This year some of the topics to be covered include:
- Can Versus Should: Pregnancy, Children and Chronic Illness by Laurie Edwards, author of Life Disrupted: Getting Real About Chronic Illness in Your Twenties & Thirties
(On a personal note, I'm looking forward to Laurie's session most of all.)
- Finding Health Insurance Coverage with a Pre-Existing Condition by Jennifer Jaff of Advocacy for Patients with Chronic Illness, Inc.
- Hearts of Gratitude and Joy by Maureen Pratt, author of Peace in the Storm: Meditations on Chronic Pain & Illness
- Applying and Winning Disability Assistance When You Are Chronically Ill by Scott Davis
In anticipation of National Invisible Chronic Illness Week 2009 I had the opportunity to ask the event's founder, Lisa Copen, a few questions about her advocacy efforts and life.
Q. How do you balance the physical and emotional challenges of living with chronic illness with all of your advocacy efforts and other obligations? Do you ever feel like you have enough time or energy to get everything done?
A. I never feel like I am all caught up, but it’s more of a bad habit, by creating more work for myself than I can handle. I will acknowledge that I am a control freak and I like to stay busy so as to not get depressed about my illness. Most days that can be a blessing. Is it really “denial” of your illness if you are constructive and not destructive? I love what I do, and I feel very blessed that out of my struggles and weakness God gives me the opportunity to minister to others. At the same time, my family sometimes gets less of my attention because I am busy with ministry stuff. I know that is now how God wants us to break down our priorities. It should be Him first, then family, then ministry. It’s easy to get these mixed up or blur the lines. I think many people deal with this—anyone from pastors to mothers. Anyone have some good advice?
Q. What one thing can people with chronic illness do to enlighten the people around them about their invisible illnesses?
A. I think just by sharing about Invisible Illness Week. It’s about 1 in 2 people in the USA who have a chronic illness. Yesterday at my son’s Taekwondo practice another mom asked me what I did. I mentioned Rest Ministries and Invisible Illness Week and then she shared for fifteen minutes about how she had dealt most of her life with extreme migraines that had landed her in the E.R. She “looked” perfectly healthy and fit. So just by saying, “Hey, Invisible Illness Week is having a virtual conference in September with 20 seminars online for free. Do you know anyone who could benefit? It’s a great resource!"
Q. What one thing would you say to encourage people with invisible chronic illnesses to keep going even when it's hard?
A. One of my favorite scriptures I hope encourages you is “My comfort in my suffering is this: God’s promise preserves my life.” Psalm 119:50
Peace in the Storm: Meditations on Chronic Pain & Illness by Maureen Pratt
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Content by Diana E. Lee.
DISCLAIMER: Nothing on this site constitutes medical or legal advice. I am a patient who is engaged and educated and enjoys sharing my experiences and news about migraines, pain and depression. Please consult your own health care providers for advice on your unique situation.