Casey Cromwell

@casey-cromwell | contributor
At 11, I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia. At 17, I was diagnosed with celiac disease. And now, at age 24, I’m still kicking butt at life and loving it as I do. I blog about gluten free, vegan and paleo recipes; living with a chronic illness in college, grad school and beyond; body image and self love with a chronic disease, and so much more! I love to meet other chronic illness warriors, so please feel free to reach out to me here, on my blog or Facebook page!
Casey Cromwell

Tell Me You Have a Chronic Illness Without Telling Me

If you’re on TikTok or Instagram regularly, you may have noticed the trendy video prompt, “Tell me you have __ without telling me you have __”…and here’s my spin on a chronic illness version of it! Because as many spoonies know, a chronic illness affects our lives in many unique, challenging and even funny ways. And as someone with celiac disease, fibromyalgia, asthma and several other chronic illnesses, I definitely have experienced many of these quirks firsthand! So if you’re having a hard time with your chronic illness right now, I hope this post helps you feel less alone or even triggers a chuckle at some of the “quirky” habits chronic illness can trigger. And if you’re dating someone chronically ill or have chronically ill friends or loved ones, here’s the “why” behind some of our stranger behavior! 1. You have an entire cabinet, shelf or box dedicated to your medical prescriptions. 2. You have more in common with a stereotypical “grandma” than people your own age. 3. You wear a heating pad like it’s another layer of pants or shirt. 4. You worry that new friends may think you’re flaky since they don’t understand why you need to cancel plans last-minute. 5. You forget that some people don’t have to fill up a weekly pill organizer. 6. At least most (if not all) of your pants are leggings. 7. You rarely wake up and feel actually “rested.” 8. Your local pharmacist knows you by name. 9. You’re used to going to the doctor and hearing, “I’ve never seen/heard of that before!” 10. Your friends and family know “special” terms like “flare-up,” “glutened,” or “low on spoons.” 11. You have a list of your medications on your phone or in a safe place in case it’s needed. 12. You already have or are considering getting a medical ID bracelet. 13. You have different kinds of ice packs and massagers depending on what part of you hurts. 14. You rarely — if ever — leave the house without some kind of medication on you. 15. You don’t simply “pack light for a spontaneous trip.” 16. You don’t simply “take a spontaneous trip,” period! 17. People know if they need Tylenol or other over-the-counter meds, they should talk to you. 18. Your schedule revolves around doctors’ appointments. 19. When dating, you wonder when it’s time to have “the talk” about your medical conditions. 20. You know which of your veins are good veins. 21. Friends or family ask you for medical advice before they ask their doctor. 22. You always check where the closest bathroom is when at a new place. 23. Your daily schedule revolves around when you need to take certain medications. 24. You spend more on meds or medically-required foods than hair or beauty products. 25. You’re constantly proving to yourself that you’re stronger than you think. Now, It’s Your Turn… How could you tell me you have a chronic illness without straight-out saying it? I’d love to hear!

Casey Cromwell

Tell Me You Have a Chronic Illness Without Telling Me

If you’re on TikTok or Instagram regularly, you may have noticed the trendy video prompt, “Tell me you have __ without telling me you have __”…and here’s my spin on a chronic illness version of it! Because as many spoonies know, a chronic illness affects our lives in many unique, challenging and even funny ways. And as someone with celiac disease, fibromyalgia, asthma and several other chronic illnesses, I definitely have experienced many of these quirks firsthand! So if you’re having a hard time with your chronic illness right now, I hope this post helps you feel less alone or even triggers a chuckle at some of the “quirky” habits chronic illness can trigger. And if you’re dating someone chronically ill or have chronically ill friends or loved ones, here’s the “why” behind some of our stranger behavior! 1. You have an entire cabinet, shelf or box dedicated to your medical prescriptions. 2. You have more in common with a stereotypical “grandma” than people your own age. 3. You wear a heating pad like it’s another layer of pants or shirt. 4. You worry that new friends may think you’re flaky since they don’t understand why you need to cancel plans last-minute. 5. You forget that some people don’t have to fill up a weekly pill organizer. 6. At least most (if not all) of your pants are leggings. 7. You rarely wake up and feel actually “rested.” 8. Your local pharmacist knows you by name. 9. You’re used to going to the doctor and hearing, “I’ve never seen/heard of that before!” 10. Your friends and family know “special” terms like “flare-up,” “glutened,” or “low on spoons.” 11. You have a list of your medications on your phone or in a safe place in case it’s needed. 12. You already have or are considering getting a medical ID bracelet. 13. You have different kinds of ice packs and massagers depending on what part of you hurts. 14. You rarely — if ever — leave the house without some kind of medication on you. 15. You don’t simply “pack light for a spontaneous trip.” 16. You don’t simply “take a spontaneous trip,” period! 17. People know if they need Tylenol or other over-the-counter meds, they should talk to you. 18. Your schedule revolves around doctors’ appointments. 19. When dating, you wonder when it’s time to have “the talk” about your medical conditions. 20. You know which of your veins are good veins. 21. Friends or family ask you for medical advice before they ask their doctor. 22. You always check where the closest bathroom is when at a new place. 23. Your daily schedule revolves around when you need to take certain medications. 24. You spend more on meds or medically-required foods than hair or beauty products. 25. You’re constantly proving to yourself that you’re stronger than you think. Now, It’s Your Turn… How could you tell me you have a chronic illness without straight-out saying it? I’d love to hear!

Casey Cromwell

Tell Me You Have a Chronic Illness Without Telling Me

If you’re on TikTok or Instagram regularly, you may have noticed the trendy video prompt, “Tell me you have __ without telling me you have __”…and here’s my spin on a chronic illness version of it! Because as many spoonies know, a chronic illness affects our lives in many unique, challenging and even funny ways. And as someone with celiac disease, fibromyalgia, asthma and several other chronic illnesses, I definitely have experienced many of these quirks firsthand! So if you’re having a hard time with your chronic illness right now, I hope this post helps you feel less alone or even triggers a chuckle at some of the “quirky” habits chronic illness can trigger. And if you’re dating someone chronically ill or have chronically ill friends or loved ones, here’s the “why” behind some of our stranger behavior! 1. You have an entire cabinet, shelf or box dedicated to your medical prescriptions. 2. You have more in common with a stereotypical “grandma” than people your own age. 3. You wear a heating pad like it’s another layer of pants or shirt. 4. You worry that new friends may think you’re flaky since they don’t understand why you need to cancel plans last-minute. 5. You forget that some people don’t have to fill up a weekly pill organizer. 6. At least most (if not all) of your pants are leggings. 7. You rarely wake up and feel actually “rested.” 8. Your local pharmacist knows you by name. 9. You’re used to going to the doctor and hearing, “I’ve never seen/heard of that before!” 10. Your friends and family know “special” terms like “flare-up,” “glutened,” or “low on spoons.” 11. You have a list of your medications on your phone or in a safe place in case it’s needed. 12. You already have or are considering getting a medical ID bracelet. 13. You have different kinds of ice packs and massagers depending on what part of you hurts. 14. You rarely — if ever — leave the house without some kind of medication on you. 15. You don’t simply “pack light for a spontaneous trip.” 16. You don’t simply “take a spontaneous trip,” period! 17. People know if they need Tylenol or other over-the-counter meds, they should talk to you. 18. Your schedule revolves around doctors’ appointments. 19. When dating, you wonder when it’s time to have “the talk” about your medical conditions. 20. You know which of your veins are good veins. 21. Friends or family ask you for medical advice before they ask their doctor. 22. You always check where the closest bathroom is when at a new place. 23. Your daily schedule revolves around when you need to take certain medications. 24. You spend more on meds or medically-required foods than hair or beauty products. 25. You’re constantly proving to yourself that you’re stronger than you think. Now, It’s Your Turn… How could you tell me you have a chronic illness without straight-out saying it? I’d love to hear!

Casey Cromwell

Tell Me You Have a Chronic Illness Without Telling Me

If you’re on TikTok or Instagram regularly, you may have noticed the trendy video prompt, “Tell me you have __ without telling me you have __”…and here’s my spin on a chronic illness version of it! Because as many spoonies know, a chronic illness affects our lives in many unique, challenging and even funny ways. And as someone with celiac disease, fibromyalgia, asthma and several other chronic illnesses, I definitely have experienced many of these quirks firsthand! So if you’re having a hard time with your chronic illness right now, I hope this post helps you feel less alone or even triggers a chuckle at some of the “quirky” habits chronic illness can trigger. And if you’re dating someone chronically ill or have chronically ill friends or loved ones, here’s the “why” behind some of our stranger behavior! 1. You have an entire cabinet, shelf or box dedicated to your medical prescriptions. 2. You have more in common with a stereotypical “grandma” than people your own age. 3. You wear a heating pad like it’s another layer of pants or shirt. 4. You worry that new friends may think you’re flaky since they don’t understand why you need to cancel plans last-minute. 5. You forget that some people don’t have to fill up a weekly pill organizer. 6. At least most (if not all) of your pants are leggings. 7. You rarely wake up and feel actually “rested.” 8. Your local pharmacist knows you by name. 9. You’re used to going to the doctor and hearing, “I’ve never seen/heard of that before!” 10. Your friends and family know “special” terms like “flare-up,” “glutened,” or “low on spoons.” 11. You have a list of your medications on your phone or in a safe place in case it’s needed. 12. You already have or are considering getting a medical ID bracelet. 13. You have different kinds of ice packs and massagers depending on what part of you hurts. 14. You rarely — if ever — leave the house without some kind of medication on you. 15. You don’t simply “pack light for a spontaneous trip.” 16. You don’t simply “take a spontaneous trip,” period! 17. People know if they need Tylenol or other over-the-counter meds, they should talk to you. 18. Your schedule revolves around doctors’ appointments. 19. When dating, you wonder when it’s time to have “the talk” about your medical conditions. 20. You know which of your veins are good veins. 21. Friends or family ask you for medical advice before they ask their doctor. 22. You always check where the closest bathroom is when at a new place. 23. Your daily schedule revolves around when you need to take certain medications. 24. You spend more on meds or medically-required foods than hair or beauty products. 25. You’re constantly proving to yourself that you’re stronger than you think. Now, It’s Your Turn… How could you tell me you have a chronic illness without straight-out saying it? I’d love to hear!

Casey Cromwell

19 Things You've Thought While Dating With a Chronic Illness

Chronic illness impacts many aspects of one’s everyday life…and that includes dating! Considering that I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia at age 11 and celiac disease at age 17, chronic illness has always been part of my dating history. And if I’ve learned one lesson so far, it’s that chronic illness adds a variety of challenges and blessings to the dating game… and today, I want to share 19 things you’ve almost definitely thought if you’re dating with a chronic illness! If you have a chronic illness and are currently dating, I hope this post makes you feel a little less alone or even helps you laugh at some of the “quirks” chronic illness may add to your dating life. And if you’re dating someone with chronic illness, I hope this post gives you insight into what your partner may be thinking or experiencing on a regular basis. 1. “A dinner date at 10 p.m.? Who is up and functioning at that time?!?” 2. “Please let there be something I can eat, please let there be something I can eat…” This is why I typically eat before my dates. or make sure I choose the restaurant and pick one that would be tasty for me and my date! 3. “How can I say, ‘Please stop accidentally touching ALL of my trigger points’ without sounding ridiculous?” 4. “She got five hours of sleep and feels fine? How can people DO THAT?” 5. “Dang, he’s good at giving massages. He’s a keeper.” 6. “Should I say I’m canceling our date because I’m sick, or be real about my flare-up?” My suggestion? Be real! It can be embarrassing or awkward to open up about struggling at first, but you’ll need to tell them eventually, so why not now? 7. “He knows someone with fibro? And asks how my pain is each day? Now that’s what gives me butterflies.” 8. “Chronic illness isn’t all I am…but it is part of it. And if she can’t handle that, she’s not right for me.” Mic drop. 9. “Where’s the closest bathroom? Just in case…” 10. “Will his family like me? Or will they think I’m overly dramatic or high-maintenance?” If you’ve ever been called high-maintenance or accused of exaggerating your chronic illness, this post was written for you. 11. “Wait…*insert behavior/trait here* ISN’T normal?” 12. “I’ve officially just vomited/farted/*insert your most embarrassing chronically ill quirk* in front of the cutest person ever…they must really like me if they’re still here.” 13. “What would it even be like to have enough energy to go on late-night dates multiple days of the week?” If you’ve ever felt guilty for not being able to “show up” as your best self more often, know you’re not alone! 14. “Please don’t say let them say, ‘you don’t look sick‘ or ‘you’re too young to be sick!'” 15. “They researched my condition just to understand me better? That’s so sweet.” 16. “Did they really just say invisible illnesses are a joke? Look at the time, it’s time for me to goooooo.” Red flag much? 17. “Am I enough?” The short answer: yes! For the long answer, read this post. 18. “Do I talk about my body or my flare-ups too often?” 19. “Thank goodness I have a supporter for my good and bad days.” And if you don’t yet, don’t give up looking. And know you always have an online group of support too, including me! The Bottom Line of Dating With Chronic Illness: While dating with chronic illness certainly isn’t impossible, it’s not always easy or effortless. So if you’ve ever felt frustrated with your chronic illness’s role in your dating life, I hope this post helped you feel less alone. Just like I hope that whether you’re happily married or single and trying to mingle, at least one of these thoughts resonated.

Casey Cromwell

What My Good and Bad Days Look Like With Celiac Disease

Like most living with chronic illnesses, living with celiac disease has its ups and downs. So today, I wanted to really share what my good days and bad days with celiac disease look like. If you have celiac disease — and especially if you’ve recently been given a celiac diagnosis — I hope this post makes you feel less alone in the emotional rollercoaster celiac disease may sometimes trigger. And if you don’t have celiac disease, I hope this post lets you know what life with celiac disease can actually be like. So without any more throat clearing, let’s get started. My Good Days With Celiac Disease… On good days, living with celiac disease seems relatively easy — especially since a good amount of time has passed since my celiac diagnosis. On good days, I wake up after a restful night’s sleep and — TMI warning — my digestion is on point, if you know what I mean. On good days, I have access to plenty of delicious gluten-free foods. People often assume that going gluten-free means you don’t eat bread or carbs or junk food… but on a good day, my fridge and pantry is full of goodies like gluten-free hot pockets, gluten-free and vegan bagels, and yummy alternatives to all my old favorite foods. On the best days, I’ll even enjoy eating out gluten-free at a celiac-safe restaurant. And if that restaurant happens to be 100% gluten-free…well, let’s just say heaven does exist on Earth. On my good days with celiac disease, I am energized and nourished. I’m grateful to not have constant acid reflux or fatigue, like I did before my celiac disease diagnosis. And I’m grateful that there are many more gluten-free options available nowadays for people with celiac disease like me, and that I have the power to control my disease using diet. But there are bad days with celiac disease, too. My Bad Days With Celiac Disease… Early after my celiac diagnosis, bad days involved still being in pain while eating gluten-free, still losing weight, being put on a liquid diet by my doctor, being hospitalized and being fed through a feeding tube. Seven years later, I’m now medically in “remission” from celiac disease (thanks to being gluten-free and my body finally responding to the diet). And just as my body has changed, my definition of “bad days” has changed too. Now, bad days look like hours of tossing and turning in bed because something I ate — even though it was gluten-free — made my stomach implode like a balloon. Or dreading going out to eat because I don’t want to make a big deal out of my dietary restrictions during a lunch with my boss or my significant other’s family, but I also don’t want to get sick. So I order a salad and give my usual “celiac spiel” to the waiter (something like “I have celiac disease and need to eat a strict gluten-free diet. That means my food needs to not contain any gluten or wheat but also be prepared in a separate space and not come in contact with gluten…”) and hope for the best, but feel too nervous to enjoy the food. Or bad days can be when I’m glutened and turn into a sleep-deprived zombie, or when I’m not glutened but I’m crying because I just want a damn slice of Papa John’s pizza and the freedom to eat out wherever I want. Because even after you’re a pro at eating gluten-free, there are still moments when you make a mistake or when you crave the ability to be like everyone else. Which leads me to one of the last triggers of a bad day, and one of the reasons why I’m writing this post. People sometimes assume I’m gluten-free because it’s trendy or I want to lose weight. I’ve even been accused of exaggerating the seriousness of celiac disease so I could get attention, or for letting celiac disease “be my whole my life.” And call me sensitive, but all of those comments hurt. Because, yes, on my good days, my day can look like anyone else’s, except for what foods end up on my plate. But I don’t eat gluten-free to be cool. I eat gluten-free to survive. And the more people who understand that, the more good days we all can have. What I Hope This Post Can Teach Anyone About Celiac Disease No one’s life is perfect, and when you add a chronic illness (or several of them!) into the mix, that is even more true. But I have found that most bad days can get better, with a few helpful factors, like: Supportive friends and family Self-compassion and patience Access to educational resources (check out 31 free resources for celiac disease) Connecting — online or in-person — with other people who can understand So the next time you or a loved one with celiac disease is having a bad day, I hope this post helps you feel less alone and even gives you direction on what to do next. Even if that’s just being patient and believing that another good day will come soon!

Casey Cromwell

Living With Celiac Disease in Your 20s

When you have celiac disease or dietary restrictions, life in your 20s can be a bit… unique. Instead of going to random fast-food joints with your friends at midnight and taking advantage of all the college pizza parties, you analyze tons of ingredient lists each week and are known for your “special diet.” And as someone who was diagnosed with celiac disease at age 17 and is now almost 25 years old, I’ve experienced the “quirks” of gluten-free millennial life firsthand. That’s what inspired me to write this post about all the obvious and less obvious ways celiac disease or dietary restrictions impact a 20-something’s life. If you have dietary restrictions and are in your 20s like me, I hope this post makes you feel less alone and reminds you that there are people who totally get what you’re going through. And if you don’t fall into this category but know a 20-something with celiac disease or dietary restrictions, here’s a little peek into what aspects of their life are probably like. 1. You’ve gone to restaurants to hang out with friends, not to eat. (Or to eat a safe meal you’ve brought with you.) 2. You’re always the person in your friend group to choose the restaurant. Thank goodness for the Find Me Gluten Free app, am I right? 3. In your college or extracurricular groups, you’re known as the *insert allergen here*-free girl or guy. Especially if you go to a small college or live in a tiny town as I have! 4. You’ve had waiters assume you just avoid gluten or dairy or other allergens because you’re trying to be “cool” and “trendy.” 5. You have more advanced cooking skills compared to most people your age. Especially if your college couldn’t provide safe food, you had a lot of motivation to learn how to cook for yourself! 6. You’ve tried to sneakily choose first-date activities that don’t include food… 7. …and you’ve shared awkward or unique conversations with your dates about your diet. Like, in my case, telling my now-boyfriend that he had to brush his teeth before kissing me since he’d eaten gluten on our date. 8. You’ve been surprised by friends or friends’ parents going out of their way to make sure safe food is available during your visit. If most 20-somethings with dietary restrictions are like me, they don’t expect people to go out of their way to provide safe food options. But when people do, it’s a wonderful — and memorable — surprise! 9. You’ve left parties or events early because everyone else is eating and you’re starving with no safe options available. 10. You’ve lost count of how many times peers have said, “I would die if I couldn’t eat *insert your off-limits-food here*.” Note to people who can eat anything you want: we know you don’t mean to offend us, but suggesting that our diet is so limited, we should just give up on life is not helpful. 11. Your closest friends end up knowing almost as much about your dietary restrictions or medical condition as you do. And they advocate for your needs along with you! 12. You may not spend as much money on eating out as other people your age… 13. …but your grocery bills could be higher! Allergy-friendly alternatives can add up quickly — but check out this blog post to learn how to save money on groceries! 14. Going out to eat with your boss or coworkers often feels stressful. Especially if they don’t know about your dietary restrictions beforehand… 15. You’ve met doctors who know much less about your dietary needs than you do. 16. You’ve shocked friends and classmates with allergy-friendly alternatives that taste like the real deal. Repeat after me: allergy-friendly food can be delicious! 17. If you didn’t have dietary restrictions as a child, you still daydream about old favorite foods. As weird as it sounds, I greatly miss Branflakes cereal. 18. Eating at your college cafeteria or studying abroad required a lot more planning and effort to keep you safe. If you’re still in college and struggling to eat safely, I recommend checking out this post to learn more about your legal options. 19. You’re an expert when it comes to reading nutrition labels. 20. You sometimes feel alone and wish you could be a more “normal” 20-something. Especially when you feel left out from a social event that revolves around food, or after you’ve accidentally eaten an off-limits ingredient. 21. When you talk to older generations of people with dietary restrictions, you’re grateful for how many more options and knowledge is available today! And if you’ve recently been diagnosed with celiac disease or need to change your diet as a 20-something, know that it does get easier with time. My Final Reminder to 20-Somethings Living With Celiac Disease or Dietary Restrictions No matter how old you are, it’s easy to compare yourself to other people you age and feel like your life is limited because of your limited diet. But I know from personal experience that you can still live life to the fullest while avoiding gluten, dairy or other allergens. And I hope this post reminds you that dietary restrictions don’t only affect your life in negative ways. They can also make you a better cook, a more confident advocate, a nutrition-label-reading ninja and much more!

Casey Cromwell

Living With Celiac Disease in Your 20s

When you have celiac disease or dietary restrictions, life in your 20s can be a bit… unique. Instead of going to random fast-food joints with your friends at midnight and taking advantage of all the college pizza parties, you analyze tons of ingredient lists each week and are known for your “special diet.” And as someone who was diagnosed with celiac disease at age 17 and is now almost 25 years old, I’ve experienced the “quirks” of gluten-free millennial life firsthand. That’s what inspired me to write this post about all the obvious and less obvious ways celiac disease or dietary restrictions impact a 20-something’s life. If you have dietary restrictions and are in your 20s like me, I hope this post makes you feel less alone and reminds you that there are people who totally get what you’re going through. And if you don’t fall into this category but know a 20-something with celiac disease or dietary restrictions, here’s a little peek into what aspects of their life are probably like. 1. You’ve gone to restaurants to hang out with friends, not to eat. (Or to eat a safe meal you’ve brought with you.) 2. You’re always the person in your friend group to choose the restaurant. Thank goodness for the Find Me Gluten Free app, am I right? 3. In your college or extracurricular groups, you’re known as the *insert allergen here*-free girl or guy. Especially if you go to a small college or live in a tiny town as I have! 4. You’ve had waiters assume you just avoid gluten or dairy or other allergens because you’re trying to be “cool” and “trendy.” 5. You have more advanced cooking skills compared to most people your age. Especially if your college couldn’t provide safe food, you had a lot of motivation to learn how to cook for yourself! 6. You’ve tried to sneakily choose first-date activities that don’t include food… 7. …and you’ve shared awkward or unique conversations with your dates about your diet. Like, in my case, telling my now-boyfriend that he had to brush his teeth before kissing me since he’d eaten gluten on our date. 8. You’ve been surprised by friends or friends’ parents going out of their way to make sure safe food is available during your visit. If most 20-somethings with dietary restrictions are like me, they don’t expect people to go out of their way to provide safe food options. But when people do, it’s a wonderful — and memorable — surprise! 9. You’ve left parties or events early because everyone else is eating and you’re starving with no safe options available. 10. You’ve lost count of how many times peers have said, “I would die if I couldn’t eat *insert your off-limits-food here*.” Note to people who can eat anything you want: we know you don’t mean to offend us, but suggesting that our diet is so limited, we should just give up on life is not helpful. 11. Your closest friends end up knowing almost as much about your dietary restrictions or medical condition as you do. And they advocate for your needs along with you! 12. You may not spend as much money on eating out as other people your age… 13. …but your grocery bills could be higher! Allergy-friendly alternatives can add up quickly — but check out this blog post to learn how to save money on groceries! 14. Going out to eat with your boss or coworkers often feels stressful. Especially if they don’t know about your dietary restrictions beforehand… 15. You’ve met doctors who know much less about your dietary needs than you do. 16. You’ve shocked friends and classmates with allergy-friendly alternatives that taste like the real deal. Repeat after me: allergy-friendly food can be delicious! 17. If you didn’t have dietary restrictions as a child, you still daydream about old favorite foods. As weird as it sounds, I greatly miss Branflakes cereal. 18. Eating at your college cafeteria or studying abroad required a lot more planning and effort to keep you safe. If you’re still in college and struggling to eat safely, I recommend checking out this post to learn more about your legal options. 19. You’re an expert when it comes to reading nutrition labels. 20. You sometimes feel alone and wish you could be a more “normal” 20-something. Especially when you feel left out from a social event that revolves around food, or after you’ve accidentally eaten an off-limits ingredient. 21. When you talk to older generations of people with dietary restrictions, you’re grateful for how many more options and knowledge is available today! And if you’ve recently been diagnosed with celiac disease or need to change your diet as a 20-something, know that it does get easier with time. My Final Reminder to 20-Somethings Living With Celiac Disease or Dietary Restrictions No matter how old you are, it’s easy to compare yourself to other people you age and feel like your life is limited because of your limited diet. But I know from personal experience that you can still live life to the fullest while avoiding gluten, dairy or other allergens. And I hope this post reminds you that dietary restrictions don’t only affect your life in negative ways. They can also make you a better cook, a more confident advocate, a nutrition-label-reading ninja and much more!

Casey Cromwell

15 Ways Living With Fibromyalgia Changes the Holidays

Now that December has arrived it’s officially the holiday season in my household… which has me thinking about what the holiday season is like when you have fibromyalgia like me. I’m not hating on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years, but the holidays are more complicated when you have chronic pain, chronic fatigue and an invisible illness. That’s why this year, I want to share 15 ways the holiday season changes when you have fibromayglia — similar to what I shared last year with celiac disease. If you have fibromyalgia , I hope this list reminds you that you’re not the only one having a holiday season with plenty of chronically-not-so-awesome quirks. And if you know someone with fibromyalgia , I hope this post gives you a better understanding of what your loved one is experiencing during the holidays! 1. Holiday parties and social events may sound more draining than enjoyable. So instead of being the first person to arrive and the last to leave, we might duck out early due to a “prior commitment”… to our bubble bath or a cozy bed. 2. We may be able to go full-blown Santa Claus one day… and turn into the Grinch the next. Helllooooo fibro flares — especially after we push ourselves too hard the previous day. 3. While others dread being asked if they’re still single, we hate hearing, “You aren’t better yet?!?” 4. Drinking may not be part of our usual party routine… Especially considering the meds we’re taking to treat fibromyalgia , alcohol and fibro warriors don’t always mix well. 5. If we live somewhere that gets cold, the holiday season can literally hurt. Not to mention that the change of seasons and weather can be especially rough on our joints and sinuses. 6. We may need to eat a particular diet to feel our best, so we have to regularly turn down offered treats.   7. Because the holidays disrupt our usual routine, we can feel extra anxious or experience additional flare-ups. 8. Some days, the most festive activity our body is up for is binge-watching Hallmark movies. So if we cancel plans or need to change our pumpkin patch visit to a Netflix marathon, know we’re not trying to be demanding! 9. If this is our first holiday season with fibromyalgia , we might grieve the traditions we can’t easily participate in anymore. Such as going on long fall hikes or making treats that no longer agree with our body. 10.  Fibro fog can make it trickier for us to easily socialize at parties or even buy the perfect presents for friends and family. Who was I buying something for?? What did I want to get them again?? 11. We may avoid festively scented candles because even “yummy” smells can trigger a flare-up. 12. Honestly, the holidays can be exhausting… so we may need more “me” days than usual. This doesn’t mean we don’t love being around our friends and family. But we do need time alone to recharge. 13. We can feel extra guilty for saying no, not being able to do what “normal/healthy” people can, or not being able to spend as much time with loved ones as we’d like. 14. When people do consider our needs in their holiday plans, we’re extra grateful. People who believe in our invisible illness and do their best to accommodate our needs truly do create a magical holiday season for us. 15. Holiday cheer can’t cure our fibromyalgia or lessen our pain… but we treasure the moments we do get to spend with loved ones. And supportive friends and family truly are the best holiday gifts we can get! The Bottom Line: Living with Fibromyalgia During the Holidays Speaking for myself as a fibromyalgia warrior, I can say that I look forward to the holidays just as much as everyone else! However, I also have different expectations for what those holidays will look like… and that’s OK. If this is your first holiday season with fibromyalgia or with a loved one who has it, I strongly encourage you to consider what your holiday season might really look like. What steps could you take to help prevent and manage flare-ups? What could loved ones do to help you participate in holiday festivities as pain-free as possible? Because once you answer questions like those, it will be much easier for you to have a truly magical holiday season… even with chronic pain and fatigue. And if that’s not a Christmas miracle… what is? This post first appeared on my blog, Casey the College Celiac.

Casey Cromwell

15 Ways Living With Fibromyalgia Changes the Holidays

Now that December has arrived it’s officially the holiday season in my household… which has me thinking about what the holiday season is like when you have fibromyalgia like me. I’m not hating on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years, but the holidays are more complicated when you have chronic pain, chronic fatigue and an invisible illness. That’s why this year, I want to share 15 ways the holiday season changes when you have fibromayglia — similar to what I shared last year with celiac disease. If you have fibromyalgia , I hope this list reminds you that you’re not the only one having a holiday season with plenty of chronically-not-so-awesome quirks. And if you know someone with fibromyalgia , I hope this post gives you a better understanding of what your loved one is experiencing during the holidays! 1. Holiday parties and social events may sound more draining than enjoyable. So instead of being the first person to arrive and the last to leave, we might duck out early due to a “prior commitment”… to our bubble bath or a cozy bed. 2. We may be able to go full-blown Santa Claus one day… and turn into the Grinch the next. Helllooooo fibro flares — especially after we push ourselves too hard the previous day. 3. While others dread being asked if they’re still single, we hate hearing, “You aren’t better yet?!?” 4. Drinking may not be part of our usual party routine… Especially considering the meds we’re taking to treat fibromyalgia , alcohol and fibro warriors don’t always mix well. 5. If we live somewhere that gets cold, the holiday season can literally hurt. Not to mention that the change of seasons and weather can be especially rough on our joints and sinuses. 6. We may need to eat a particular diet to feel our best, so we have to regularly turn down offered treats.   7. Because the holidays disrupt our usual routine, we can feel extra anxious or experience additional flare-ups. 8. Some days, the most festive activity our body is up for is binge-watching Hallmark movies. So if we cancel plans or need to change our pumpkin patch visit to a Netflix marathon, know we’re not trying to be demanding! 9. If this is our first holiday season with fibromyalgia , we might grieve the traditions we can’t easily participate in anymore. Such as going on long fall hikes or making treats that no longer agree with our body. 10.  Fibro fog can make it trickier for us to easily socialize at parties or even buy the perfect presents for friends and family. Who was I buying something for?? What did I want to get them again?? 11. We may avoid festively scented candles because even “yummy” smells can trigger a flare-up. 12. Honestly, the holidays can be exhausting… so we may need more “me” days than usual. This doesn’t mean we don’t love being around our friends and family. But we do need time alone to recharge. 13. We can feel extra guilty for saying no, not being able to do what “normal/healthy” people can, or not being able to spend as much time with loved ones as we’d like. 14. When people do consider our needs in their holiday plans, we’re extra grateful. People who believe in our invisible illness and do their best to accommodate our needs truly do create a magical holiday season for us. 15. Holiday cheer can’t cure our fibromyalgia or lessen our pain… but we treasure the moments we do get to spend with loved ones. And supportive friends and family truly are the best holiday gifts we can get! The Bottom Line: Living with Fibromyalgia During the Holidays Speaking for myself as a fibromyalgia warrior, I can say that I look forward to the holidays just as much as everyone else! However, I also have different expectations for what those holidays will look like… and that’s OK. If this is your first holiday season with fibromyalgia or with a loved one who has it, I strongly encourage you to consider what your holiday season might really look like. What steps could you take to help prevent and manage flare-ups? What could loved ones do to help you participate in holiday festivities as pain-free as possible? Because once you answer questions like those, it will be much easier for you to have a truly magical holiday season… even with chronic pain and fatigue. And if that’s not a Christmas miracle… what is? This post first appeared on my blog, Casey the College Celiac.