Better Living Through Snark

Chronic illness builds character like you wouldn't believe.

Beach House on the River Styx

I may not have Odysseus’s powerful biceps, but I do have thoughts on dragging your specters of decay to Walgreens. It all evens out. Read More

Well done Caitlin!

First, congratulations on your new assignment for Psychology Today! This is exciting - and you will be a wonderful addition to the team of writers here. Having shared a very small portion of your journey, I am indeed grateful that you will be sharing your wisdom in a more global manner. We can all learn from you.

from an octogenarian

Your story struck a chord with me. As an old person and still very active, I get comments like, "I want to be like you when I grow up." They don't realize there is time spent among the dead that allows me to continue living among the living and enjoy living and loving and that love is deeper and stronger because of the time spent among the dead. God bless you my young pilgrim.

Image of the cat hanging from a rod with the caption "Hang in there!"

Nice to see you can take your struggles with a good attitude or at the very least a self deprecating humorous one. Funny post but also endearing. I look forward to the next installment. Sending positive vibes your way!

Death Becomes Me/Her/Us

I'm excited to read more! Death and I have actually become good friends. We have a great understanding. I look forward to reading about (and maybe even getting better acquainted) with others who have come to know death like I have. Death has actually given me many special gifts. I'm PROUD to be an "In Betweener". I can't wait to read your future posts!

This is good. As a 40

This is good. As a 40 something with lupus I totally get it. I have been there done that and did not even get a t-shirt

Glad to hear another perspective in this journey of life

I'm turning 50 next year, 10 years after a diagnosis of MS, 2 years after my partner's cancer diagnosis. As the ailments of my friends start to accumulate I realize how lucky I've been to have escaped an intimate knowledge of chronic disease until recently. Thank you in advance for sharing your journey; the Caught-Betweens will surely benefit to see reflections of their own experiences, but as I live my own messy, complicated life, I think your words will resonate with me as well.

Thank you Caitlin!

Thank you for sharing your story, my wife has Crohn's, before we met she endured multiple surgeries and has had several years of relatively good health. The past year or so, her disease has kicked up,a bit and she / we have endured several trips to the ER for obstructions. She actually left her job this week this week to focus on her health. I'm looking forward to reading more of what you have to say.

Stay strong and keep fighting.

Grateful for you!

Caitlin, your trajectory may have turned out to be a winding road to hell and back, but to live and even thrive despite such profound challenges is a remarkable life achievement, no doubt as impressive as that of any of your friends.

Your life-sapping struggle and ability to put it into a life-giving context; your inexplicable openness to transformation; your ability to communicate with humor and humility; your bringing into the light that which many keep hidden and so suffer in the silence that precludes transformation -- all of these will help to heal and inspire others with chronic illnesses. Including me.

So write on, Ms. Odysseus, and lead us all to hell and back; we will follow your column with hope and renewed determination to live and learn with grace.

Beautiful writing and a

Beautiful writing and a powerful story - I'm excited to hear more from you! You are inspirational.

Caitlin's gift

Thank you for this beautiful insight. Know that your sage outlook can help others who live "in between."
The Irish call the place between heaven and earth "the thin space,"and therein lay special grace....if you embrace it. Clearly, you have, and that will serve you and many others well.

I'll be waiting to hear more from you.
You are a very talented young woman whose pen is powerful. Keep growing and writing...and hold onto your great sense of humor!
God bless.

A gifted writer teaching us more about life

Thank you for this blog and the spirit of generosity and resiliency you demonstrate in using your journey to help others - those with chronic diseases and those wanting to understand more about their impact. PS: You likely bring the fun with your keen sense of humor.

speaking in all-senori theology today

I wanted to thank you for sharing this story (your story) with us in all-senior theology today. Though I don't have terminal or chronic illness, your message that the "shameful" parts of ourselves that we keep locked away can later become something constructive spoke powerfully to me. The most difficult things to cope with are the things we often hold to ourselves and deal with in silence, and it was just nice to see someone brave enough to confront their problems and even use them for the benefit of others.

Belated thank you (as I learn what I'm doing)

I just figured out that I can comment back on this! Sorry to all you commenters on my belated response--I'm kind of a neo-luddite, which is a fancy way of saying that I skimmed the instructions.

This is a belated "thank you" for the outpouring of support, personal stories, and outright compliments that you guys have left. Being able to speak so frankly about my health is a new thing for me, so the encouragement from this community is staggering. These comments brighten my day and remind me why it's important to let go of my ego and discuss the dark corners of existence. Thanks for hanging out in these dark corners, too. It's kind of fun in here. Who knew?

You Embrace Words as if They Were the Best Ingredients

Dear Caitlin: It has been my pleasure to watch you grow up and face your challenges - growing up into the lovely young lady you have become. To read your work…your writing is insightful and gifted! When I began to write about difficult subject matters, I start to look for a fainting couch and began saying the mantra "words fall short." But you my dear embrace words the same as a skilled chef using only the best ingredients for the finest meal. And the product outcome is delicious. Your words resonate and validate the journey that is always there, constant, and often lonely. But your article makes us feel less lonely, especially with your intelligent humor. I am so very proud of you. M

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Caitlin Caven has had Crohn's Disease for over seventeen years but she is still fun at parties.
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