Monday, December 23, 2013

Happy Holidays And Epic Giveaways

Hey, everyone!  I figured I would post one last time before I go off the grid for the holidays. 

I’m excited to share our holiday card this year, our first annual, for those who didn’t get one via snail mail. 

I’m also super excited to announce that many of the products/companies I highlighted in my holiday gift post came through with some great giveaways for my readers.  

Here’s what I’ve got:

1.       A signed, personalized copy of “So Young” by Daniel Malito

4.      An E-certificate worth $35 from Road ID

So here’s how the giveaway is going to work: To enter, comment on this post, share which item you would like and why.  The contest is open until January 10, 2014 at 12 a.m.  Winners will be randomly selected, and will be announced in my first post of 2014.

Again, Happy Holidays, everyone.  Catch you all in 2014!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Vote For Me For Your Favorite Disruptive Woman In Health Care

I created a video for a contest by Disruptive Women In Health Care.

Now’s your chance to vote for your favorite disruptor.

I would be honored if you voted for me. 

Follow the link below, click on my name, and like and share the video:  

The video with the most likes, shares, tweets, and pins wins a $400 Amazon gift card, which would really help me with my books for school for next semester.

The last day to vote is December 18th, 2013.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Some Of My Favorite (Chronically Ill) Things For This Holiday Season

I had intended to post this before the unexpected death of my grandfather, but didn’t get the chance.  So I am posting it now so it is hopefully still timely.

With Chanukah starting the day after Thanksgiving this year, it was a rush to get gifts, and I was short on both time and ideas.

But I did have some time to brainstorm and come up with some great gift ideas for yourself or someone you know who has a chronic illness.  

So here goes:

12. Miamica inner booties (

This isn’t explicitly chronic illness related, but it is winter related.  I found these inflatable inserts for boots.  They keep your boots shapely.  The thing I like about these, besides the cute design, is that they keep the natural shape of the boot rather than stretch them like some wood or plastic inserts might. 

11. EOS lip balm and hand lotion (

 This also isn’t explicitly chronic illness related, but it is winter related.  I’ve been wanting to try EOS lip balm for awhile because I’ve been intrigued by the circular design.  I’m glad I did.  The lip balm tastes great, is very moisturizing, very easy to use, and comes in a pot that clicks sealed so you don’t have to worry about it coming open in your purse.  I also tried their hand lotion, which has it’s own unique packaging, and it smells great and is lightweight on.   

I’ve had a pair of fingerless gloves for awhile, but just rediscovered them recently and they are really handy for cold hands when you are inside, especially working on a computer.  Can help mitigate Raynaud’s a bit.    

9. Oxo Good Grip products (

I was pretty sure that OXO was an Arthritis Foundation approved product/company.  I am not sure if that is true anymore, but a key component of their products is that they are based on universal design.  My boyfriend’s dad has this great can opener that is so easy for me to use, and of course, it’s an Oxo.

8. Miamica pill holders (

These are super cute.  I have a pink shiny one that says “Take a Chill Pill.”  Unfortunately, they aren’t super arthritis friendly.  They are pretty hard to open, so I don’t use mine that much.  With the strong plastic and the zipper, though, your pills are super secure.  But if you are chronically ill and don’t have problems with your joints, these are great because they are so adorable.  Varieties include the sayings, “My Pills”, “Happy Pills”, “Crazy Pills”, “Happy Hour”, “Chill Pill”, “Love is the Drug”, “Stay Calm”, “Take a Chill Pill”, “Hangover Drugs”, and “Drugs”.  These are also great for people who aren’t chronically ill.

7.  Apple IPad Mini (

My boyfriend bought me an IPad Mini for getting my PhD.  I didn’t really know I wanted one until I had it.  Honestly, if I could do everything on it and ditch my computer, I totally would.  I can do almost anything on it.  And it is light weight, which makes it great for school and traveling.  The touch screen is super great if you have joint problems, as it’s much easier on your fingers and hands than regular computer keys.

6.  Books by and about the chronically ill

I can never read enough books by and about chronically ill people.  On my list to read over winter break:

Battle for Grace” by Cynthia Toussaint

Chronic Resilience” by Danea Horn

Knocking on Death’s Door” by Katy Butler

So Young” by Daniel Malito

I am sure there are others I am missing, so if you know of others that are relatively new, let me know.

5. Lauren’s Hope (

This is an old favorite.  I’ve had several of Lauren’s Hope medical ID bracelets.  I like the fact that these are pretty, and while they don’t look like a traditional medical alert bracelet, they are noticeable enough.  Although I may have found a new favorite – see number 2. 

4. Sarah Gorman’s Pillbags (

This is another old favorite, but since I blogged about these, Sara has created more patterns of both her Pillfold and Pillpouch.  These are great for travel, really handy, and stylish, to boot.     

3. Sabi (

I don’t actually have any of their products, but these pill cases are pretty ingenious.  I especially like the carafe that doubles as a pill case and the streamlined pill cutter and crusher.

 So these aren’t as cute as Lauren’s Hope, but if you get the interactive version, you can put all of your information online and it can then be accessed by first responders in an emergency.  It allows you to update information constantly, so rather than having to get a new bracelet every time something changes, you simply access your account online and change whatever needs to be changed.  This is totally a case of function over form, but the silicone band comes in a variety of fun colors.  And there are other band types to choose from, as well. 

This is something that I am totally obsessed with right now.  Its main purpose is as a stand so you can use your IPad when you are cooking.  But it is so much more than that.  It is a stand that allows me to do reading for school off of my IPad without having to hold it, can be a stand for your phone for hands free talking, and you can watch movies and stuff on it, too.  It is really great, and perfect for extra bad joint pain days.  I got mine at Barnes & Noble, but Amazon sells it, too, or you can purchase it directly from Prepara.  Definitely worth it if you have an IPad.


I hope that this has given you some ideas for gifts for yourself or others this holiday season.

I would love, love, love it if this post makes it to any of the companies I’ve highlighted, that they might donate a product or two for a giveaway.  So Miamica, EOS, Urban Outfitters, Oxo, Apple, Amazon or Cynthia Toussaint, Danea Horn, Katy Butler, Daniel Malito, Lauren’s Hope, Sara Gorman, Sabi, Road ID, and Prepara, if you are out there reading, please help me offer some great holiday giveaways to my readers.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Reflections On Life, Love, Loss, and Family

My grandfather – Zaydie –passed away last week.

So I jumped on a plane and flew back to Michigan for the funeral.

To understand the importance of my Zaydie, I took only a small carry-on bag.  I have never been a light packer.  When I went on a trip with my grandparents about 10 years ago, we were away for 10 days and I think I took about eight pairs of shoes. 

But when it came down to it, I couldn’t really even think of what to pack.  I just wanted and needed to be with my family.

The last death in my immediate family was when my mother’s father passed away 20 years ago, and I don’t remember much of that.

The response toward my Zaydie’s death was overwhelming.  Because he fought in World War II and had three Purple Hearts and a Bronze Star, the Jewish War Veterans honored him with an honor guard, the largest anyone present had ever seen.

My Zaydie was a quiet and humble man.  He didn’t have an easy life, but he made the most of it, and always had a smile on his face.

The last time I saw him was the day before I moved to New York, and one of the hardest parts of moving was leaving my elderly grandparents, knowing that anything can happen.

The last time I talked on the phone with him, he said I love you, which he didn’t say often.  And I almost started crying and I had to get off the phone.  Maybe he knew.  Maybe I knew.  And maybe, somehow, we both knew.

The last several years had been difficult for him.  He lost many beloved friends and family members.  He had a bad reaction to anesthesia during a hernia operation, and he never quite came back from that.

The last stint in the hospital was from the Sunday before Thanksgiving to Thanksgiving Day.  He had a great week celebrating Thanksgiving and Chanukah with my family, when he was home.  My mom had told me a few hours before he died how much better he was doing. 

He and my grandmother were leaving the house and he collapsed and that was it.

He and my grandmother were married for almost 67 years. 

Though he was 91 and lived a full life, did not make this loss any easier.

It’s easy to feel robbed and cheated, to feel that even though he had 91 years – and I was so lucky to have three living grandparents for 28 years of my life – that we didn’t have enough time, that his death happened too fast, that we didn’t really get a chance to say goodbye. 

There is a hole in our hearts and lives that cannot be filled.

Once again, I am reminded of what is most important in life, and that is the people in our lives and the relationships that we build.  It’s not the things we have, but the company we keep.   

My aunt had this custom bobblehead - it looks just like them - made for my grandparents and it was supposed to be for their anniversary, December 22.  Because my grandfather passed away, we gave it to her Friday night.