Living Well with Chronic Illness

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    I struggle with fatigue and have been forced to assess and rank what drains my energy in ways I never contemplated before. Some activities are simply no longer within my capabilities, like playing tennis, but others I can still enjoy, like a limited social life and the opportunity to be a community volunteer. I have learned my best energy is between ten in the morning and two in the afternoon. By the late afternoon I am fatigued. I know that for me, rest requires being prone for several hours, with...Read More
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    My list of the top ten ways to live well, even while sick, evolved over many years. It has been reviewed and refined countless times as I have experimented and tested what works for me and for my unique conditions. Take care of yourself first. Never, never, never give up. Learn to be honest about how you are feeling. Enroll in the School of Whatever Works. Make friends with fatigue. Live as a child. Step out of the box. Search for silver linings. Find a way to share your gifts. Be still. Your list...Read More
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    One of the many daily challenges of living with chronic illness is how to answer the simple question, “How are you?” The polite answer is, “Fine, thanks.” Much of the time I am not fine, but I was taught by my parents I should not complain or, even worse, whine. Illness has taught me that telling the truth about how I am feeling is important to being an authentic person, even if it is not a happy statement. I have also learned that if this news is not laden with emotion, fear, or self-pity,...Read More

Meet the Expert!

Joy Selak

Joy H. Selak has lived with chronic autoimmune, musculoskeletal, and neurological conditions since the late 1980s. Joy is the current board president of ZACH Theatre, the premier professional theatre in Austin, Texas. She is also involved in ZACH’s education programs and serves on MindPOP, an organization dedicated to providing all Austin schoolchildren with an arts rich education. She is married and her very blended family includes six grown children and ten grandchildren, so far.

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