Behind the Lens

Why I do what I do:


Sugar Beach, Maui, C. KS Dueck
Sugar Beach, Maui, taken by Far From Fundie

Behind the lens

or holding a pen,

my pain disappears,

it seems to end.


The focus required

for both to take flight

robs my illness of power

it seems to take flight.


Such creative endeavors

I forget I’m not

the girl without illness

the girl who’s fraught.


A sick chick no more

as I walk through that door

‘cuz a creative i.d.

has a hold of me.

*Research has shown healthy distractions such as hobbies help those with chronic pain and other chronic illnesses.

The Diet Merry Go Round

Merry go round at Buchart Gardens, Victoria, BC
Merry go round at Buchart Gardens, Victoria, BC

Try this diet, no that diet, no this other diet.

Low-carb, no-carb, specific carb. High fiber, insoluble fiber, soluble fiber.

If I had a nickel for every “diet-as-a-cure” I’ve been told about, or heard about, or read about, I’d be in a different income tax bracket.

It seems like everyone has an opinion on what foods are “helpful”, and “harmful” for whatever chronic illness ails you.  From websites to books to friends and professionals, I’ve been offered the following “diets.”

Because I have Irritable Bowel Syndrome, as well as fibromyalgia, a well meaning friend put me in touch with a friend of hers who had conquered her Crohn’s Disease issues by being on the Specific Carbohydrate diet.

After I spoke with this individual,  I suspected that it would be very difficult (i.e. restrictive) and expensive to be on it.   Another friend with digestive issues who tried this diet for 6 months [with little change in symptoms] confirmed my suspicions.

The Elimination Diet – I was instructed by a naturopath to give up gluten and dairy for three weeks, after which I could re-introduce them, but supplement with digestive enzymes.   Other than the negative effects of being extremely hungry and bitchy for the entire three weeks, it did nothing.  Not even weight loss!

The Anti-Inflammatory Diet was suggested to me by a fitness professional recently. While some recommendations may help fibromyalgia, certain foods on it, in quantities as recommended, could trigger an IBS attack for me.

And so it goes – a diet that may help one chronic illness could trigger a flare in another.

And, as someone who struggles with “disordered eating”, a dialogue about diets for whatever reason is probably not the healthiest for me.

Easy to say, hard to do? You bet. *written for a “Patients for a Moment blog carnival in 2011 where the theme was “easy to say, hard to do.”

A Few of My Favorite Things

As a chronic babe I define passion as:  A healthy “insanity” – being engaged in the lives of others and in pursuits, hobbies and interests that I love enough to risk a flare up in my symptoms to participate in.

Here are a few of my “loves”:

  • Emotional wholeness – growth, self – development, healing the scars of the past, grieving all of this takes work, a lot of work, and sometimes causes a flare in my symptoms. I long to come through the other side of it a better, healthier person for myself and for those around me and to have the best relationship possible with the love of my life – my husband.
  • Good food, authentic friendship, and fun:  My husband and I have been part of a group for about two years.  We meet weekly in each others’ homes and “eat, pray and love” together. Food is brought by everyone true potluck style.  There is a genuine community there, and real friendship. As a group, we care, share, listen and pray.  This night, I often don’t get home until past my bedtime.  I’ve recently figured out just how much not enough sleep causes a flare in my symptoms, but being part of this group is worth a few missed zzzz’s.   We are extremely close with one of the couples that we met through that group.
  • Bringing beauty to my world (and capturing it to share with others) –  In our yard we have nine flowerbeds.  We have tried to make them as easy-care as possible. We have planted many perennials as they pretty much look after themselves.  The beds still require some weed and water care.  I sometimes wonder what were we thinking. But then I see these and it makes it all worthwhile.  [All of these photos were taken in our gardens.] Gardens are a balm to my soul.







  • Create a clean and de-cluttered space – “chaos without, chaos within”.  Clutter distracts and dirt disturbs. As much as this is important to me,  I had to learn to give myself permission to let lots go to watch the flare-ups.
  • As a babe with noise sensitivity, I crave peace and quiet. The outside world often feels like an assault; in my home I keep noise levels low, mute the TV during commercials, rarely play music [and a request to my fellow bloggers:  if you have music on your blog, please provide a ‘mute’ button for us sensitive folks to click on to shut off.]
  • Writing and Photography– The hobbies I love, that don’t love me back, or pay the mortgage. But I gotta do it. It’s challenging, cathartic and creative.  On top of the pain and stiffness of fibromyalgia from sitting at the computer, I’ve now got tendinitis issues in my arms and am in physiotherapy for the same. It’d be a little better if I actually made some money from it.

With all of these things, I do wonder if I am I my own worst enemy or what?  When that thought hits, I turn to my Flare Reducer, Laughter – Jokes, silly de-motivator posters, the Big Bang Theory, all make me laugh.  I love to laugh, have a great sense of humor, and it is a great stress release and flare reducer.  It really is the best medicine.