Autoimmune Disease Support Group

Our  Mascots are Marlie and Wilson!  

Meeting Minutes:  June 7th and 21st 2014

June 21st, 2014

Welcome New Member: Carmella!

Ice Breaker: Give me ONE WORD that describes your chronic illness

Here are some of the responses: Growth, Opportunity, Selfish, Misunderstood, Fearful, Unknown, Slow-motion

Do you relate to any? All of them? Us too!

Topic: Each member got the opportunity to discuss how they came to their ONE word and the conversation just flowed from there! Here are some of the things that were said

One member feels that they get in trouble for not asking for help, but also feels they get in trouble for asking for help!

One member is on a new medication and feeling crappy (or not doing so well ;) ) from side effects

One member has come to the conclusion that slower is better, “it’s not a race”.

One member may have Lymes Disease (we hope she will have results by next meeting as we are worried!)

One member shared that at a certain point she felt like she could do everything but ignored the illness. Now she acknowledges what she can do with illness.

One member shares that the Shop Rite in Hillsborough has a Dietician and the service is Free! She will go over food plan and supplements, Rachael Simpers. Click link for info:  (Whole Foods is said to have this service as well.) 

One member is having mixed feelings about going out on disability stating that finances are extremely stressful and feels constant worry. 

Members discuss few full-time jobs are offering pensions these days. 

Some members touch on the fact that they have been weeding out toxic relationships and have read the recent blog “Traits of Toxic People” stating that it was very relevant to them. 

One member states her sister-in-law got diagnosed with an autoimmune disease 4 or 5 months ago, she reached out in support but got no response as of yet.

One member is on Otezla for Psoriatic Arthritis, click link to read up:

Next Meeting: Saturday, July 5th, 2014 2:00 pm at the SAME place as always, but now known by a new name! Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital - Somerset  (formerly known as Somerset Medical Center) 110 Rehill Ave, Somerville, NJ 08876 

Ice Breaker Will Be: “What is the one activity you would do if your illness would magically allow it?” 

Topic: Setting Boundaries for yourself. What worked for us 20 years ago, or 10 years ago may no longer work for us. We are always changing and growing. How can we express the need for a new boundary in a way that we can get our needs met, thereby reducing stress on our bodies and our emotional selves.

R.S.V.P. via text msg or email appreciated! Hope to See You There!



June 7th, 2014

Ice Breaker: If you could eat only one food for every meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?  Answers were varied from "salad" to "eggplant rollitini" and much more!

Topic: The Power of the Words We Use: noticing the negative language in our head and converting it to positive language

We’ve previously talked about the importance of gratitude in our lives. Several months ago, group members received “Gratitude Journals” so that they can list 5 things each day that they were thankful for (anything counts! As small as a great cup of coffee, as meaningful as family and friends).

Equally as important as gratitude in taking back your life from your chronic illness is positivity, which is optimism expressed verbally, which leads to hope. (Gosh this is deep stuff!)

Some of the negative comments that are expressed by many of us each day are:

I feel so crappy today

I never sleep well

I always wake up 5 or 6 times per night

I ache all over

Every time I eat away from home I get irritable bowel syndrome

We are telling the universe how we are, and the universe will comply! It would make us look and feel crazy if the opposite were true!

If you change the dialogue, you change the outcome…. Another way to say that is, to change the outcome, you must change your dialogue.

I gave the example of how previously you members know that I coined the term “crap-o-meter” when describing how I felt on any given day. The higher the number, the crappier I felt.

Then I realized that my internal dialogue had developed some bad habits! Thinking about how crappy I feel can only bring me more crappy feeling! If you subscribe to the notion that "what you think about you bring about," then why would I choose to think about how crappy I am feeling?

Perhaps I could express how I feel in a more positive way… “I am doing better”… better than what? Better than before? Better than yesterday? Does this feel like a lie? Then modify it and say “I’ve been better!” Can you see how the word “better” is in both of the positive sentences? “I’ve been better.” Means that you wish you felt better, but implies that you don’t. So it’s a true statement with a positive slant.

Take each of your negative statements and work on ways of expressing things in a more positive way.

I can change my crap-o-meter to a wellness-meter. So, a 6/10 on the “crap-o-meter” would then become a 4/10 on the wellness-meter! Both express that I am having a bad day, but, it gets me to view how I am feeling using positive terms.

We also discussed combining our efforts of Gratitude with the Positive Language to boost the benefits.

“Thank you for letting me sleep better last night!” “Thank you for only waking up 2x last night!” “I’m sleeping better then I have in a while!” Repeating these statements may provide better sleep, where the old pattern of “I never sleep! I wake up every hour on the hour!” will only bring you more of the same!

‘I’m so appreciative that my health has improved! My wellness-meter has gone from a 3 to a 6!”

The blog “What Snoopy Has To Teach Us” was mentioned here as it focused on how “Happiness is a choice”.

Some of the positive statements we came up with to replace the negative are:

“I’m not doing well today” or “I have been better

“I hope I sleep better tonight”

“I am so thankful I slept most of the night”

“I’ve had better days”

“Hopefully this time I will be able to enjoy my food and be OK”

Open Forum:

One member had pneumonia since last meeting, stated it started as what “felt like a bad cold”. The antibiotics came with bad side effects of diarrhea for days and days! We hope this member is doing better!  ;)

One member shares that a blog she once enjoyed has become very negative and that readers were posting comments noticing the negativity.

PBS had a documentary on “Happiness” and what makes people happy all over the world.  another link for more info: 

Next Meeting Date: Saturday, June 21st, 2014

Ice Breaker: Give me ONE WORD that describes your chronic illness

Topic: Will flow from the ice breaker! Come see where it takes us!