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If you want  the professional, business-y side of things, you’ll find that lower on the page. But if you want the real, day-to-day me, then here’s the un-cut, up-close and personal stuff about who I am and why I do what I do. Grab some hot chocolate or iced tea (1/4-sweet-3/4-unsweet, of course) and let’s get to know one another a little better!

baby goatsI’m an author, speaker, teacher, musician, healthcare quality auditor, patient advocate, chronic disease person (CDP)… and a wife and mom, which are my most important roles. I live in Tennessee with the hubs, Chris, and our three wonderful kids. We enjoy a small farm and the cutest goats ever! 

Here in Tennessee I’ve enjoyed success in public speaking, small business, ministry and education and currently enjoy volunteering as a healthcare writer/teacher and patient advocate, particularly for patients and families affected by chronic illnesses and disability. A highly successful small-business career was an unexpected blessing in our journey to Tennessee, and I’m forever grateful for the success we’ve had here.

Five years after our move, in 2009, chronic disease rocked my world. And I mean… turned it completely upside-down. Diagnosed with severe, aggressive and debilitating Rheumatoid Arthritis (and some other fun things like Addison’s, Sjogrens, and dysautonomia, to name a few…) I felt the sting of living with chronic illness and disability, and watched helplessly as it took its toll on my body, my career, my family, our friends, small business, finances, and every.single.area.of.my.life.

I’ve been there… I get it… And I want to help others get it, too.

My diagnoses  (yes, more than one…) came after many years of searching for answers. Along the way, I’ve learned an awful lot about an awful lot. I’ve learned that my chronic is different than your chronic, and yet there are striking similarities. I’ve also learned that it’s called “chronic” for a reason – because it’s in your face every single day. There’s never a break. Ev.er.y.thing. filters through the lens of “chronic.” But most of all, I’ve learned that chronic issues are… well… they’re just hard. Can I say that again…???

Chronic.issues.are.hard.

With a lot of faith and persistence, desperate determination, and some sheer grit, I’m winning over chronic and learning that we don’t have to just survive – we can thrive despite this chronic life. And it’s okay that your “thrive” is different than mine, and mine is different than somebody else’s – and that everyone’s Monday thrive can be different than Wednesday’s, ’cause that’s just living the chronic life – yes???

Though the chronic life is often not fun, we chronics belong to a unique community of special people, and encouraging one another through the hard times is a much better option than trying to go it alone.

You are never, ever alone.

It is my hope that you can find education about successfully living a chronic life, feel encouraged by the stories, tips and spiritual resources, and that you feel empowered by the knowledge and community you find here.  And hopefully we can enjoy a laugh or two together, for laughter really is good medicine.

Please visit often, join the dialog, and pass the site along to everyone you know who’s affected by chronic illness. I hope you are blessed greatly and will, indeed, win over chronic and find joy in your journey.

Rock on, fellow CDPs – rock on.

   

 

 

 

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Now the fun stuff!!   

Here are some fun facts if you want to read further about this crazy life I lead!

10 Fun Facts 

  1.  My favorite food is probably ketchup. Or maybe chocolate. No, ketchup. Definitely ketchup.
  2.  My husband, Chris, and I have three kids, a daughter and twin sons.ehandsonpiano
  3.  I’ve played the piano all my life. My mom was my teacher and I honestly don’t remember ever not playing the piano. Mom is an awesome pianist, and my biggest compliment ever was when Daddy came in the practice room to find Mom, but it was me playing instead. “You’re not your mother!” he said and turned back around. I was so honored!
  4.  While I attended nursing school, I didn’t get to graduate due to a severe anaphylaxis latex allergy. This was my first experience with chronic illness. I was able to transfer from the nursing staff to the admin staff at work and got to learn the administrative side of medicine. Boy, has that ever come in handy!
  5.  There is no better TV program than fall football and no better concert than TSO Christmas concerts!
  6.  We live on a farm with the cutest goats ever. There is nothing cuter than a baby goat! I sing to them. Their favorite song is Silent Night and they don’t seem to care whether it’s December or July.
  7.  On a trip to Vanderbilt, they thought I might have a brain tumor, so I went sky diving and jumped out at 14,000 feet. It was amazing and I’d love to jason-elisa-derek-040do it again!
  8.  My pulse was 19 when I got my pacemaker. All I could think of was how hungry I was waiting on the surgeon to arrive.
  9.  I am a recovered Type-A overachiever who’s let go of the relentless (and unachievable) pursuit of perfectionism. There really is such a thing as an achievement addict – and God can heal that, too.
  10.  Seeing former students serve through their music is one of the greatest thrills ever. It brings me to tears on occasion.