Omni Oil for Raynaud’s Disease

Omni Oil for Raynaud’s Disease

I’m continuing with my Raynaud’s Disease blog posts this month for Raynaud’s Awareness Month today with a review of the circulation-stimulating Omni Oil, a natural solution, for Raynaud’s that I was sent to try by Clinogen Laboratories to review for the work I am doing for Raynaud’s Awareness Month on my blog.

I’m going to start this post with a copy and paste of what Raynaud’s Disease is from my previous posts (I have a whole section for my Raynaud’s posts right here) and then this will follow my review of Omni Ol and my experience with this oil for my Raynaud’s phenomenon.

What is Raynaud’s?

Raynaud’s phenomenon occurs when the extremities of the body, usually the fingers and toes, change colour and become uncomfortable and /or painful. This happens because the microcirculation in the extremities is impaired and due to a narrowing (constriction) of the small blood vessels on exposure to the cold, or to a change in temperature, both in summer and in winter.

Raynaud’s usually develops due to a drop in temperature, and typical symptoms include fingers that go white and feel cold as microcirculation is compromised. The fingers in some cases can then turn blue, purple or black in colour as a result of reduced oxygen in the blood as a result of narrowed or constricted blood vessels.

Once a Raynaud’s attack is over the fingers begin to turn bright red as blood vessels dilate (open) and normal blood flow returns. At this point, sufferers feel tingling, throbbing, numbness and pain and this can be severe in many cases.   

At the moment, recommended management is to keep warm and manage the condition with lifestyle changes (my Top 10 Tips for Managing Raynaud’s can be found right here). There are certain medications available which work by dilating the blood vessels, however, the list of possible side-effects often deters patients (I personally take nifedipine, but of course would rather not!).

What is Omni Ol?

It is, therefore, such a blessing that there are medical professionals seeking to develop natural alternatives. As a result, Scientists at Clinogen Medical have developed Omni Ol which has successfully been used for neuropathy in diabetic patients and is extremely effective in treating symptoms experienced by Raynaud’s patients.

Omni Ol is based on plant-based natural oils designed to reduce symptoms associated with Raynaud’s Disease. The balm helps to stimulate circulation and reduce inflammation and is particularly suited to muscular pain, joint pain, and injuries. The oil is based on a combination of Western Science and Eastern Ayurvedic principles and works by harnessing the healing power of stem cells mainly derived from the rainforest plants. It also includes the well-renowned Ginkgo Biloba that I take as a supplement for Raynaud’s.

Full ingredients are as follows: Paraffinum Liquidum, Limnanthes Alba, Lavandula Angustifolia, Cinnamomum Zeylanicum, Rosmarinus Officinalis, Salvia Officinalis, Eugenia Caryophyllata, Apium Graveolens, Trigonella Foenum Graecum, Centella Asiatica, Ginkgo Biloba, Uncaria Tomentosa, Citrus Medica Limonum, Passiflora Incarnata

How To Use Omni Oil

I had a lovely afternoon tea just last weekend at Rhinefield House and I thought this would be the perfect time to try out my Omni Ol as I really didn’t want to miss out on a lovely walk around the stunning grounds with my family. As you can see in the above photos, after just a few minutes outside I was starting to develop Raynaud’s.

The idea with Omni Ol is that when an attack begins that you should massage a few drops of the oil gently in circular motions into the affected area and it will then work to restore normal circulation within a few minutes.

Does Omni Ol Work?

In order to test if it works, as soon as I returned from being outside, I immediately sat down and took photos on my phone to see how effective the oil would be. These photos contain no editing at all. It took me about 3 minutes from applying the oil in the above photos to the next photo you will see. You can already see one solitary finger has circulation again!

omni oil review raynaud's disease
Photo 1: Moments after coming back inside a few minutes after applying Omni Ol
Photo 2: About 2 minutes after the above photo showing circulation already returning to my fingers
Photo 3: Just a minute after photo 2 the circulation has now come back to all fingers just leaving one tip white.
Photo 4: The circulation has returned to all fingers!

I don’t know about you but I find looking at the photos above quite mindblowing and also quite emotional as someone who has suffered so deeply with Raynaud’s for most of my life. I really had no idea what to expect when I heard about Omni oil and that it could help with Raynaud’s. It just seemed unimaginable. But in this case, the photos truly do speak for themselves! What you can see above are a mere 15 minutes for my hands to go from a Raynaud’s attack to a normal state.

As soon I massaged Omni Ol into my hands I could feel them feeling getting warmer but without the excruciating thawing pain that I normally suffer from. My hands felt relaxed and normal within the time show above and I’m honestly speechless. It also has a truly lovely warming scent with all the lucious spices.

I am so thankful to Sujata Jolly and her team for allowing me to try Omni Ol. It is, and will go onto, without a doubt make such a difference to my everyday life. It’s not always possible to predict exactly when or where a Raynaud’s attack may happen so having Omni Ol to hand is already so comforting. And thus in conclusion, if you suffer from Raynaud’s I cannot recommend Omni Ol enough. The only negative is the price that could be beyond reach with 12ml costing £32 and 50ml for £60. However, for the relief this has given me I would not hesitate to cut other things so that I am able to have this.

♥♥♥♥♥♥

I feel so emotional to be posting about a product for Raynaud’s that actually works. It truly is the hope for even more developments in the future. As discussed at the start of the post, February is Raynaud’s Awareness Month and so if you’re looking for more of my posts about Raynaud’s Disease you can find my handy wellness section that now has a dedicated section for Raynaud’s Disease. And my introduction to the work I’ll be doing to raise awareness for Raynaud’s Disease can be found here

Is anyone else a Raynaud’s sufferer? Is Omni Ol something you would like to try? Please feel free to leave any comments below if you have any questions about Raynaud’s whatsoever, or I’m a Tweet or Instagram message away if you ever need support with Raynaud’s Disease. Additionally, for more information please do stop by SRUK as well, the charity for Raynaud’s and Scleroderma. 

A huge thank you to Omni Ol for giving me the chance to try this extremely exciting new development in the management of Raynaud’s. You can find more about Omni Ol right here.

xoxo

** Omni Ol was sent to me complimentary for the purpose of review however all thoughts are my own **

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My 10 Top Tips For Managing Raynaud’s Disease

My 10 Top Tips For Managing Raynaud’s Disease

I’m continuing with my Raynaud’s Disease blog posts this month for Raynaud’s Awareness Month today with my 10 top tips to manage Raynaud’s throughout the seasons. I’m going to start this post with a copy and paste of what Raynaud’s Disease is from my previous posts (I have a whole section for my Raynaud’s posts right here) and then this will follow the 10 most effective ways I find to manage Raynaud’s Disease on a daily basis.

If you are a Raynaud’s sufferer I would love to connect so please let me know if any of the tips help you out or if you have any other things you’d like me to add!

Top Tips For Managing Raynaud's Disease

What is Raynaud’s Disease?

Raynaud’s is the constriction of blood vessels in response to a decrease in temperature, and/or stress. This narrowing of the blood vessels can be extremely painful, accompanied with a burning or tingling sensation. 

The symptoms can cause an extremely visible three-way colour change to the affected area, which can include any site on the body. The hands and feet are most commonly affected, but the ears, nose, and tongue, among other sites, can be affected also.

Raynaud’s can be present on its own, where it is called Primary Raynaud’s, or it can appear along with another medical condition, like an autoimmune disease such as Scleroderma (that I was diagnosed with last year), or Lupus, Rheumatoid arthritis, Sjögren’s syndrome, Thryroid problems, Atherosclerosis and other conditions where it is known as Secondary Raynaud’s.

Drug treatments can target symptom suppression, however the more potent the drug, the more intense the side effect. If Raynaud’s symptoms are not managed correctly, digital ulceration, gangrene, and even amputation can result. 

example of raynaud's disease

1. Wear multiple layers of loose clothing and a hat when it’s cold

The first tip seems pretty obvious but dressing in warm clothes and wearing warm gloves, socks, and a hat is really important. A lot of heat is lost through our head so keep it wrapped up and warm (that tip was especially stressed by my rheumatologist). Perhaps in a Beauxoxo Beret, for example! I’m also a huge fan of Heat Holders and Turtle Dove Gloves (find my review of their fingerless gloves right here). But essentially, keeping warm is very important. Layers of clothing work best at trapping the heat than thinner clothes. However, in Spring and Summer, you can then wear several thin layers as needed to trap heat in against your body as Raynaud’s attacks can occur throughout the year. 

2. Keep your hands and feet warm and dry

If my hands are damp or wet I’m especially prone to a Raynaud’s attack. To deal with this, I carry a tenugui around with me in my handbag. A tenugui is a thin Japanese hand towel made from cotton but I purchased many there that are simply a flannel fabric with adorable embroidered details. In everyday Japanese life, a tenugui has a similar function to towels, being used as a washcloth or dishcloth, for example. This will become your best friend if you have Raynaud’s and I use it in public bathrooms as the hand dryers can provoke a Raynaud’s attack and I dislike paper towels for environmental reasons. It also just feel like a little hug for your hands!

3. Use hand warmers

Another handbag essential for Raynaud’s disease are hand warmers that can also be placed in pockets, gloves and so on. Hand warmers are the perfect way to keep your hands warm on the go with Raynaud’s as they supply therapeutic, portable heat, subduing the effects of Raynaud’s syndrome both indoors and out. You can purchase some great ones from Heatbands right here

4. Wear gloves to touch frozen or cold foods

Top tip number 4: have gloves EVERYWHERE! Because even indoors getting food from the fridge or freezer can be so painful for a Raynaud’s sufferer. Also, preparing a meal can be troublesome because often as I’m chopping vegetables or dealing with food from the fridge I can have an attack. My best tip is to wear rubber gloves to chop vegetables and have for preparing food. And if you can invest in a good food chopper that will make life far more manageable. 

5. Reduce Physical Stress

As we’ve seen so far, Raynaud’s isn’t something that simply occurs with cold weather. Another huge factor for Raynaud’s attacks is stress both physically and emotionally and this will bring on Raynaud’s symptoms regardless of the weather outside. It’s, of course, impossible in this day and age to completely avoid stress but there are ways that we can limit it and its effects. Take time out to do things that you enjoy that actively help to de-stress and relax you and promote a feeling of peace and tranquillity. Additionally, simple joys such as meditating, taking a warm bath, having a massage with essential oils, and breathing exercises can be so effective to manage Raynaud’s. 

6. Eating an anti-inflammatory diet

To manage the symptoms of Raynaud’s Disease, it’s important to try to maintain a balanced, healthy diet and avoid caffeine and alcohol. Eating a diet with plenty of omega-3s, fresh vegetables, berries, wild-caught salmon, bone broth, nuts and seeds, good quality organic meats, and spices and herbs are all excellent choices as a starting point.

Then there are also certain foods that are also believed to help, like ginger, garlic and spicy food to help boost circulation (please note if you have an auto-immune disease like me and secondary Scleroderma, spicy foods such as chilli are to be avoided due to GERD. I’ll revisit this in a future post!). However, it should be noted that no particular food or diet has been proven to cure Raynaud’s. 

In addition to adding these healing foods to your diet, you can also look to avoid eating certain foods that weaken your immune system and lead to inflammation. For this, I would highly recommend seeing a dietician (I see someone a few times a year) because certain foods can trigger an inflammatory response and make autoimmune and Raynaud’s symptoms worse. This includes refined carbohydrates, foods made with artificial ingredients and chemicals, and, as discussed above, alcohol and caffeine.

In addition to a balanced diet, I also add some food supplements to my diet that a variety of research has shown to help Raynaud’s sufferers. As with all food supplements and vitamins, it’s imperative to research yourself carefully to ensure it is the best fit for you and also consult your dietician, doctor or specialist. Top supplements for Raynaud’s Disease include evening primrose oil, gingko biloba (I take one tablet a day and it also have so many other incredible benefits) and vitamins e and c and fish oils. 

7. Watch indoor and sudden changes in temperature

Many people think Raynaud’s is something that simply occurs with cold weather however many of my Raynaud’s attacks are usually provoked by cold or a sudden change in temperature.

The best tip I have for sudden temperatures is to always be prepared. For example, I find swimming, showers, baths, and going in and out of cold rooms often excruciating. Baths are my ultimate comfort so to manage to get out of a warm bath into a colder room, I leave the bath water in and make sure I have a very warm towel waiting when I come out. When I am fully dry, I then drain the bath water away.

Showers can be just awful and I’ve had so many awful attacks from a steamy, warm shower to freezing surroundings. Again, make sure a warm towel and a dressing gown are waiting for you and sit in this towel sat down try to get dry as soon as possible.

Swimming is something I love however this can also be challenging. My top tips are to wear clothes as well as a swimming costume, have a warm shower straight away and again a warm towel waiting for you. And make sure you are dry and in warm clothes as soon as possible. Make sure you wear gloves after you have been swimming and to have a warm drink and food afterwards such as soup. I found one of the main problems was the freezing cold, draughty changing rooms, which would turn the whole of me blue, and so bringing a warm dressing gown is vital!

My final top tip is for supermarkets and the variety of sudden temperatures that are there can always results in a Raynaud’s attack. Thus, it’s imperative to keep gloves on when shopping and be extra quick to grab those frozen and chilled items!

8. Avoid ice in drinks

I try to drink warm drinks and eat warm foods 80% of the time. So in summer, when drinks are usually served laden with ice, which is great for a refreshing cool down but not so good for your hands if you have Raynaud’s. To get around this, either ask for drinks to be served in glasses with handles or stems or invest in an insulated beverage holder. Best of all, avoid ice in drinks altogether as I find the chill it gives me can produce a Raynaud’s attack. 

9. Exercise regularly to boost blood flow.

I hate exercise with a passion but unfortunately, it can not be denied that regular exercise improves your blood flow, and keeping active on a cold day will help you to stay warm. I attend Pilates every week and I must say I find it really healing for many of my illnesses. Ultimately, exercise, within your own limits, can boost circulation and may improve Raynaud’s symptoms. 

Walking is by far the most popular low-impact exercise works and it works the cardiovascular system and burns calories at the same time. Swimming is another great option that works the whole body. However, swimming can also trigger a Raynaud’s attack for me, so it’s also important to check the temperature of the water before swimming as a cold pool could trigger an attack. For this, I’ve been recommended training swimming pools and ones frequented by children as they are often far warmer than other swimming pools. 

For other less impact exercise ideas try Yoga and Tai Chi as both can improve both your physical fitness and your general wellbeing through a series of postures and breathing exercises. 

10. Don’t smoke

Smoking damages your circulation and narrows blood vessels even further, so you should consider trying to quit if you have Raynaud’s disease. 

ways to manage raynaud's disease

And so there you have it: 10 of my top tips to manage Raynaud’s Disease. As discussed at the start of the post, February is Raynaud’s Awareness Month and so if you’re looking for more of my posts about Raynaud’s Disease you can find my handy wellness section that now has a dedicated section for Raynaud’s Disease. And my introduction to the work I’ll be doing to raise awareness for Raynaud’s Disease can be found here

Is anyone else a Raynaud’s sufferer? What top tips can you share to how you manage Raynaud’s Disease? Please feel free to leave any comments below if you have any questions about Raynaud’s whatsoever, or I’m a Tweet or Instagram message away if you ever need support with Raynaud’s Disease. Additionally, for more information please do stop by SRUK as well, the charity for Raynaud’s and Scleroderma. 

Coming next is my overall post for living with Raynaud’s and how I discovered it and what tests are done. Following that I have a further post exploring a variety of natural therapies that are said to help Raynaud’s. 

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Turtle Dove Gloves for Raynaud’s Disease Review

Turtle Dove Gloves for Raynaud’s Disease Review

As I write this post I’m wearing my Turtle Doves Cream Cashmere Fingerless Gloves, and they are officially the snuggliest things in the world! But if you suffer from Raynaud’s Disease, are they also a hugely beneficial natural treatment for Raynaud’s? Well, I discovered the wonderful Turtle Doves through several friends kindly forwarding me their hugely successful Facebook and Instagram adverts as the company has had so much positive feedback about their fingerless gloves from those that suffer from arthritis and Raynaud’s Disease. Additionally, February is also Raynaud’s Awareness Month so this will be one of many posts I will be sharing this month to highlight this condition. 

gloves for raynauds sufferers turtle doves review

What Is Raynaud’s Disease?

Raynaud’s disease (pronounced as ‘ray-nose’) is where the small blood vessels in the extremities such as hands and feet, fingers or toes are over-sensitive to even the slightest changes in temperature, the cold and sometimes stress. This causes a Raynaud’s attack where the fingers sometimes change colour, but not always, from white, to blue, to red. Raynaud’s phenomenon is a common condition thought to affect up to ten million people in the UK.

For some people, it is no more than a nuisance and can be very mild, but it can also be much more severe, interfering greatly with one’s daily life. There are two different types of Raynaud’s: Primary and Secondary. Primary Raynaud’s is usually the less serious of the two types as the condition is mild and manageable whilst people experiencing Secondary Raynaud’s will usually have more severe symptoms. I have secondary Raynaud’s Disease as I also have the auto-immune disease called Scleroderma. I’ll talk about the latter in far more details in a separate post, but you can find further posts about health and wellness right here

raynauds disease

How Turtle Dove Gloves Work

The fingerless gloves from Turtle Doves are their best-selling product all year round. Made from a luxuriously soft and cosy cashmere fabric, they are designed to be worn as a glove or a wrist-warmer and to be kept on all day especially if you suffer from Raynaud’s. And as well as being a toasty cuddle around your wrists, that will help to keep your fingers warm even though they aren’t covered, Turtle Dove’s gloves are made from recycled, ethical clothing from pre-loved cashmere knitwear. 

Cream Cashmere Fingerless Gloves
turtle dove gloves review

Over time Turtle Dove’s have gathered lots of positive feedback about their fingerless gloves for not only keeping the fingers warm but for also keeping the wrists covered and snug. Whilst it has not helped me be free of Raynaud’s attack since I have purchased them, they are a million times more beneficial than standard gloves I’ve had. Firstly the extended length takes the gloves well up the forearm, keeping the wrists warm, and secondly, the fineness and softness of the knit with no clumpy thickness between the fingers, makes them very comfortable to wear. Finally, they are easy to pull off the hands and out of the way whilst leaving the wrists covered for when you need to wash your hands or just expose your hands for any other purpose! So whilst the severity of my Raynaud’s Disease means nothing can cure or prevent a Raynaud’s attack, these gloves are certainly far more comforting than anything else I have ever tried. For example, right now I’m wearing them in bed typing away, something I couldn’t imagine with conventional heavy knitwear!

The colour selection for Turtle Dove fingerless gloves is also truly like a beautiful rainbow with every possible shade your heart could dream of. They retail for £26 on average however there is currently a wonderful sale on and I picked my pretty cream gloves up for just £18!

♥♥♥♥♥♥

Final Thoughts

turtle gloves raynauds disease
gloves for raynaud's disease

Overall, whilst the gloves didn’t stop my Raynaud’s attacks they certainly provided so much comfort to me throughout the day for everyday activities. Even though I’ve suffered with Raynaud’s for so long, I would never have thought to wear gloves indoors for simple day-to-day activities and found that they truly did maximise the amount of comfort and warmth I could have for as long as possible.

As discussed at the start of the post, February is Raynaud’s Awareness Month and so if you’re looking for more of my posts about Raynaud’s Disease you can find my handy wellness section that now has a dedicated section for Raynaud’s Disease. And my introduction to the work I’ll be doing to raise awareness for Raynaud’s Disease can be found here

Is anyone else a Raynaud’s sufferer? And if you’re also a fan of Turtle Doves gloves do let me know below! How do you keep yourself warm? Please feel free to leave any comments below if you have any questions about Raynaud’s whatsoever, or I’m a Tweet or Instagram message away if you ever need support with Raynaud’s Disease. Additionally, for more information please do stop by SRUK as well, the charity for Raynaud’s and Scleroderma. 

xoxo

Just a disclaimer to add that I purchased these gloves myself and this is not a sponsored post. All views, as always, are my own, and own alone!

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Raynaud’s Awareness Month

Raynaud’s Awareness Month

February is Raynaud’s Awareness Month however, for Raynaud’s sufferers, every single day, no whatever the month, is a Raynaud’s day because there is no cure. And yet Raynaud’s Phenomenon is a condition thought to affect up to ten million people in the UK and it can be incredibly painful both physically and emotionally. 

Raynauds Awareness Month takes place every February, one of the coldest months of the year, to raise awareness of this disorder and offers help and advice not only to sufferers but also to their friends and families too. 

In 2018, Raynaud’s Awareness Month called on everyone to #KnowRaynauds and share when and where you had your #FirstFlare in order to create greater awareness and understanding of the condition. 

raynaud's disease

What Is Raynaud’s Disease?

Raynaud’s is the constriction of blood vessels in response to a decrease in temperature, and/or stress. This narrowing of the blood vessels can be extremely painful, accompanied with a burning or tingling sensation. 

The symptoms can cause an extremely visible three-way colour change to the affected area, which can include any site on the body. The hands and feet are most commonly affected, but the ears, nose, and tongue, among other sites, can be affected also.

Raynaud’s can be present on its own, where it is called Primary Raynaud’s, or it can appear along with another medical condition, like an autoimmune disease such as Scleroderma (that I was diagnosed with last year), or Lupus etc where it is known as Secondary Raynaud’s.

Drug treatments can target symptom suppression, however the more potent the drug, the more intense the side effect. If Raynaud’s symptoms are not managed correctly, digital ulceration, gangrene, and even amputation can result. 

Examples of mild Raynaud’s Disease the day I wrote this blog post
raynaud's disease

Future Raynaud’s Posts & Support

Due to the fantastic response, this Instagram photo I posted had for my beautiful friend Paige Joanna’s Christmas Confidence campaign, that I followed up with this blog post, I’ve decided to start a specific series for the purposes of sharing and raising Raynaud’s events and awareness throughout the year. So if you are already suffering from Raynaud’s Disease, or think you are and would love support, please do get involved, so that together we can raise awareness of this debilitating condition.

In the meantime, whilst I start creating this series, please include any additional comments you think are important for awareness and education purposes. In addition please do also share this post with anyone, anywhere, who you think it will have an impact on.

Once I start the series the posts will be linked and updated in this post for easy reference but I also have a dedicated Raynaud’s section to my blog right here. I’ll be discussing everything from a much-loved fingerless glove company I’m reviewing, to natural therapies I love to add to how I manage this condition day to day.

Meanwhile here are some very useful links to hold dear. A huge thank you to everyone who engages with this post. It would mean the absolute world to me and the many other people that suffer from Raynaud’s. And a big thank you my darling friend Paige Joanna for these photos! 

Raynaud’s Disease Resources:

Raynaud’s Disease Blog Posts so far: 

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Losing Friends Due To Chronic Illness

Losing Friends Due To Chronic Illness

One day last spring I was sat sipping chamomile tea in a beautiful hotel with one of my dearest friends with the melodic sound of Chopin (requested) deeply vibrating into my soul, the soothing mellow taste of the most exquisite tea, and it was one of the first times for a while I had felt so at peace. During our huge heart to heart, so many deep topics were discussed, but the one that was spoken about at length was loss of relationships, all of kinds, and forgiveness.  

I would describe 2018 as a year of loss in so many ways and I thought it would be an interesting topic to discuss and reflect on.

For there are the predictable losses that one has to come to terms with when you receive a life-changing diagnosis. Be it from the loss of the day to day activities once so easily achieved, to the loss of expectations, hopes and dreams and so it goes on. But the loss of friendships or relationships? Surely that’s the one thing that in the midst of the deep physical and emotional turmoil that would stay a constant? You would naturally assume that friends and relations would draw closer at such deeply vulnerable times, but actually, it can be a time where many drift away instead.

Understanding Chronic Illness 

As my discussion developed with my friend, we discussed the nature of people’s understanding of chronic illness. As a result, I surmised, on thinking and reflecting on the subject this deeply, that I believe it has something to do with the lack of commonly understood rituals for persistent stress or sustained grief.

Though deeply uncomfortable to discuss and think about, from my own experience, humans understand the finality of death better than sustained illness. As S. Kelley Harrell says: “Miraculously recover or die. That’s the extent of our cultural bandwidth for chronic illness.” Because for death there are religious and cultural conventions for observing the passing of loved ones. People attend ceremonies or memorial events, they send cards and flowers, and perhaps even make donations to the person’s favourite charity. 

But the same cannot be said about chronic illness where the “loss” isn’t final and the emotional agony is ongoing. There are no cards that acknowledge when an illness becomes a continual challenge unless of course, it’s for a hospital stay or operation. There are no ceremonies for when that individual’s life is changed immeasurably. We simply have no rituals for the sustained grief that keeps on giving or the agony that becomes a way of life. And this therein I think lies the problems for accepting the loss of friendships or relationships due to chronic illness.

Contrarily, I’m sure equally you do remember only too well an initial period of concern and compassion from many around you. Those that couldn’t do enough for you at first, and that helped, but then this help and support dwindled away. Meanwhile, your anguish and pain went on just the same and you had to cope with it alone.

Distance becomes increasingly more evident and that leads to infrequent visits and messages until it becomes all too apparent that the pain, the shackles of your suffering, has made them too uncomfortable to be present anymore. Because as discussed above, a sustained illness or grief, as perpetuated by our health-adoring, goal obsessed society, doesn’t sit well for many. And so their need to create distance ultimately stems for their own survival and peace. Ultimately: many people cannot deal with this and they don’t want to deal with this. That’s just the truth of it. 

Letting Go & Forgiveness

Growing up I had what I call a “forest of friends”. I always had a huge circle of compassionate friends, sassy friends, good time pals and those that shared my own hobbies and passions. And many of these relationships have been sustained since childhood.  

With my first diagnosis of a Pituitary Tumour at University, many of the “forest of friends” I had were so kind in their support. Because as life-changing as this diagnosis was, it was at least an illness where the main symptoms can be treated enough over time to lead a somewhat ‘normal life’. However since then, what I didn’t realise, was how much this condition would weaken my body over 10 years and lead me to my present-day state.

And over this period of time, I developed my own business, I completed two degrees and I was simply known as ‘Georgie with the one invisible illness’. That was inspirational to many. I had an alluring shiny edge despite my illness. But in February, with my latest diagnosis, everything changed. A diagnosis of one of the most serious autoimmune diseases meant a complete change in every single aspect of my life. Because of this, many fell away almost instantaneously which has been as heartbreaking as the diagnosis itself. 

After months and months of ruminating on this here’s what I truly believe, and this is so, so important to this whole discussion: not everyone who leaves you has a bad heart. They are not all bad people. At all. It’s that simply not everyone has the same heart as you. As a result, not everyone you think will be there for you will be. Even if you have been there for them in their times of need. It’s, unfortunately, that simple.

So much of what we are going through is invisible and the people that leave us at this time might simply not understand. They may not be strong enough to watch you suffer and brave enough to walk that long road with you and willing enough to make sacrifices to support you. And what’s also important to understand is that none of this has anything to do with you. I look in the eyes of my family and best friends and I know so much that to be true. So often they say: ‘I feel so helpless because I hate to see you suffer and there’s nothing I can do to make it better/I don’t know what to do to make you better’. 

On the other hand, it may actually be that they DO understand. Perhaps only too well, but it could be a trigger for something they have either experienced in their own life or witnessed in someone else. Whatever the reasons may be, the only thing that has helped me is to practise forgiveness. Forgive those who do not understand. If for no other reason than you deserve peace. And because resentment and any bitterness will only make you feel physically and emotionally worse.

For as many people as I’ve lost, other relationships I have in my life have deepened in simply unimaginable ways and I have also been blessed by new relationships entering my life with individuals who connect so vibrantly and deeply to my heart and soul. But gone is the “forest of friends” and instead replaced by a blooming garden of truly angelic souls. 

So why is it still so heartbreaking to be forgotten and left by so many others? People who you may have once connected with, loved and helped so deeply. It has taken me months to understand it but now I have accepted it. It’s simply that we cannot expect everyone to meet the new us and to accept the challenges of chronic illness. And with this we simply have to accept that we must let others go.

Letting go is a part of life but with chronic illness and pain that teaching acquires a whole new depth. As heartbreaking as it is, letting go is often the most healing action you can take. Change in itself, chronic illness or not, is inevitable in any case. So just as our lives shift and evolve, we too change and grow, and so must the people we share it with.

Self-Compassion 

The last part to this post I felt was really important to discuss is self-compassion and self-love. Without a doubt, the hardest part about living with a chronic illness, whatever that might be, is feeling like you don’t know yourself anymore, and feeling like a stranger in your own body as it transforms beyond your control. And during a period where your life is changing rapidly, and your relationships are changing too, fundamentally you have to learn to accept your condition and you have to learn to love yourself extra hard. You have to be your own best friend.

Grief and chronic illness, unfortunately, goes hand in hand. Heartbreak comes in many different forms. So instead of focusing on the heartbreak of losing loved-ones to your chronic pain and mystifying illness, trust the process of letting go, and with that have deep self-compassion for yourself, them too in letting go, and know that those meant to be will stay.

Self-compassion is a truly complex subject alone. It’s easy to like ourselves when things are going well in our lives. We feel vibrant, competent, fun, and can see the endless possibilities life has to offer. However when we’re struggling with illness, or experiencing something similar, our self-esteem can plummet. Through this, we may see ourselves as unlovable, isolated and stuck but please know it’s far better to be in the presence of those that deeply love and care for us no matter where we are in life and what is happening, than those who can only love one part. 

I could add so much more to this post but one final point on self-compassion is to know that whilst most will fall away naturally, it’s also okay to outgrow people organically ourselves. We are who we are right now and it’s so important to never shrink ourselves to be accepted. I’ve equally had to end so many friendships where I felt disrespected and small. Or I’ve felt empty in the presence of some and felt isolated and lonely in a crowd. From my own experience dealing with the end of these relationships was more traumatic. 

But no matter how these relationships end, remember that we’re all human and therefore fallible. Letting go of any bitterness and accepting what is has been so liberating. I can think of so many people full of compassion for others who find it hard to turn it back on themselves.  We need to become our own advocate, both to others and to ourselves. You are always, always enough and I’ll finish this post with a quote that stresses just that.

PS: For further reading two posts that helped me so very much other than this discussion with my friend is this article by Chronic Curve and this article by Princess in The Tower.

“Pain diminishes us, and it is so important to remember, in the midst of pain and everything that pain takes from you, that still … you are enough. You are enough just as you are. You are worthy of love and kindness. You are enough. And you have enough.” ― Steve Leder

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Paige Joanna Christmas Confidence Campaign: Raynaud’s Disease

Paige Joanna Christmas Confidence Campaign: Raynaud’s Disease

(WARNING: After the first photos there’s some photos of my hands with Raynaud’s Disease just in case anyone doesn’t want to see that)

Today I’m so proud (tho a lil nervous) to post a photo of something I’m deeply self-conscious about for my soul-friend Paige Joanna’s Christmas Confidence campaign.

I’ve decided to highlight my Raynaud’s Disease with thanks to these photos by Paige as it’s the only part of my illness that is visible alongside the other endless invisible symptoms.

raynaud's disease

With Raynaud’s, the body overreacts to an introduction of cold temperatures and over-constricts blood vessels in the skin, consequentially reducing the amount of blood that can flow to hands and feet (and rarely the nose and ears). This results in numbness or extreme sensation of cold wherein the hands or feet turn white and blue. As blood flow returns to the affected areas, the skin may flush red again and even throb. Below are some examples of my hands with Raynaud’s Disease.

In the U.K. 1 in 6 are affected by some degree of Raynaud’s Disease, and 1 out of 100 with Raynaud’s have an underlying condition associated with it that could be Lupus, Rheumatoid Arthritis or Sjogren’s syndrome. For me, I am 1 in 10 of those who have Scleroderma a chronic auto-immune disease.

So I want to highlight how important it is to not feel alone. Even though this is something I am plagued with every day, I suffered for years with doctors ignoring it, only to mention it to a specialist in a different field who essentially saved my life with my final diagnosis of Scleroderma. Discovering the recent statistics make me realise that despite how common this condition seems to be it is rarely spoken about. And so Raynaud’s Disease is definitely something I will post more about very soon. With more details about the conditions and how I manage it. The most important thing to remember is that whilst the auto-immune risk is so, so rare it’s very important to book in an appointment with your GP if you are suffering with Raynaud’s Disease just to be sure.

To finish this post I want to leave a few links that are fantastic if you need any help or support with Raynaud’s Disease. And meanwhile please don’t forget to support my beautiful friend Paige Joanna‘s Christmas Confidence Campaign.

Raynaud’s Disease Resources:

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