Chronic Babe 101: How To Craft An Incredible Life Beyond Illness by Jenni Grover is an awesome resource for any woman with chronic illness. Jenni writes with honesty and spunk on difficult topics that anyone with chronic illness can relate to.
The book is set up like a course with assignments, pop quizzes, and tons of resources to assist us with just about any aspect of living with the challenges of our health conditions.
Though this book looks small, it covers a huge amount of territory. It will take time, and thought to work through it. There is just so much meat here to read, digest, and implement in our lives. As I work through this book, I keep finding gems of wisdom, and insight into myself. I find myself really looking at my beliefs, self-talk, relationships, boundaries, and communication skills.
Chronic Babe Lessons 1-5
The first lesson starts with acceptance vs giving up or fighting against ourselves. This is a really foundational topic.
Lesson 2 is about the why, and how of changing our bad habits.
Lesson 3 covers negative thinking and the why, and how of changing it to more positive. I love the thought of taking something negative like, “I don’t have the money or energy to go to the movies, but I can afford to rent one.”
Lesson 4 is about setting healthy boundaries. Jenni starts this chapter off with this: “Women often let their boundaries go all blurry, and that’s dangerous. We’re conditioned to satisfy the needs, demands, and expectations of others–and in doing so, we often let them into our heads and our physical spaces.” For me, this has led to putting my own needs last every time, until 5 years ago when my body just made me quit living like that.
The 5th lesson covers learning to love our bodies. It talks about befriending our illnesses, and improving our self-talk.
Chronic Babe Lessons 6-10
Starting with the 6th lesson, the focus shifts from ourselves to discussing how to build our support team. This includes our care providers, family, friends, and people in our neighborhoods who we interact with.
Lesson 7 builds on Lesson 6 by covering how to strengthen and repair relationships with friends, family, and significant others.
Lesson 8 covers everything career and education related. I haven’t read this chapter yet, but I’m sure it’s just as meaty as the others.
“Become a Talented Communicator” is Lesson 9’s topic. How to communicate our experiences without whining. How to use “I” statements, and the difference between being assertive, and being aggressive.
Last but not least, the final lesson is all about organization of medications, medical records, etc. This was actually the first chapter I read. Every chronic babe needs these tips just to keep track of everything we need to.
Finally, if you’ve just been diagnosed, and are feeling overwhelmed start with Lesson 10. If you’ve been doing this for awhile, pick whatever topic hits home for you right now. Jenni has created this awesome resource for you, and I think it needs to be on every chronic babes’ nightstand or bookshelf. I give it 5 stars!! I think you will, too. Check out the book for yourself here.
Till next time, Kathy