrificed everything so that you will have what you need….
Fought for your rights…
Mended broken hearts…
And made you smile when the world has crumbled around you?

How do you put into words exactly how it feels to know you are that loved…
That his very presence has saved you from yourself a million times…
And his belief in you kept you going when you had lost everything else…

How do you show appreciation to a man who would give anything to see you well…
Who has been to all the appointments…
Sat through all the procedures…
Listened to all your frustrations…
And wiped all your tears away…
All the while feeling helpless, yet still giving you the strength and courage to wake up and do it all over again tomorrow…

How do you tell him what’s in your heart, when sometimes there are just no words to describe the importance that he has, and the place that he holds in your life?

Thank you Dad for always being my rock
for holding on tight
and for letting me go…

For loving me always
for accepting me as I am,
for helping me find my courage,
And for supporting my dreams…

Thank you for being my friend, my supporter, my agent ;), my driver, my therapist, my protector, my laughter, my strength, my cheering squad, and my tour guide through this life…

But most of all…

Thank you for being the BEST Dad a girl could ever have….

I love you.

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