Author Archives: Allison Ross

Choosing When and How to Talk About My Disease

“Do you want to get dinner this weekend?” It’s a simple question with a complex answer for a chronic disease patient. What time will we eat? At which restaurant? Does the menu suit my needs? Do I have the budget for it this month? Will I have the spoons…

I Just Want to Be Strong

I’m in the gym, on minute 17 of the stair-stepper machine, exhausted and desperately watching the timer count up to 20. That’s today’s goal: nonstop stepping on levels five and six for 20 minutes. This session is bookended by a 10-minute treadmill warmup and cooldown to get my heart rate…

Life Is Easier in the Summer

When the weather is nice, I tend to forget I’m sick. The sun is shining, the yard is green and inviting, and I don’t even have to put on shoes to enjoy it all. (In fact, according to the grounding technique, it might be healthier not to!) There are…

Healing by Houseplant

Summer mornings in my house are deliciously slow. Around 8 a.m., the dogs know our first task is to go outside and tend to the plants. I fill a watering can and make the rounds: vegetables, herb garden, succulents on the porch, and tea plants on the patio. The better…

After 8 Years of Remission, I No Longer Hate Math

I wish I could go back in time and tell my middle-school self that one day, math would be a positive thing. Algebra, trigonometry, and even physics felt alien to me. No matter how I tried, my brain did not function in a way that allowed me to conceptualize anything…

Finding Peace Amid the Contradictions of Chronic Illness

Receiving a chronic illness diagnosis can be frustrating and full of apparent dichotomies. After years of searching for answers, a diagnosis is a welcome end, but it also signals a beginning.  The doctors pronounced my disease to be granulomatosis with polyangiitis (called Wegener’s granulomatosis when I first…