Who is Chronically Hopeful Char?
My name is Charlene.
I was born and raised in South Africa, lived in Italy for ten years and now call England home. I'm passionate about health, food, fitness, faith, art and gardening. I am a teacher by vocation, but have been housebound with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis since 2015.
I love reading, learning and trying new things and I enjoy sharing the knowledge I gain through blogging and social media.
POF - In 2014 I was diagnosed with Premature Ovarian Failure. It is essentially early menopause. My ovaries just stopped producing eggs and I haven't had a period in years. I had an extremely rough couple of years initially, the menopausal symptoms were intense and constant. It became quite debilitating. I was then put on Hormone Replacement Therapy in 2014 and was doing much better. After 4 years on HRT I decided to ween myself off them and am happy to discover that my menopausal symptoms are not as bad as they were initially. Mainly just a few hot flushes daily.
ME/CFS - In 2015 I was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. It is a complex neurological disease which affects all body systems. It has had many names over the decades, but is now most commonly referred to as ME/CFS. (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome).
I am among the 25% of patients who are severely affected, meaning I am quite often bedridden and cannot leave my house without detrimental effects on my health. My amazing little sister is my full time carer and takes care of everything from preparing supplements, meals and drinks throughout the day to keeping the house in order with the least noise possible. At my worst, she even helps me turn over in bed, helps me dress and makes decisions for me when my cognitive function is impaired.
My most persistent symptoms are a complete lack of power to function normally. But there is also orthostatic intolerance, profound exhaustion and weakness upon exertion (whether mental, emotional or physical exertion), cognitive dysfunction, unrefreshing sleep, shaking and tremors, tingling pins and needles and numbness of the limbs as well as heart palpitations, breathlessness, sensory sensitivities and widespread pain in muscles and joints. These are only the constant companions, there are many more unpredictable symptoms that come and go and they all vary in intensity daily. You can read my ME story here.
I have also been dealing with Histamine Intolerance, self-diagnosed and self-managed, since the start of 2017. The main symptoms being itching, rashes and hives upon eating or drinking high histamine foods, accompanied by hot flushes and burning, swollen joints. It is also triggered by heat and sun exposure as well as intense emotions. You can read all about it over here.
About This Website
ChronicallyHopeful.com is a health and lifestyle blog dedicated to raising awareness of chronic illness and aims to help people adjust to their new normal after diagnosis. From sharing personal stories and experiences to recommending strategies and products that have benefitted me, my aim is always to help and encourage my readers.
So, in a nutshell, Chronically Hopeful is...
- for healthy people to be educated on the struggles of people with invisible chronic illness and hopefully be inspired to help support somebody in their community.
- for patients to find resources, support and encouragement as well as ideas on how to adjust to their new normal.
- for me to share my personal journey through faith, chronic illness, art, home life and more. A sort of online diary recording my progress as I make the best of a life with limits.
You can find the Navigation Menu at the top of each page. I cover a variety of topics which fall under 3 main categories:
- M.E. Awareness - all about Myalgic Encephalomyelitis - includes awareness pictures to share, advocacy resources and campaigns you can participate in.
- Invisible Illness - all about living with chronic illness - includes tips on how to get by, lifestyle adjustments, nutrition for health, guest features and more.
- My Chronic Life - all about my housebound lifestyle - health, faith, art, garden, blogging and more.
Apart from this blog, you can also find me on my 4 social media accounts:
- My Chronic Life Pages: Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | The ME/CFS Community
- My Art & Crafts Pages: Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | My Art Shop
- My Gardening Pages: Facebook | Instagram
- M.E. Awareness Pictures: Facebook | Instagram | Twitter
- You can also find me on: Pinterest | Bloglovin’ | Mix | Flipboard
Work With Me
I love working with brands that are relevant to my audience and their needs, that way both the brand and my audience get value from the collaboration. I only collaborate with brands I use and like or if I think your products or services would be beneficial to my readers. I do not want to waste their time or yours. If you think Chronically Hopeful will be a good fit for your brand, please download my media kit and get in touch.
I believe that sharing our personal experience is the best way to raise awareness of our conditions and eliminate the associated stigma. If you're a chronically ill person and would like to be featured on my blog, visit this page to find out how. I would love to share your story here!
The authors featured on this blog are not doctors and cannot diagnose your conditions or prescribe a treatment plan. The information shared on this blog is based on the personal experience of each author and should not be treated as medical advice. It is advisable to speak to your health care provider before starting any new treatments. If you are struggling to cope and need somebody to talk you through a crisis, click here.
I am a member of the Amazon Associates Programme as well as some other affiliate programmes by companies I trust and use regularly, like Koldtec, Tailwind and Bulk Powders. Affiliate advertising programmes are designed to provide a way for sites to earn a little reward by linking to relevant companies or their products.
Pages containing affiliate links will be clearly marked with this image:
This means that if you purchase anything after clicking one of my links, I will get a small reward, at no extra cost to you. This might be a % of your purchase cost or a voucher for a discount off my next purchase. The rewards are usually quite small, but they add up over time and will eventually translate to a voucher I can use on a future order. This can potentially help take some of the burden off my parents who are supporting my sister and I financially since I fell ill - so I thank you for your support!
DISCLAIMER: Although I only link to products I use or believe would be beneficial to my readers, I cannot be held responsible for any choices you make. I recommend reading reviews online and coming to your own conclusions before spending money.
My Theme & Page Layouts
This blog is running on WordPress using Thrive Themes. They have fantastic tools for building your own themes, pages and posts, sign up forms and more. Allowing you to personalise just about every aspect of your blog without needing to know any code. They have a brilliant Theme Builder, which has drag and drop functionality like the new WordPress Gutenberg, but is way more advanced in terms of capabilities and the variety of tools available. Take a look here.
Proud Community Member
Below are the badges of some great blogging communities I am a member of. If you are a blogger and would like to meet other like-minded bloggers or need support, visit these great pages!