Friday, September 2, 2011

From Invisible to Public

September 12-18 is National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week. Nearly 1 in 2 Americans have a chronic illness and 96% of those are invisible. Another person has been added to that number as tennis phenomenon Venus Williams was recently diagnosed with Sjogrens, an autoimmune chronic illness for which there is no cure. 

Sjogrens symptoms can include debilitating fatigue, joint pain, and dry mouth/eyes among others. Williams said, “A lot of times I’ve had to pretend I felt good when I felt terrible.”   A very good description of what life is often like with a chronic invisible illness. You can read the NY Times account of the story here Another that comment really struck me:

“I’d go to doctors, but I never got any answers, so there was nothing I could do but keep going,” Williams said. “It was frustrating, always being in the dark and not having anything to help me but my own will.”

If I had nothing to help me but my own will, I'd be frustrated indeed! I am so grateful that while my condition may be rare and I often feel "in the dark", I have the help of the Almighty God in my battle against chronic pain.
"I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come?
My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth. He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber.
Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.
The LORD is your keeper; the LORD is your shade on your right hand.
The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night.
The LORD will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life.
The LORD will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore." Psalm 121

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