The Unexpected Gift of Community While Living With Chronic Illness

The unexpected gift of community while living with chronic illness

It would be an unequivocal understatement to say that the month of January has been a momentous one for me in my health journey. It was during the second week of January some 17 years ago, when I got into the bike-car accident that resulted in muscle tears, bone bruises and a vicious cycle of chronic pain, insomnia and stress that eventually triggered the full-blown manifestation of autoimmune, … [Read more...]

This Hunchbacked Honey of Fairfield County Hasn’t Got Time for the Pain

How It Really Feels

First, the good news: I was able to successfully get out of bed this morning! You may be wondering why I would bother to make a big deal out of this. Don’t the vast majority of humans roll out of bed every morning without a second thought? Well, on top of the pain and stiffness that often comes with dystonia, lupus and fibromyalgia upon waking, I should probably also tell you that after a marathon … [Read more...]

How We Pick Ourselves Up After We Fall

Fallen or Side Bow Pose

Even when it can seem like the vast majority of my dystonia symptoms are in a strong remission, there is no guarantee that that they will stay that way. Just because I am able to do a two-hour intermediate yoga practice one day does not mean I will be at all steady on my feet the next day—or even later that night. While this reality can be disappointing for friends and family who are counting on … [Read more...]

Donning Purple to Draw Awareness to Lupus

Put On Purple for Lupus Awareness

Like a lion hiding in the underbrush before it pounces on its spied prey, the symptoms and severity of lupus and other auotimmune diseases can sneak up you when you are least prepared for it. One day you may be feeling like your old self before the disease took root, super strong, active and as healthy as the next person. The next day you may literally collapse, a rash spreading across your skin, … [Read more...]

Former Ballerina Battles For Grace in Face of Complex Chronic Pain Syndrome

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome

Cynthia Toussaint was a promising, 21-year-old ballerina when she was struck by a seemingly simple hamstring injury that ultimately led to a lifetime of widespread pain. After being a performer for so many years, Toussaint was accustomed to the bright lights and action of the stage. Now she would have to learn to manage the burning heat and immobility of chronic pain. “I had just had gotten a … [Read more...]

Weightlifter With Dystonia Inspires People With Disabilities to Keep Following Their Dreams

Weightlifter James Sutliff

For many folks living with the debilitating neurological condition dystonia, getting physically active and staying fit can seem like a near impossible dream. Repetitive, involuntary muscle contractions can cause the body to twist or take on abnormal postures, leaving muscles tight, strained and sore. Understandably, some fear exercise might make this condition worse—yet on the yoga mat, I not only … [Read more...]

Impromptu Poetry: Threading the Needle

Thread the Needle Pose

"Threading The Needle" by Renée Canada I thread the needle Through tight angles And strained filaments. I look out and through the space That grows and slows with breath And settles from stillness to peace. The battle to control the resistance Overcome by love and acceptance Of my limitations and imperfections. … [Read more...]

Rediscovering and Rooting Myself In Nature

garden flowers

It appears that autumn is finally starting to creep into Connecticut. It’s back to pajama pants, socks and the comforter on the cooler nights, and I bundle in my lightweight hoodie and bedroom slippers to comfortably get through the chilly mornings. Days give way to sunny, yet mild temperatures. And as someone with heat and sun sensitivity, I embrace these days because it means that I can enjoy … [Read more...]

Heeding the Call to Teach the Healing of Yoga

Certified Sports Yoga Instructor

I still remember the day I sat in my then-rheumatologist’s office more than a decade ago, fatigued and broken, seeking yet another treatment, desperate for solutions. Seemingly helpless in the fight against insomnia, suffering from daily migraines, brain fog and digestion problems and saddled with excruciating pain, numbness and pins-and-needles sensation of misbehaving nerves, I was so physically … [Read more...]

Help draw more attention and awareness to the movement disorder dystonia

Dystonia Awareness

Imagine what it would be like to be the middle of talking and discover you can’t shut your mouth for 10 minutes as your jaw muscles fight every effort to close it.  Picture yourself standing in the shower when all the muscles in your lower body either suddenly weaken—or your limbs start jerking around like a puppet on a string—causing enough imbalance for you to collapse on your face in the wet … [Read more...]