Explaining Chronic Illness to Children

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Getting diagnosed with fibromyalgia and other chronic conditions can make your regular daily activities of living very difficult. It can be extra difficult explaining these limitations our loved ones, and even more difficult to explain fibromyalgia to a child. Our kids are going to want to know, “What’s wrong with Mommy?” and “Why can’t daddy play catch with me?”

Well, the good news is, you’re not alone. There are lots of parents going through this exact thing, and there are lots of resources out there for parents with chronic illnesses like fibromyalgia. We took a look at books that explain a parent’s chronic illness to children. Some of the books are specifically for people with chronic conditions like fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue, while others are for more general illnesses.

Whichever you choose, your kids are sure to enjoy reading them, and they may help you explain to them what’s going on with you, and how they can help. And that’s a good thing.

1. Why Does Mommy Hurt? by Elizabeth M. Christy



Why Does Mommy Hurt? is narrated by a little boy who is learning to understand and cope with his mom’s chronic illness. Neurologist Dr. Kent Smalley says, “This book helps open up communication about some of the most common problems for those with a chronically ill parent-child relationship, including fatigue, forgetfulness, and frustration.” Also, portions of the proceeds are donated to the National Fibromyalgia and Chronic Pain Association (NFMCPA).

2. Ravyn’s Doll by Melissa Swanson



Melissa Swanson says she wrote Ravyn’s Doll after being diagnosed when her daughter was 9 years old. “I found myself always apologizing and explaining why I could not do things that I used to do. I work in a school district with elementary and middle school children. The kiddo’s (sic) have asked why I sometimes wear dark sunglasses, wear a tens unit, use ice packs/heating pads or move very slow and wince in pain. I find myself explaining not only to the students but to adults that I encounter.”

3. How Many Marbles do you Have? by Melinda Malott



How Many Marbles do you Have? by Melinda Malott is another great book for explaining fibromyalgia to a child. She says, about writing the book, “I have a bachelor’s degree in nursing and a Master’s degree in community health education, but my formal education did not prepare me to explain something as complex as CFS and fibromyalgia to young children. I decided rather than try to explain something I couldn’t understand that it was best to try to help my children understand my limitations.”

4. Mommy Has to Stay in Bed by Annette Rivlin-Gutman



Mommy Has To Stay In Bed is not specifically about fibromyalgia, but it can still be useful for explaining the limitations of a chronic illness to a child. The author, Annette Rivlin-Gutman was placed on bed rest during her 2nd pregnancy and was struggling to explain that to her 18 month-old daughter. So she wrote this book, because, “While on bed rest, […] she explained what was taking place to her daughter, but also recognized that it would have been helpful to have a related, illustrated and easy-to-understand children’s book.”

5. What Does Super Jonny Do When Mom Gets Sick? by Simone Colwill



Another book that is not specifically about fibromyalgia, but is nonetheless good for explaining illness and hospitals to children. Simone Colwill wrote What Does Super Jonny Do When Mom Gets Sick? when she developed Chrone’s Disease and started spending lots of time in the hospital. If you find yourself visiting the hospital often, this book could be for you.

6. Mommy Can’t Dance by Katie Carone



As anyone with a chronic illness like fibro will tell you, one of the toughest things to deal with is not being able to do things that you really used to enjoy doing. As Conscious Crafties writes, “It can be sad and confusing for both kids and moms when a mother is hurt or sick and can’t do all the things she used to. This simple and sweet book helps children understand limitations. It shares ideas on how kids can help, as well as activities a mom and child can still do together.”


The preceding article is from RedOrbit.com and posted here for sharing purposes only. For additional info, please visit their website.
Re-post from October 2017


Fibromyalgia & Strained Relationships

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Those of us that deal with chronic pain deal with a constant reminder of our limitations. The realities of life with pain are far more complicated than most people realize. Sometimes those realities bring about actions that are not fair to others. A short temper, frustration with self or others, or depression are all ways that pain strains relationships. The only thing worse than dealing with chronic pain is doing so alone because you have pushed away your support system.

Lately, myself and others have noticed that I can be short tempered and jerky when I start hurting. I usually don’t notice that I am doing it until my wife gets mad and yells at me or storms out of the room. However, after it was brought to my attention by my wife and my family, I began to take notice of when I do it, what I say, and how it is perceived. Unfortunately, it had gotten so bad that I began to feel like a “jerk-hole” all of the time, and I am constantly reminded the pain strains relationships. The reality is that I take on too much responsibility and do not allow others to help me. The result is pain, and pain leads to treating my loved ones like crap. This is still something that I struggle with daily, but I have gotten much better at working on it. The root of the problem is my own guilt and ego. I tend to become attached to an idealized view of situations in my head. For example, if I work from home, then I SHOULD cook for my wife who had to go to the office that day. If I know how to perform a task more efficiently than another person, then I SHOULD be the one to do it. I SHOULD be able to keep the house clean. I SHOULD be able to do the grocery shopping. The problem is the SHOULD. Should represents an idealized view of the world that may not be based in reality. One thing that has helped me to give myself a break is addressing each idea with a dose of reality. “If I were not in so much pain, then I should be able to (fill in the blank), but since I am in pain, I should allow someone to help me.” I need to be ok with asking for help because my relationships are more important than my pride, ego, or predetermined ideas of what I SHOULD be able to do.

This idea leads me to the next issue: I hold myself to a higher standard than I am capable of.  Attention to detail, drive, and self-motivation are revered in our culture. These are considered desirable qualities, and they can be. However, when I place a higher level of ability on myself than I am capable of, then I am setting myself up for failure. It is “SHOULD” coming back to mess with me. Because I hold myself to this high standard, it is easy for me to become frustrated when I cannot perform at the level that I think I SHOULD be able to. This leads to me getting angry at myself and snapping at my loved ones, and I again see how pain strains relationships. Even though my frustration is rooted in my own inadequacy, my family is not able to differentiate the underlying motivations or frustrations that drive my actions. They simply see themselves as the target of my impatience. The answer to this is to make a realistic assessment of my capabilities and to give myself some grace. It is ok not to be superman or superwoman. It is ok to be realistic and honest with yourself. It is ok if you are not able to perform at the level that I used to before pain. Once I establish the parameters of my ability, then I need to limit myself and take care of myself. My family would rather have a dirty kitchen or help make dinner than be snapped at. If you have gotten into the habit of pushing yourself too hard so that your family can live a more comfortable life, then perhaps it is time for you to talk to them about the realities of your existence with chronic pain. Again, the answer is to give yourself a break. You will not help anyone by pushing yourself to the point of frustration. Giving yourself grace will help to maintain a healthy environment in your home, and avoid seeing first-hand how pain strains relationships.

Another way that chronic pain strains relationships is depression. It is easy to become discouraged and hopeless in the fight against chronic pain. Did you see what I said there? I said, “the fight against chronic pain” because that is what it is, and what it has to be. Depression is giving up and giving in to the pain. I know it is easy to get upset and think that it is easier said than done. Trust me, I have been there. It is like being at the bottom of a deep dark hole. Looking up is discouraging. Having someone tell you to suck it up and fight is infuriating because they do not understand your reality. In some sense, you would be correct. No one fully knows the reality of your pain, since pain is a subjective experience for each individual. However, as someone who has been there, I can tell you that it is possible to climb out of that hole. It is possible to change your mindset and build a stronger one. The hashtag that I have used on social media is #FightOrDie. That is the mindset that it takes to get out of that hole. Having said that, I will restate what I said above. You have to know your limitations and give yourself a break. The reality of depression is that it is just as unfair to those around you as biting their head off when they have done nothing wrong. But, more importantly, it is not fair to you to live that hollow existence. It is not fair to yourself to waste away and miss your life. If you want to take your life back, then you have to fight.

The end result of all of this is that you have to know yourself. You have to be real and clear about your limitations. You have to give yourself grace. You have to be ok with adjusting your view of yourself to make it match reality. As G.I. Joe cartoons told us in the 80s, knowing is half the battle, but knowing your limitations is not enough. You have to act on them by asking for help, resting, and taking care of yourself. Give yourself a break and stop buying into the “SHOULD” garbage. Be true to your reality, and you will find yourself in fewer situations where you witness how pain strains relationships.


The preceding article is from FibromyalgiaTreating.com and is posted here for sharing purposes only. No copyright infringement is intended.


“Not Too Far Gone” by Danyelle Scroggins


Not Too Far Gone

by Danyelle Scroggins

Genre: Spirituality & Inspirational/Relationships/Family

FREE at time of posting!

Not Too Far Gone is about Jacqueline Vance, a high school teacher at Yorkwood High. Jacqueline is excited about her students and the new home her husband Raphiel has just built her. Nevertheless she’s learning quickly that a house is not a home when your husband leaves you there alone and she’s finding out her students have just as many problems as she does. Just as with anything else that has happened in her life, she understands that life circumstances are NOT TOO FAR GONE, for a God who is able to do exceedingly and abundantly above all she could ask or think….but according to the power that works in her.
The question is…..Can this power sustain her when she finds out who her husband really is?
Yolanda, Jacqueline’s co-worker and friend, has been caught in a web she’s created not by herself but with the help of the one she calls her Mr. Do Her Right. Now she has to face her own demons, and pray that she’s NOT TOO FAR GONE to receive the change she stands in need of…
Not Too Far Gone is a book that causes us to understand that no matter how bad our situations are or how immoral our behavior becomes, we are certainly Not Too Far Gone for God to change our life and our circumstances.

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“Mother: A Cradle to Hold Me” by Maya Angelou


Mother: A Cradle to Hold Me

by Maya Angelou

Genre: Poetry/Family/Women Authors

Grab the Hardcover! Just in time for Mother’s Day!

With her signature eloquence and heartfelt appreciation, renowned poet and national treasure Maya Angelou celebrates the first woman we ever knew: Mother. “You were always the heart of happiness to me,” she acknowledges in this loving tribute, “Bringing nougats of glee / Sweets of open laughter.”

From the beginnings of this profound relationship through teenage rebellion and, finally, to adulthood, where we stand to inherit timeless maternal wisdom, Angelou praises the patience, knowledge, and compassion of this remarkable parent.

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“I’ve Loved You Since Forever” by Hoda Kotb


I’ve Loved You Since Forever

by Hoda Kotb, Suzie Mason (Illustrator)

Genre: Children’s Books/Facts of Life/Adoption/Animals


I’ve Loved You Since Forever is a celebratory and poetic testament to the timeless love felt between parent and child. This beautiful picture book is inspired by New York Times bestselling author and Today show co-anchor Hoda Kotb’s heartwarming adoption of her baby girl, Haley Joy.

With Kotb’s lyrical text and stunning pictures by Suzie Mason, young ones and parents will want to snuggle up and read the pages of this book together, over and over again.

In the universe,

there was you and

there was me,

waiting for the day our

stars would meet. . .

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Meet Sarah Marie Graye, author of “The Second Cup” #Spotlight

Learn about author Sarah Marie Graye today as she takes time out from writing to discuss her debut novel, The Second Cup. Remember to scroll to the end and enter Sarah’s international giveaway. Three winners will each receive a signed copy of The Second Cup.


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FD: Where are you from?

SMG: I’m originally from Manchester (in the United Kingdom). I’m a typical Mancunian in that I can’t hear anything negative about my hometown, although I’m not sure I could live in a big city again. I lived in London for a while, but it wasn’t for me. [SMG shudders] I currently live in Whitstable on the north Kent coast – and one of my local bars is called ‘Novelist’ so it’s fate! I recommend a daily dose of sea air to anyone thinking of moving to the coast.


FD: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

SMG: I’m a natural daydreamer and spend many hours living in the world inside my head. I’ve always enjoyed reading and found myself writing the next theoretical chapter of a book in my head once I’d finished reading something.

I loathed school, but found English the most tolerable subject! [SMG rolls her eyes] I studied English Literature at A Level and enjoyed the range and depth of books we read. I also studied Performing Arts and went on to do a degree in Scriptwriting at Bournemouth University before working as a journalist. A few years ago I completed an MA Creative Writing, which supported me in writing my debut novel.


FD: What inspired you to write your first book?

SMG: The final-year project on my degree at Bournemouth was a feature-length script. The feedback I got was that my writing was a too descriptive for a script – and also wasted on it because the audience didn’t get to read it, and that I should consider writing a novel. The thought stayed with me for over a decade before I got round to doing anything about it! I’m a typical “Turtle Writer” (a group of writers who write slowly, who support each other on Twitter).


FD: Who designed the cover?

SMG: Cover Mint (www.covermint.design). It was one of five covers sent over as ideas from my publisher Creativia. I fell in love with the one I chose instantly. Turns out it was their favourite too! I especially love the font – it has given my novel a very strong look. When my first order of paperbacks turned up I found myself hugging them – it’s when it really hit home that I was a published novelist.


FD: What genres do you enjoy reading and what are you reading now?

SMG: I love psychological fiction that gets inside the head of the main characters. I prefer slower paced books, so I don’t read too much psychological crime/thriller fiction. I’m currently reading The White Lie by Andrea Gillies – I’m actually re-reading it, which is cheating a little, I guess [SMG grins]. Before that I read The Memory Keeper’s Daughter by Kim Edwards and I’ve got How to Stop Time by Matt Haig and The Summer of Impossible Things by Rowan Coleman next on my to-read list.


FD: How do you relax and have fun?

SMG: I love going for long walks. Well, I’m more of a meanderer – no real speed. I’ve learned the coastal bus routes in Whitstable and Herne Bay so I can get myself back home if I walk too far and tire myself out. I also enjoy binge-watching TV series on Netflix – recent recommendations are The Code and The Sinner. And reading, of course! I obviously love reading! [SMG laughs] I’m also a bit of a sleep addict; I try to get 10 hours every night. Sleep is so important for health and general wellbeing and needs no fitness levels in order to be achieved.


FD: What’s one thing from your bucket list you’d like to experience or accomplish?

SMG: To spend a year or two living on one of the Canary Islands and writing a book in the sun. It’s difficult to get work out there, so it’s very much a wistful idea at the moment. I have a plotline for a novel where tragedy strikes on holiday, so it would be the perfect excuse. If I ever win the lottery I’ll head out there and have a lovely long writing holiday!


FD: What are your current projects?

SMG: I’m working on my second novel, with the working title of The Victoria Lie. I’m just over 10,000 words into the first draft, so it’s not much beyond the embryonic stage at the moment. Unlike The Second Cup, which is mostly set in my hometown of Manchester (plus London, Berkhamsted and Blackpool), The Victoria Lie is set in London and Whitstable.


FD: Can you share a little of your current work with us?

SMG: I write in first-person multi-narration, so different characters tell different chapters. The section below comes from the first draft of Ruby’s first chapter. She lives in Whitstable and is visiting London – so she sees it through the eyes of an outsider. A homeless person has just recited a poem on the tube as a way to beg for money. Ruby notices the way most people on the tube don’t even see them.

She finishes her poem and stands briefly at the end of the carriage that was temporarily her stage before walking slowly between the two rows of seats, ignored by most, acknowledged with a nod by a skinny girl who looks like she could do with a decent meal herself – the nod says “I would like to help but I can’t, but I see you as a fellow human”. The nod is important.

Nobody else puts their hands in their pockets or their purses. I know rhyming couplets aren’t clever, and maybe it’s the hundredth time that everyone else in this carriage has heard the poem, but I want to reward this homeless woman for attempting to connect with a carriage full of people who mostly want to pretend she isn’t there.

I have no idea what an acceptable amount to give a homeless person in London is, so I guess at £2. I fish the coins out of my purse and hand them over. I can tell from the slight flex of muscles on her face – a hint of surprise – that I’ve been generous. Even though people earn more in London, it doesn’t seem to matter; people are protective of their own pennies. 



FD: Where can readers find you online?

Website: https://sarahmariegraye.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SarahMarieGraye

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sarahmariegraye/

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.co.uk/sarahmariegraye/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sarahmariegraye/

You’re most likely to find me on Twitter!


FD: Many thanks for visiting with us today, Sarah Marie. Continued success to you!

SMG: Thank you! Lovely to meet you and talk to you about about my writing. Hopefully we’ll get the chance to catch up again once I’ve finished The Victoria Lie.


Would your life unravel if someone you knew committed suicide? Theirs did.

Faye’s heart still belongs to her first love, Jack. She knows he might have moved on, but when she decides to track him down, nothing prepares her for the news that he’s taken his own life.

With the fragility of life staring them in the face, Abbie finds herself questioning her marriage, and Faye her friendship with Ethan. And poor Olivia is questioning everything – including why Jack’s death has hit Beth the hardest. Is she about to take her own life too?

Universal Purchase Linkhttps://mybook.to/SecondCup




Author Bio:

Sarah Marie Graye was born in Manchester, United Kingdom, in 1975, to English Catholic parents. One of five daughters, to the outside world Sarah Marie’s childhood followed a relatively typical Manchester upbringing… until aged 9, when she was diagnosed with depression.

It’s a diagnosis that has stayed with Sarah Marie over three decades, and something she believes has coloured every life decision.

Now in her early 40s, and with an MA Creative Writing from London South Bank University (where she was the vice-chancellor’s scholarship holder), Sarah Marie has published her debut novel – about family, friendships and mental health.


~ Giveaway~

Win 3 x Signed copies of The Second Cup by Sarah Marie Graye (Open Internationally)




#Review “The Season for Love” by M.W. Arnold

Season for Love cover

“The Season for Love”

M.W. Arnold (Author)

Genre: Holiday/Romance/Family

Release Date: December 16, 2017

4/5 Stars!

Several themes run through this intrinsically British read… all of them emotional.

Chrissie Stewart has been mourning the loss of her husband, Richard (Richie), longer than they were together. She writes to him several times during the day and visits his grave to talk to him daily. Chrissie has pushed away family, friends, and LIFE, managing to only work, and talk to Richie.

Josh Morgan and his daughter, ten-year-old Lizzie, lost their wife and mother when Lizzie was an infant. Though he still misses his wife, Josh is no longer steeped in mourning like Chrissie but is instead on a journey for his daughter which will ultimately involve Chrissie.

Anne is Chrissie’s boss AND best friend who’s been the primary source of moral support for Chrissie since Richie’s death. Anne gets my vote for Friend of the Year! She’s simply amazing, always there for Chrissie and dealing with her different moods (all of which are depressing). This has come at no small price to Anne, who’s dealing with a serious medical crisis unknown to Chrissie. Which leads us to Oscar—Anne’s hubby. He’s sympathetic to Chrissie’s plight, but his resentment toward her grows when she doesn’t even realize Anne isn’t well. (And I’m right there with him!)

Debs (Deborah) is Chrissie’s younger, sister. Chrissie has been the “parent” to Debs since their elderly parents died so close together… at least until Richie dies too.

However, if I had to pick one theme, I’d choose relationships.

As the central character, we see how everyone relates to Chrissie. But, the author does an excellent job showing the dynamics of other relationships in the story, i.e. father/daughter, husband/wife, friends.

Chrissie Stewart’s grief is compounded by the fact she lost more than Richie in the accident and she carries much guilt over it. That being said, she worked my nerves.

Loss is hard, grief is heavy, and we all mourn differently, but any empathy I had for Chrissie ran out the front door when it’s revealed Anne has been sick for OVER A YEAR and Chrissie has not noticed!


They are the only two people in their office five days a week. They are BEST friends. Earth to Chrissie! Someone (Debs) should have delivered an open-hand slap in the face ala Cher in Moonstruck and demand Chrissie “snap out of it!”

Josh is a nice guy, trying to make the best of a sad situation, and find the right time to share his secret with Chrissie… who guessed it beforehand. (Oh NOW, she becomes observant.)

Lizzie’s a cute kid. A bit too precocious, but I believe it’s hiding the pain from the loss of a mother she never got the chance to know and the possibility of having to share her father.

Debs is the scene-stealer, though. Loud and unapologetic, Debs becomes the ‘older’ sister (insert open-hand slap here) while trying to drag her sister back from Chrissie-Land.

My one issue with the story? I had to re-read sentences and/or paragraphs to get a clear understanding of what was being said, and it took me out of the story. I do NOT believe it’s the uniquely British references, but the delivery. I believe it would benefit from a copy edit.

However, I still found The Season for Love to be a warm, holiday read showcasing the powers of forgiveness and love, and being open to… possibilities.



Believing she was responsible for the death of her husband, Chrissie Stewart retreats from all those who love her. A chance meeting with mysterious stranger, single-parent Josh Morgan and his bewitching young daughter Lizzy, breathe new life into her and gradually, she feels able to start to let go of the memory of her lost love. Unexpected links are revealed between the two families that strengthen the growing bonds she feels to this man and with the encouragement of her best friend Annie, herself hiding a hidden conflict from Chrissie, she battles with her demons to believe in her ability to trust and love again. Everything comes to a head on Christmas Day; which all goes to show that this is truly The Season for Love.

PreOrder links

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