Good morning and happy Monday!
Today I wanted to share the wonderful and inspiring work a national group (created in Virginia), Lyme Warrior, is doing for people battling chronic diseases. The mission of Lyme Warrior is to bring awareness and support to the sufferers of the silent, debilitating epidemic of Lyme Disease and other diseases. They are in the process of launching, Chronic Beauty, a calendar and stories of 12 women battling chronic illnesses. The calendar shoot was done in Richmond, Virginia.
Not only do I think this project is fantastic, but I have to admit it hit a little close to home too. Though I haven’t shared this in detail on the blog, my mom was re-diagnosed with breast cancer in May 2015. She was a month away from being in complete remission (not showing any signs or tests of cancer 5 years after her first round of breast cancer was declared gone). We discovered that the breast cancer had spread to her liver and bones and her prognosis at the time (and this hasn’t changed) was worst case scenario, having a year or so to live. Best case, maybe five to ten. Here we are in late-September 2016 and I am proud and relieved to say that mom is still with us. While her prognosis hasn’t changed, her last body scan showed that the cancer wasn’t spreading – the regular chemo treatments were working, thank goodness. However it appears that mom will always have the cancer this time around, so her time with her family and friends will depend on how long her body will respond to the treatments, which is a good and not-so-good thing in my opinion. Good because the treatment is working, but bad because she’ll never be rid of this terrible, terrible disease and we’ll never have a clear path to victory.
So while my mom’s battle isn’t your typical “chronic” disease, it has become chronic in a sense. To me, she is still the beautiful, strong, courageous, generous, and faithful woman she always has been, but this disease has also robbed her of physical strength, endurance, and energy. She is still amazing in that she is still living her life to the fullest – driving herself around, living on her own, traveling, and surrounding herself with loving family and friends. She is at her utmost best when she is lavishing love on her grandchildren, her fountains of youth. She has good days and then bad days, so does everyone else.
If you can, please consider supporting Chronic Beauty. I am!
“I can barley walk and I may pass out. As I spoke to the woman at the front desk she remarked how beautiful I looked today”.
“Because of my rashes and other symptoms, no one ever calls me beautiful, happy, cute, perky, but never beautiful.”
“I used all my energy to put on make up and wash my hair. I’m ready to go out but I still just don’t feel beautiful.”
Having a chronic illness is not all about your health. As woman, we all want to feel special, powerful, and attractive, among many other things. Frequently our illness skews our sense of beauty and self. What others see is rarely how we feel.
Chronic Beauty is the calendar and stories of 12 women battling chronic conditions. I could spend hours telling you about each of these amazing women but you will just have to wait for the calendar and footage. I encourage all women to start telling their stories, to be honest that there is almost nothing about illness that is easy. There are more than a few moments where you want to give up and the lows are things that people should never have to experience. It’s each person’s ability to keep overcoming those times of extreme illness and hurt and to continue to give and contribute to the world – that I find is the most amazing part. I hope people will buy these calendars so they can look at it every day of the year and be inspired to face the issues they are dealing with and find it in themselves to overcome them. This inner strength is Chronic Beauty.
Proceeds from this Calendar and other products benefit research for these conditions.
We are all in this together.
Conditions featured are:
Cerebral Palsy, Severe Asthma, Lupus, Essential Tremor, Stroke, Diabetes, Chronic Migraines, Degenerative Disk Disease, Huntington’s Disease, Kidney Disease/Diabetes, Lyme Disease, and more.