Living with Chronic Illness

After experiencing some of the most trying years of my life, I have finally realized that what I thought was most important in my life has become less important. And those seemingly lesser things, or things taken for granted, have become more precious to me than ever.

On November 4, 1995, I was diagnosed as a "probable" Multiple Sclerosis patient. In 1997, I was the "lucky" recipient of 2 more diagnoses for yet other chronic, incurable illnesses:  Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue and Immune Dysfunction Syndrome. 2003 was another tough year. I've added Type II Diabetes and a heart condition to my "grocery list" of diseases! And we have not discovered all there is to know about me even yet!  Talk about frustration! 

And then I had the experience of having to file for SSDI just to halfway survive financially!
Read my story that includes tips on filing for SSDI.
I got approved on my first try within 60 days of my first application!

When I lost my health, it was easy to lose sight of any beauty in the world.  I could choose to remain bitter and angry over my loss, or I could realize that God had given me a "time out" from my frenzied lifestyle for a period of peace.  I could choose to remain in denial and try to force my body to respond to life the way it used to, but in the end...the result was the same. 
The disease is really in charge here.  Not a very pleasant realization....

Death is not the greatest loss in life,
the greatest loss is what dies inside us while we live.

---Norman Cousins

So, an attitude adjustment was in order if I was to have any kind of life at all.  Having very little physical energy gave me plenty of time for reflection.  I know now that I was hearing and not listening; seeing but not imagining; tasting but not savoring; touching but not really feeling; inhaling but not breathing; and only surviving, not really thriving. It took a major attention grabber for me to wake up and slow down. And boy! did I get one!

Never does a man know the force that is in him
till some mighty affection or grief has humanized the soul.

---Frederick W. Robertson

Please don't wait until you have a chronic illness or major trauma to acknowledge the beauty around you. And if you have been unfortunate enough to have to deal with either issue, you can still learn to live each day fully. A therapist once told me that by blowing today, I am screwing up tomorrow's memories.  How true!  Rejoice in who you are and in those around you!

When the heart weeps for what it has lost,
the Soul rejoices for what it has found.

---Sufi expression

Join a "Catholics with Chronic Illnesses Support Group": Share with others your experiences, talk about the frustrations you are feeling, chat about some treatments you have tried that worked/didn't work, and add your own prayer requests. Discuss how your faith sustains you in your suffering.

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Merriam Webster Medical Dictionary
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Community Services
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FREE Downloadable Government Publications:

A Guide to Disability Rights Laws (pdf format)

A Guide for People with Disabilities Seeking Employment (pdf format)

Americans with Disabilities Act FAQ's (doc format)

Public Law 101-336. (doc format) Text of the Americans with Disabilities Act, Public Law 336 of the 101st Congress, enacted July 26, 1990. The ADA prohibits discrimination and ensures equal opportunity for persons with disabilities in employment, State and local government services, public accommodations, commercial facilities, and transportation. It also mandates the establishment of TDD/telephone relay services.

ADA Regulation for Title II, (doc format) as printed in the Federal Register (7/26/91). The Department of Justice's regulation implementing title II, subtitle A, of the ADA which prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in all services, programs, and activities provided to the public by State and local governments, except public transportation services.

Government Agencies/Websites

FMLA FAQ's Family and Medical Leave Act Advisor
Read a short description of your rights under the FMLA (pdf format)

Read more about your rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act passed in 1990!

Government Programs and
Health Statistics Information. 
Very comprehensive listing of agencies.

Food and Drug Administration Home Page: This page includes info on food,
human drugs, animaldrugs, cosmetics, medical devices, toxicology,
and their 
guidelines for industry. You name it.  It's covered here!

Want to know what the USDA has to say about the food we eat?
Check out their website to get the latest.

Coping with Chronic Illness ---
          You need not feel alone

This page is dedicated to those persons who are confused, lost, or searching. Hopefully you will find some insight or hope here. You might want to try the different support groups or chat groups available online.

Have a prayer request?
If you would like us to pray for your special intentions, or
you are a prayer warrior who would like to pray for others,

Submit them to our Prayer Chain!

God gave us burdens, also shoulders.  ---Yiddish Proverb

Read November 2004's Hot Topic! Stem Cell Research:
The Catholic Viewpoint

Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide:
Not an Option!

Even though this is being advertized as having "mercy" and "compassion" for suffering people, it is not merciful. It is sin against the 5th Commandment. The Catholic Church stands ready to defend all human life, regardless of what judgment is made on the "quality" of any human life by the suffering person or the people who love them.

Read March 2005's Hot Topic! Isn't Euthanasia
Really "Merciful"?
Catholic Encyclopedia on Euthanasia Direct from the Vatican
U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Priests for Life
Catholic Educator's Resource Catholic Culture

Links to Support Groups
and Information on the Internet

Secular Resources for Specific Illnesses

Allergies Arthritis Audiology
Alzheimers AIDS Birth Defects
Brain Disorders Breast Cancer CFIDS/CFS
Candidiasis Cancer Cerebral Palsy
Cystic Fibrosis Diabetes Endometriosis
Epilepsy Epilepsy: Fit and Well Fibromyalgia
Glaucoma Headaches - Migraines Hepatitis
Herpes Hypoglycemia Insomnia
Kidney Disorders Lupus Lyme Disease
Mitochondrial Disorders Multiple Chemical Sensitivity Multiple Sclerosis
Face of MS Restless Leg Syndrome Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy
Sleep Apnea Thyroid Disease  

We are a non-profit organization which supports the needs of medically and physically challenged children. We exist to increase lifestyle opportunities and quality of life for recipients by providing equipment and/or services that would not otherwise be affordable.

Head Neck Facial Pain

If you have other chronic illness support group links that you would like to see posted here, please feel free to email me with the information!  I am always glad to help others find assistance! 

Catholic Healthcare Links

Catholic Health Association of Canada Catholic Medical Association
Catholic Health Association of the U S Mission Doctors Association
Linacre Centre for Health Care Ethics National Association of Catholic Chaplains
Papers on Catholic bioethics National Catholic Bioethics Center:
Notes and News on issues
National Catholic Bioethics Center Pontifical Council for Pastoral Assistance
to Health Care Workers

Check out the Patron Saints for specific ailments.

Catholics with Personal Webpages
About Healing & Coping with Illness

El Shaddai-Healing

Father Pat's Place: Crisis Links

Recovery Issues Our Online A.A. Group
Come Back to the Church! Cancer Support Page
Grief Support Bishop's Letter on HIV-AIDS
Clergy Abuse Crisis Resentments
Stand up for Life Project Rachel: Post Abortion
Crisis Support Start Over

If you have a personal website that you would like listed here, please email me!

Let me leave you with a final thought....

You are not your illness!


Acceptance is not the same thing as giving up!

Recommended Reading

In Times of Illness Sharing the Journey Come to Me:
Prayers in Times
of Illness
Facing Death: Stories of Spiritual Response to Serious Illness
Come, Healing God The Faith Factor Prayer is Good Medicine God, Faith, and Health
Wholeness and Holiness In Sickness and In Health Amazing Grace for Those Who Suffer The Healing Power of the Eucharist

and other Recommended Books

Read Inspirational Stories and Writings from others who suffer with chronic illness!




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