Invisible Chaos - a Column by Athena Merritt

lung care, insecurities, employment, managing a disease

Athena, a former journalist and Pennsylvania native, was diagnosed with sarcoidosis in 2002. She’s admittedly addicted to books, Marvel, and football. She tackles life with humor, passion and curiosity, and hopes to reach others through her writing.

Tackle This Year-end Health Checklist Before 2021 Arrives

If your holiday shopping is done, indulge in some goodies and rejoice. Hopefully, I’ll be joining you soon. After that, a year-end health checklist awaits. Many with sarcoidosis require ongoing treatment. When multiple physicians are involved, remembering everything that was prescribed is difficult. One last review before 2021 arrives could…

Battling the Winter Fitness Slump

We’re 13 days from the start of winter. Try telling that to my body, which already has fallen into a seasonal slump.  My knees quit first. After seeing them get away with it, my other joints and muscles followed with a “why bother” attitude. So, my mental warfare to…

Celebrating the Holidays Without the Risk

I used to stubbornly hang on to old ways of doing things. Sarcoidosis cured me of that. It’s why I wasn’t among the millions of Americans traveling for Thanksgiving. I won’t be at Christmas, either.  With COVID-19 cases spiking, forgoing get-togethers continues to be my new way of…

A Healthy Streak I Would Like to Continue

Right around this time last year, I was cobbling together homemade chicken soup to get rid of a cold. My victory was short-lived, because a second wave struck a week later.  That’s long been my M.O. — battling an endless series of colds, viruses, and sinus infections.

Medical Marijuana Costs May Make You Think Twice

Last week, voters successfully nudged a handful of states into expanding opportunities to buy marijuana legally. But there are a few things you should know before leaping into medical marijuana. I was excited when my home state of Pennsylvania finally opened the door to medicinal uses two years ago.

Growth Begins at the Edge of Fear

With Halloween just days away, I’ve been thinking about fear. Not the holding-your-breath, muscle-clenching, waiting-for-horrors to unfold type. But rather the run-of-the-mill scares we’ve pushed down so deep we’ve forgotten they’re even there.  The idea that I’m avoiding fear has been flitting through my mind for months. It became…

Tuning Back Into Happiness

Bad habits usually sneak up on me. I glide along thinking I’m in control until I get hit with the realization that I’m not. That moment arrived for me on a recent morning when I decided to skip the news.  It shouldn’t have been a big deal. But eating…