14 December 2014

COPING WITH A CHRONIC ILLNESS DURING THE HOLIDAYS By Bonnie Roof



Bonnie Roof, Our Newest Contributor to the Overcoming With God blog!

Welcome to our newest Angel, Bonnie Roof, who is sharing her first post of encouragement with us on the OWG blog!


The holidays are upon us again. For many people, they are some of the most joyous days of the year - for others, they bring added stress that complicates chronic health issues. Here are some tips that might alleviate some of the stress:

(1) Engage in 30 minutes of walking or related activities and 8 hours solid sleep daily.

(2) Make a list of the most important things and make them your priorities.

(3) Take care of your own needs first as it is easy to become overwhelmed with expectations and 
      demands, otherwise.

(4) Make time to take care of yourself.

(5) Unrealistic expectations add stress - as demands on your time increase, do more for yourself 
      instead of less.

(6) Conserve your energy and focus on your health, the most important thing.

(7) What special gifts and skills can you share with others? Do you paint, knit, bake, play/sing music, craft, write? Often, little is needed to create the perfect gift - many times, it truly is the thought that counts. Perhaps there is a home-bound friend for whom a visit and word of encouragement would be the perfect gift. 

(8) Make both verbalizing to God and writing down thoughts of gratefulness - a daily occurrence - 
      for blessings both large and small. There are blessings to be found even in the midst of 
      chronic pain - you may be surprised at the number when you make it a habit to daily list new blessings a gratefulness journal is good for this. Expressions of gratefulness promote good 
      feelings which can help take one's mind off his/her pain and feelings of despair and 
      hopelessness.


"God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble". Psalm 46:1 (ESV)

The holidays are about giving thanks, sharing with family and friends, spreading joy to others and finding peace and God's gift of love to us and sharing them with others!!


What tips have you found to ease the stress and amplify the holiday enjoyment for one who struggles with a chronic illness - whether it be yourself or a friend or family member? 

Giveaway: Box of several recent release books by best selling authors!!!        

59 comments:

  1. BONNIE, Welcome to OWG!!! We are SO glad to have you on our team!!! Big hugs!!!

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    1. CARRIE, thank you!! I'm blessed to be a part of such an inspiring blog - with some of my favorite people!!

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  2. Wonderful and practical advice, Bonnie. It applies to many circumstances. Hoping you and all those who battle chronic pain and illness find a peaceful balance during this busy season. Blessings!

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    1. KATHLEEN, thank you!! A close relationship with God helps one find that peaceful balance!!

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  3. Hi Bonnie! Good to see you here as one of the OWG ladies. And what a beautiful photo of you above! I thought the tips you shared were great. It's SO important for those who suffer from chronic illnesses to take good care of themselves so that they can enjoy the Holidays as well. Very good advice! Thank you for sharing! :)

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    1. ANGI - thank you for your sweet comments. I'm thrilled to be a part of OWG and so glad you stopped by!!

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  4. BONNIE, we are thrilled that you have decided to join the OWG Blog with us! I know everyone will be blessed by your words of wisdom and encouragement! I have already gleaned much from this post. Thank you!

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    1. DIANA - thank you so much!! I'm thrilled to be here, glad you found a helpful tip in my post and pray that my words will always speak only encouragement and inspiration!!

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  5. Hi, Bonnie! I am so glad you have joined the OWG blog! Thank you for sharing this informative and encouraging post. Wishing you comfort and joy this holiday season! Merry Christmas!

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    1. Hi, BRITNEY - I always enjoy your online comments/posts and feel blessed to have you as a friend who helps share Christian books and their writers/authors with others. Thank you for your kind comments - a blessed, joyful and peaceful Christmas season to you!!

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  6. I have several chronic illnesses and am on disability at age 53 and had to stop teaching......ulcerative colitis and fibromyalgia, arthritis w/torn meniscus in knee, migraines, ulnar neuropathy, high bp, and more....I try to keep it simple, but it is frustrating when you "look" well but feel awful. People expect more of you. I have to say no! Rhonda
    nashhall@aol.com

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    1. RHONDA - so glad you stopped by!! Yes - learning to say "no" is an important part of successfully coping with chronic illness, one reason is because people aren't always able to judge one's physical health and abilities by his/her outward appearance. So sorry for all your health issues, saying a prayer for your healing, comfort and peace - right now - and wishing you a blessed Christmas!!

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    2. Rhonda, I get the same comments too, "you look good" or ""you're in pain?, you don't look or act like it".
      Blessings, Tina

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  7. Congratulations Bonnie. It's a great group you are now a part of. Love this bunch. I just deal with my pain through GOD's help and thanking HIM that I'm not worse than I am. There are many who are worse off tho sometimes we forget when having lots of pain. GOD bless all of you OWG girls. Maxie > mac262(at)me(dot)com <

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  8. Hi, MAXIE, thank you so much. I love all the sweet OWG ladies also - such an inspiring, caring and giving group of ladies (their reviews are the "icing on the cake")!! I always love reading your comments, Maxie. Yes, pain is distracting and much harder to bear without God on one's side, I'm so blessed He has every one of my life's trials under control!!

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  9. Welcome, Bonnie! Good health is such a blessing and for so many, is just taken for granted. Illnesses can take you down and sometimes it is so hard to pull oneself back up. Through it all, we must hold on to the fact that God is with us and will see us through. What a blessing!

    mauback55 at gmail dot com

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    1. Thank you, MELANIE!! Amen to each of your comments. Good health IS often taken for granted until a serious illness hits, especially with young people - it may be hard to realize that one could ever be in a position where walking, using one's hands or other simple daily functions would be difficult. I feel that's one of the reasons God gives us lessons to learn through our trials. Yes, such a blessing to have God to lean on!!

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  10. WELCOME to the team Bonnie! Best bunch of ladies you could ever work with!!! You'll fit right in! :)
    Thank you for your helpful and encouraging post. All those things you mentioned are SO important!! I learnt a while back to say 'No' when necessary and discovered that not everyone can live with that word. But those that care and truly love you WILL understand.
    My tips to ease the stress and amplify the holiday fun is to plan, plan, plan!! :) And not just plan, but plan ahead. I started very early this Christmas and feel so much lighter without that 'overwhelming' feeling that holidays can bring on!

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    1. NOELA - I'm thrilled to work with, and love, each of you!! I agree with your comments about saying "no" and the tip about planning ahead is another great one and a necessity for anyone with health issues or limited time.

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  11. Bonnie, it's so wonderful to see you here! These are great tips for us all, not just those dealing with an illness. I'm amazed at how giving and kind and cheerful you are all the time... even in light of your afflictions! I'm so so happy we have gotten to know each other. You are a great blessing!! Welcome to OWG!

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    1. Thank you SO much for taking the time to stop by, MARYLU - I appreciate your sweet comments more than you know. You, and your writing, are always such a blessing and inspiration to me, as well. I will be heading over to your blog shortly - I always look forward to your inspiring posts!!

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  12. Dear Bonnie, Well, I can't say it any better than the ladies above! It's such a joy to see you here. To echo MaryLu, you radiate Christ's giving, enduring Spirit both on the web and in person! You are truly and inspiration and example of how to overcome and be joyful and encouraging NO MATTER WHAT. I often remember the holidays are anything but merry and bright for many. Thank you for addressing this and giving practical helps here. So glad you've found a place to share your heart here on Carrie's blog. Blessings to you all!

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    1. My thanks to you, and all the others, for making me feel so welcome - LAURA!! I appreciate, so much, your sweet comments and your caring enough to stop by. As with MaryLu - you are another of my favorite authors whose friendship I am so blessed to have and one who always encourages and inspires me, both personally and through your beautiful writing!!

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  13. I love how your light shines for our Lord!
    You are such an encouragement to others!!!
    (((((BIG HUGE HUG))))))))))
    God bless you
    Chris

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    1. CHRIS - I'm thrilled to know others see Christ in me, I want always to be that reflection. Thank you so much!! And I must say that you are among those whose "light" shines the brightest and offers the most online encouragement!! Big hug back to you!!

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  14. Congratulations on joining OWG! I'm so glad you made me aware of your post. I am feeling so overwhelmed with stress right now. Your message was like a big hug from God that I truly needed. What I had hoped would be my best Christmas ever is taking a turn in the other direction. Being a caregiver for my mom has been very rewarding but now that she can't remember much it's becoming more stressful. Not to mention other added stress lately. Your post was a balm to spirit. I hope you enjoy a long and wonderful stay here at OWG. Love you! Merry Christmas

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    1. Forgot my email address!
      abookloversretreat(at)yahoo(dot)com

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    2. WANDA- I feel so blessed that this post was an encouragement to you. I know well the stress and frustration of caring for family members with memory problems, as well as other health issues, and am keeping you in my prayers. Please make sure that you care for, and take time for - yourself, so you will be able to continue being there for your mother. Maintaining a close relationship with God through prayer and bible study; listening to Christian music; daily recounting your blessings; the assurance of knowing He has everything under control; spending time with, and corresponding with Christian friends; and keeping in mind the reason for the Christmas season - will each help curb your stress level. Love you too!!

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  15. Hello Bonnie, Thank you so much for your encouraging post. Playing worship music brings comfort and peace. Blessings to you....:)

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    1. Hi, CARYL!! Thank you so much for stopping by and I couldn't agree with you more about playing worship music. I keep it going whenever I am online, in my car and whenever possible - it ALWAYS speaks to my heart and soul. I hope I am never forced to choose between books and music- it would be hard to determine which blesses me more. Blessings to you, as well!!

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  16. BONNIE!!! I just saw this, my friend, and am SO excited to see you here on one of my MOST favorite blogs!! You have SO much to offer your readers, so I am glad to see you sharing the wealth. :)

    And, Carrie, boy you nailed it with the word "angel"!! This woman is a gift from God to sooooooo many people (reminds me of someone else I know ... ;)), that she truly is an angel to me.

    And, Bonnie, to me, you personify #7 on your list because your greatest gifts and talents bless me ALL the time, my friend -- your amazing spiritual insight, your relentless prayer, your incredible encouragement, and one of the biggest hearts I have ever seen -- ALL while being encumbered with your own "chronic illness" and ongoing care-taking of your mom, dad, and your aunt, NOT to mention the scores of friends that you are ALWAYS there for!!

    You are a true blessing, Bonnie Roof, and I thank God that our paths have crossed.

    Love you and LOVED this blog today!
    Julie


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    1. Oh, Julie - you made me cry, in a good way - of course, LOL!! We both have so much of that favorite "P" word of yours. Thank you so much for your beautiful comments!!

      Following your example - I will always pray for God's leading in the words I write, then I will be able to do justice to Carrie, the other amazing ladies on the team here at OWG, it's readers and of course, Him. Your godly spirit blessed me greatly before I ever read the first word of one of your books and it continues to - as well as the words in each of your 11 beautiful,inspiring books. It means so much to me that you enjoyed my post - I love you and thank God for your friendship!!

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  17. Welcome, Bonnie....so happy you are joining the blog. I have been blessed many times by your comments here. These ladies are the best and have chosen well in choosing you. I have dealt with health issues last 2 yrs.....very challenging, and only God gets us through.
    Merry Christmas!

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    1. Hi, Jackie!!

      Thank you for your kind words, I'm touched to know that you have been blessed by my comments!! Yes, God is the only answer for happiness during life's trials. The prayers of my Christian online friends have meant so much to me through my health issues and I'm saying one for you right now, Jackie!!

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  18. Bonnie, what a continued blessing you and your encouraging heart are. Such an example to me of living worship to our God!

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    1. AMANDA - you have such a beautiful way with words, in fact - everything you do is done with beauty, grace and worship. Thank you, I'm blessed to have you as my friend and sister-in-Christ!!

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  19. Hello, I like to make sure we take time to just have some quiet time. Nothing like watching a good Christian/family movie or going for a short road trip just to enjoy some quiet. My husband & I both have chronic pain and it's nice when we can just not do what is needed or expected & sometimes it's just dropping off a treat for a friend who also has health problems that can lift our spirits.. Thanks for the tips Bonnie! dkstevensne AT outlook Dot COm

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    1. Hi, DEANNA!!

      I've always loved road trips - I feel God gave us the beauty of nature not only for the purpose of our enjoyment, but as an avenue of praise to His greatness. And I take joy in seeing as much of this beautiful world as possible.

      Watching an inspiring movie and taking short road trips is a wonderful way to ease some of the stress of pain, as is doing something special for someone else - it truly does lift one's spirit, as you said. Praying for the health issues of both you and your husband, Deanna!!

      Thank you for your comments.

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  20. Thank you for the encouragement !
    Linda

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    1. You're welcome, LINDA!! I'm keeping you and your family in my prayers!!

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  21. BONNIE it's so wonderful to know that you are a part of OWG now. Many lives are going to be blessed by you and your words of encouragement and by this timely post.

    This year I am finding myself dreading doing all that I usually do at Christmas.I think I am going to cut back from the normal routine. Thank you for all of these tips and the reminder that we have to take care of ourselves. That one had my name on it, I have a hard time doing that. :-)

    Love you so much Bonnie and I want you to know how very blessed I am to call you my dear, sweet friend!! (((HUGS)))

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    1. Oh, TERESA!! I'm so blessed to be a part of OWG with you sweet ladies and it's my goal to always offer encouragement, something we ALL need.

      I have come to the realization that not only am I am no longer physically able to do all the things I once did in preparation for Christmas, but neither is it all necessary - except in my own expectations. Please take care of yourself so that you can be there for your family and can TOTALLY enjoy all the wonder and beauty of Christmas and the Christ Child.

      Love and hugs back to you, my sweet friend - I'm blessed by your friendship, as well!!

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  22. Bonnie this is so important, and so relevant to millions of others. Thank you for be a persistent encourager of others. You are brave enough to step out and encourage others and make new friendships here online. Your faithful words mean so much to so many. May you be filled with joy as you give encouragement to others!

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    1. Your words and your gentle, godly spirit always speak to me in volumes and deeply, ANNE, thank you for that!! I always love your blog posts. Yes, encouraging has at least a two-fold purpose, if not more - as it brings me joy and blessings also.

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  23. These are good tips. Sometimes we put the most pressure on ourselves to keep doing what we've always done even though we don't feel up to it any longer. We can give ourselves permission not to do everything! I read a devotional that emphasized we remember that Christmas isn't about US, we need to remember it is about Christ.

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    1. Thank you for stopping by, PAM!!

      You "hit the nail on the head" - Christmas is about Christ and His love for each of us, everything else pales in importance. Appreciating His grace, love and gift of salvation comes first - everything else is secondary.

      Blessings for a Christ-filled Christmas for you and your family!!

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  24. Sometimes just being there for someone can be such a personal & appreciated gift.

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    1. Thank you for that, MARY!! SO true. Knowing one is loved, appreciated and cared for is such a blessing - having someone care enough to be physically present during one's trials is a even greater gift!!

      Christmas blessings to you and yours!!

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  25. Those were all wonderful tips Bonnie. As a healthcare provider I echo what you say about taking care of yourself first. It sounds selfish, but, if you don't you will not be able to help others the way you otherwise could. Great list for everyone!
    - jking23(at)kent(dot)edu

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    1. Amen, JKING!! Thank you for your kind comments and thanks for taking the time to stop by and read my post!!

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  26. Bonnie it's great to see you here. My prayers to you and all others dealing with chronic pain and illness. Thank you so much for the wonderfully informative post. It's so easy to get overwhelmed during the holidays thinking we have to say yes to all the requests from others. I just have to remind myself to slow down and not try to be everything to everybody. The tips you have listed and I will be following them. Thank you for sharing your beautiful picture with us. You truly are a lovely person. Deanne Cnnamongirl(at)aol(dot)com

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  27. Hi Bonnie, it is so good to see you here. Thanks for sharing such encouraging words.

    I have been in chronic pain for 20 years and have many other health problems that prevent me from working (on disability), doing the things I so enjoy. Over the years I have learned to say "no", to pace myself and not expect the same level of activity as before--it's just not possible. I also plan ahead, I do my Christmas shopping online as I just can't physically go shopping, usually try to have it done before Thanksgiving. This year I started even earlier as I had surgery Dec. 8, but since everything is already here and packaged there is no stress. Hubby helps so much, he is cooking Christmas dinner this year with the help of our son/daughter-in-law.

    These things are all important, but with God's help I am able to cope, He and I have come through some tough times and He is ever present.

    Blessings,Tina

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    1. Hi, TINA!!

      What a wise lady you are in planning ahead, something Noela does also - less stress over Christmas will help you heal from your surgery more quickly also and I hope your healing will be even faster than expected. What a blessing to have a hubby that can - and will - cook, so glad he and other family members are preparing Christmas dinner. Having family members that understand your capabilities and limits, and go the "extra mile" to help, is another blessing that helps alleviate some of the stress of chronic illness. Trusting that God has your situation under control and relying on His help and comfort is the ultimate "tip" and stress relief for one with a chronic illness.

      Thanks for your comments!! Saying a prayer for your complete healing!!

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  28. Dear Bonnie,
    Well, this is my second attempt at posting. The first vanished somewhere into never never land.

    I really like points 7 and 8. Thankfulness! Yes! God blesses us in so many ways and yet, at busy times like Christmas when we should be focussed on Him, we get distracted or busy. Taking time to stop and be thankful is crucial. I believe that God often then chooses to bless you with even greater joy in the season and in your life in general!

    I find that making time for prayer is a key thing, also. I am blessed through my chronic illnesses in that God has given me plenty of time to encourage and pray for others.

    Any ideas of things, big and small, for us to be grateful for? In a future blog post, perhaps ;) ?

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    1. LOL, funny how comments vanish - MEGAN!! I've had a few of my own disappear.

      I agree that one must make it a priority to make Christ the priority of the Christmas season - otherwise, it becomes too easy to get caught up in the busyness of Christmas activities. His love and salvation is the gift for which we should be most grateful, our blessings are multiplied by any and all time spent in prayer, gratefulness, worship and serving Him.

      You are one of the best encouragers and prayer partners I know, Megan - always shining His light and spreading joy - your middle name certainly fits - in the midst of your own numerous chronic health issues and I love you for that. Continued prayers for you - your friendship is a true blessing, thank you!! And yes - I think there will be a future blog post on gratefulness.

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  29. Hi Bonnie!! So great to read your first post on here. I'm so excited for this opportunity for you and for everyone encouraged by your words and experiences. Thanks for sharing with us. Many blessings to you, my friend, during this holiday season and always!!

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    1. I'm so happy that you stopped by, SAVANNA!! I love the posts on your own blog and your sweet, gracious, humble spirit. Thank you so much for your kind words and your friendship. Blessings to you and yours - as well, and prayers for your writing!!

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  30. I too, have a chronic illness. If I overdo them I become frustrated and worn down. I've had to let some things go. Now with the hip surgery, I'm limited to how much I can do in the kitchen. Any little thing I do, I find my energy dropping dramatically. This is hard on me because I love doing!

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    1. Hi, REGINA!!

      I know just how you feel - it's not easy to accept and acknowledge that one is no longer physically able to accomplish many of the things he/she once did. However, as you mentioned - "overdoing" causes frustration and stress, which in turn - causes fatigue and accomplishing even less, as well as less ability to fully enjoy the things you CAN do. Asking for help can bring blessings to others wanting to help you, perhaps you also have skills you can utilize while sitting down that would not only bless others but also bless and promote positive feelings for you, releasing some of your stress and frustration.

      Concentrating on the things you are able to do instead of the things you can't may also help you maintain a positive attitude, thereby reducing even more frustration and stress. Conquering your frustration, a reduction in stress and getting the rest you need may help you heal more quickly and completely from your hip surgery.

      Thanks for your comments - I'll say a prayer for complete recovery from your surgery without complications, an increase in energy, overcoming your frustration and resulting stress. Maintaining a close relationship with God through prayer, bible study, Christian music, etc. and trusting that He has one's health issues under control will also help relieve frustration and stress as well as further an acceptance of one's situation.

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