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"Rising Up"
Living with A Chronic Illness 

Author: Monica "Eva" Waldman
Web site located at:

Email address for "Rising Up"-


1.-"Why ME?" and "Where do I go from here?" Your support system is 
vital now!

2.-Quality of Life Index and various factors which come into play

3.- Giving yourself permission to be angry..Learning how to deal with 
and heal your feelings!

4.- Blessings - We all have them.. You NEED to look deep inside to find 

5.- Doctor/Patient Relationship

6.- Do NOT allow your illness to define who you are!

7.- Vital information for the caregiver

Please note that these writings are from my own personal experiences.
I have written this in the hopes that some of my ideas and thoughts 
regarding the above sections, will help you through some of your own 
experiences and day to day living.  I also realize that there are some 
chronic illnesses which are more severe than others and there may not be  
items discussed here which would be beneficial to you.  I do hope though 
you'll be able to find something on these pages which will be helpful 
in some way.  

My name is Eva,

I have been through my share of illnesses...
And so has my husband of over the passed 20 years.

Some of you have met me through my website and others have met me 
through friends of friends.

I began my website two years into my illness.  My husband won this 
computer in 1997 and I immediately got hooked up to the internet.  I didn't 
know at that time that the 'net would then open a whole new and 
wonderful world to me.

I surfed the 'net primarily searching for additional medical 
information regarding my health.  During this time I then learned of ICQ and met 
a few people who were simply incredible!  We got to know each other and 
we shared good experiences and of course, the bad experiences as well.  
They learned of my medical condition and because they were SO sweet and 
concerned about keeping my spirits up they would forward me incredible 
url's filled with inspiration, love and care!  

By the time January, 1998 rolled around I was entering into year three 
of my illness.  I realized at this point that I NEEDED to find a place 
for myself somewhere - A place where I could use my brain, my 
creativity, my humour and my heart.  I knew that I was not alone when it came to 
being ill, that there are a lot of people out there who are also not 

By late April '98 I had viewed many pages on the 'net which helped me 
get through some very tough days.  Days when I thought I could not 
smile.. Days when I felt so much pain physically and emotionally, these 
pages brought me hope, smiles and made me think about how very lucky I was 
in other aspects in my life. These pages reminded me of how very 
blessed I was to have such a wonderful family and the best friends in the 

It was at that moment in late April when I decided to learn how to 
create a web page.  Up until we won the pc I had never used a computer in 
my life!  I had a number of pieces of writing which I could use and then 
on May 9, 1998 I created "Eva's Place".

I had met a wonderful woman by the name of Nikki back in 1997 and I 
told her about my page - I remember telling her .."If I can touch just one 
person... If I can make just one person smile, think or see how blessed 
they are then I will know that I have done something positive."  The 
rest is history... That one page turned into 100 pages and two more 

I took all of my negative energy and every ounce of strength I had and 
created web pages, which then reversed the negativity into an amazing 
source of positive and productive energy.  I knew I had found a "place" 
for myself, a place where I could help others find a little hope and 
peace for themselves.  The feedback astonished me!  I cried when I read 
the comments people wrote in my guestbook.  I REALLY did make a 
difference... And because of their comments I felt that there was a "reason" 
why I was meant to be at home, learn about web creation and then put what 
I had learned to constructive use.  Now this new found "place"... 
"Eva's Place" became my second home and I never looked back again!

As of April 2000, I began to write "Rising Up".  Usually when I write I 
really never know why I am writing or what will end up on my pc screen.  
Anything and everything I have ever written comes directly from my 
heart to try to help others.  That is the intention of "Rising Up"... I do 
hope after you have read this it will shed some positive light into 
your life as a person with a chronic illness or if you are a friend or a 
family member of someone who has a chronic illness.

I would like to give a very special thank you to Christine Stich... an 
incredibly strong and wonderful woman, for contributing some of her 
thoughts to this booklet.  

Eva :) 

Section 1

"Why Me?"

"Where Do I go From Here?"

"Your support system is vital now!"

*During my times of suffering with a chronic illness I labeled my days.  
Not just for myself, but also for the people around me to get a better 
understanding of how I was feeling on "that" particular day.  Not all 
of my days were filled with physical/emotional pain, some days were 
better than others and some were so bad that getting out of bed was not an 
option.  Therefore I came up with the words to best describe my day 
without having to go into the sometimes gruesome details. (Please note: my 
so-called "good days" meant I could take a shower, go for a short walk 
and then return to a sitting or laying down position.)  I had my "good 
days", "my bad days" and "my ugly days". 

     Two of the most common questions in the life a person living with 
a chronic illness is first, "Why me?".  There is no answer to that 
question and we know that there is no answer, but we will ask it over and 
over again, especially on our really "ugly days" because we feel so 
desperate for the reason why this is happening to us.  

     We know that we are good people, that we have tried to do right in 
our daily lives, we have tried to be the best we could be as human 
beings, but still  Why?... Always that "why"...The people around us ask 
the same question and still there is no concrete answer.  Then of course 
there is the standard statement...
"Why do bad things happen to good people?"  Bad things do happen to bad 
people too.  I think it just so happens that we surround ourselves with 
good and decent individuals who are much like we are, so we don't 
really see what happens in the lives of the "bad" people of the world.
Perhaps somewhere down the road we will all learn the answer to the 

      The next question is "Where do I go from here?".  There is often 
a period of time between becoming ill and asking this particular 
question because there are so many emotions one needs to deal with.   One 
never really knows what path destiny will take them when they first become 

     One of the most intense of emotions which comes in to play is the 
statement, "I feel worthless.." Often we feel we have been hit dead-on 
by a two ton truck and we can no longer carry on the way we used to.  
Whether it be holding down a job, parenting children, food shopping or 
going on vacation;  this list goes on.  Our "normal" activities have 
been stripped from our life, and we, who were quite independent, now have 
to rely on other's for help in our daily or weekly routines.  
What seemed so easy to do at one time, now has become a hardship and 
it's often difficult, especially if you were a very independent person.  
If you led people to think that you are strong, you can do it all 
yourself and rarely asked for help, then everyone assumes that you have 
things "under control".  In our time of great need, in our time of turmoil, 
people are there to give a helping hand... But we are the ones who have 
a very difficult time asking for assistance because in some way, in the 
back of our minds, we feel as though we will appear weak and needy.

     Believe me, your partner, your real friends and family members who 
truly love you for you, want you to ask for assistance.  They too are 
feeling many of the confused emotions you are feeling, and it saddens 
them.  The support system that you have in your life is very important; 
especially now when you need all the unconditional love they have to 
     One of the major problems which face people in our support system 
is the feeling of helplessness.  Often they are unsure of what is right 
to say or wrong to say.  They don't want to upset us because they know 
we are dealing with so much already and they don't want to add any more 
stress or tension to our topsy turvy world.

     In the beginning, due to our confused emotions, we will take it 
out on the people we feel most comfortable with.. Like the old saying "We 
always hurt the ones we love".  We let out an outpouring of our 
emotions in front of our loved ones and completely button our lips in front of 
acquaintances.  Why?  Because we know that our loved ones will 
understand what we are facing and let it roll off their shoulders.  They 
forgive us for lashing out at them because they know not to take it 
personally and they will never ask for an apology.  All of this is because they 
truly love us and will stand by us always.

I must add this... Sometimes there are people who are not receiving 
support in the most effective way.  Some may not have family or friends. 
Others may have them, but they may not understand what the person needs 
from them and offer advice which isn't very helpful.  If this is the 
case, finding a support group for your specific condition is a good way 
to learn how other's are coping.  (i.e. exchanging ideas regarding 
medications (prescribed, over the counter, alternative therapies etc.) -- As 
well, the chance to meet new people is often very uplifting.  You can 
find these groups by doing a search on the internet if you wish to chat, 
or you can call hospitals or clinics regarding support groups in your 

     Finding some good support books can be very helpful!

Suggested reading:
"Simple Abundance" by Sarah Ban Breathnach 
"You Can Heal Your Body" and "You Can Heal Your Life" by Louis Hay
This last book is a beautiful book visually, filled with a lot of 
pastel colours, hearts, flowers, clouds etc....The writings inside are 
positive affirmations and explanations about how some chronic illnesses can 
possibly be brought on by our emotional state and how to change our 
negative thinking patterns into positive ones.  I am not saying that this 
is absolutely correct that all illness comes from emotions, but, for 
some people, the words in this particular book can help change 
depressing, sad thoughts into positive thoughts.  It won't take away the illness, 
but helps one deal with the illness.  

During my illness I had, and still have the best friends on the planet, 
who offered their unconditional love and support...
These are a few of the poems I wrote for on their behalf...

                                        For You... My Friend
You entered my life during the worst of times; 
For that I admire your courage! 
You showered me with reassurance that everything would be alright; 
For that I am indebted to you always! 
You continually called and visited me when so many had suddenly 
disappeared from view; 
For that I never felt alone! 
You supported all of my decisions with much encouragement; 
For that I was able to move forward! 
You gave of yourself unselfishly and unconditionally; 
For that I could once again see the light at the end of what seemed to 
be forever darkness! 
You assured me that I was a strong person, and that my tears were not a 
sign of weakness; 
For that I gained emotional strength! 
You always remembered, even the smallest details, of the things in 
which were important to me; 
For this, and for all of the things which make you such a special and 
wonderful person... 
I thank you from the bottom of my heart! 
**YOU have touched my life in a very special way** 

Written by: Monica Waldman 

Remembering Now

Remembering now, we are filled with anxiety and fear
We WILL walk, talk, dance and love with greater ease...tomorrow. 
Remembering now, our minds are confused and saddened - 
We WILL laugh and play...tomorrow. 
Remembering now, is a painful and disheartening time - 
We WILL be healthy and happy...tomorrow. 
Remembering now, has completely enveloped our lives - 
We WILL tear open the flap and spread our wings and fly...tomorrow. 
Remembering now, our sleepless nights and restless days - 
We WILL sleep and dream of heavenly things...tomorrow. 
Remembering now, how we have become stronger through it all - 
Because remembering how things WERE, has finally brought us tomorrow! 

Written by Monica Waldman 

     This is a poem my husband wrote during my illness...

An Angel Weeps

~~Author: Stephen Waldman~~ 

Chasing rainbows on the beach. 
Pursuing pleasures; bringing fantasies to life. 
Making love - Our body and soul become one. 
Embracing the bliss, we drift off to sleep. 
And then I hear an angel weep. 
Months blossom into years. 
Each moment together evolving into treasured memories. 
Yet with all of our devotion 
and a love that runs so deep, 
I feel a sense of sadness as I hear an angel weep. 
What is this mournful cry 
Whispering within my mind? 
Haunting. Undaunting. 
What dark secret could God keep 
That would make an angel weep? 
The answers flowed in the tears down your cheeks. 
No cure. No help, we were alone in this together. 
Fighting a chronic illness with only the courage 
Summoned to the surface by our collective heartbeats. 
And I hear an angel weep. 
Frustration and suffering linger. 
But the agony you endure cannot diminish our dedication to eachother. 
Memories of yesterday we will forever keep. 
I pray, one day, that you my angel, 
Will no longer weep. 

I wrote this when my husband was quite ill:

I Looked At You The Other Day   

I looked at you the other day,
Thinking about the helplessness you must be feeling
And how your mind must be spinning                                                        
With all that is happening I looked at you the other day                          
Asking myself..                         
How will we get through it? 
Haven't we been given enough?
I looked at you the other day 
Feelings of anger, frustration and confusion
Enveloped me totally and completely 
Leaving me feeling helpless and alone
I looked at you the other day 
Wanting to know where we would get the courage...
Where would we get the strength... 
I couldn't find any answers
All I wanted to do was run away  I looked at you the other day
You smiled... 
I looked at you the other day
You hugged me...  
I looked at you the other day
You kissed me...  
I looked at you the other day
You said you loved me...  
I looked at you the other day
I told you that our love  
IS what will get us through this you looked back at me...  

~Author: Monica Waldman~ 
                                               SECTION 2

                                 Quality of Life Index and factors
   which come in to play

     When someone develops a chronic disease there are certain losses 
for the sufferer.  Depending on the severity of the disease the losses 
can be significant of minimal.

- If you have a spouse, it can be difficult on them and sometimes the 
spouse finds that they are unable to cope with your illness.

 - Sufferers who do not have a partner find it more difficult to 
establish long lasting relationships.  Sometimes the disease may cause 
embarrassment due to the type of illness, the inability to participate in 
certain activities, the restrictions in diet or the energy levels are so 
low that certain activities may be out of the question.

- Loss of independence.  The necessity for other's to look after you.  
The loss of control over your own life.

Crucial factors categorized are:


 	overall feeling of unwellness
 	feeling completely worn out
 	tiring easily
 	interrupted sleep patterns


 	worry about up coming doctor appointments, tests and their results, 
possible surgery etc.


 	unable to attend social functions
 	unable to play sports
 	unable to plan outings in advance


 	unable to attend work/school regularly
 	the necessity to stop work/school
 	difficulty in parenting
 	difficulty in doing housework/cooking/gardening/shopping etc.


 	hospital costs
 	testing costs
 	prescription costs

Your quality of life changes moderately or dramatically depending on 
the severity of your illness.

     Factors such as social, functional and financial tend to escalate 
the emotional and physical factors.

     You, your family and friends can all work together in a creative 
and accommodating fashion to decrease this escalation.

***When you feel tired, worn out, fatigued.. Take a few naps throughout 
your day.  Let people know that this is a necessary thing for you to do 
and inform them that your need to have uninterrupted nap times is 
crucial, therefore you will be turning off the phone.  If you cannot bring 
yourself to turn off the phone ask people to not call during specified 


     Even if you do not actually sleep, the rest itself is good for the 
body.  The sleep, or resting period(s) also give the mind time to relax 
as well, thereby revitalizing and renewing your emotional state.

***If you are unable to attend social events such as holidays, 
birthdays, anniversaries..
Perhaps some of these functions could be held in your home.  As far as 
preparation is concerned, everyone could be a participant in bringing 
the necessary foods, beverages etc.

 	Of course not all functions can be carried out this way, but as not 
to be left out of everything, I am sure people would be more than 
pleased to make these arrangements especially when it involves immediate 
family members or close friends.

If you  are unable to make plans in advance...
Make plans anyway.  Explain to other's that you would love to do this 
or that, go here or there.  Accept their invitations and extend your own 
invitations with the explanation that there is a possibility of 
canceling depending on how you may be feeling on that particular day.

     Some people may not be very receptive to this idea, but for the 
most part, other's will take notice that you are trying to keep a 
positive and hopeful attitude.  More importantly, you are also trying to 
maintain some sense of normalcy in your day-to-day life.

     If the day comes around and you are simply too ill - Canceling 
will undoubtedly be a disappointment, but you must remember that there 
will be a next time.  Simply reschedule and look forward to the next visit 
and not dwell on what you just had to cancel.


Giving yourself permission to be angry..
 Learning how to deal with and heal your feelings!

     When you are living with a chronic illness day in and day out you 
may be at home alone.  People will visit occasionally .. and then 
there's the phone.  

     During that alone time we think or daydream.  Thinking is a good 
thing, however, often our thoughts can take a detour to the time when we 
worked, we traveled etc.  When we come out of that daydream and we are 
facing our reality once again,  you may encounter many negative 

     If you feel angry or sad, or any negative type of emotion - 
     Know that it is OK to feel this way!

     Anyone in your position would have these feelings because it is a 
normal reaction during a time of such confusion and change in your 

     Occasionally you will feel consumed by your illness and to feel 
mad about it is your RIGHT!

     Never feel guilty or hold the feelings in.  Guilt is an emotion 
that one should ONLY experience when they have done something wrong!  You 
have done nothing wrong.

There are ways of dealing with and healing these feelings.  Here are a 
few suggestions:

- Talk to someone who REALLY understands and empathizes with what you 
are feeling.

- If at that moment there is no one around, a wonderful way of 
expressing your feelings is to write in a journal.  Often writing out your 
emotions can be a wonderful outlet for releasing negative energy.

- Crying - A good cry is a great stress reliever.  It's as if each tear 
shed is an expulsion of every angry cell in your body.

- Take a long hot bath.  Aromatherapy foam baths are amazing.  
Lavender, especially soothes the body and the mind.  Also during your bath.. 
Lighting a few aromatherapy candles soothes the mind, as does listening 
to your favourite music.

- Since many of us cannot "walk off" our stress or exercise, I have 
found that doing deep breathing exercises while sitting in a low-lit room 
with the door closed (to eliminate distractions and noises) is an 
excellent way to calm the nerves and relieve the stress levels.

- Lay down on the couch or the bed and plug in to your favourite music 
- empty your mind of all thoughts and only allow the music to fill your 
*One of my favourites is Kenny G.

-Listening to relaxation tapes, sometimes better known as bio-feedback 
tapes are often very helpful.  If you are seeing a psychologist or a 
hypnotherapist they may be able to suggest a place to purchase them or 
enquiring at your bookstore or music store.
If you are short on funds check with your local library. 

However, if you have many days filled with tears, sadness and 
unhappiness; where you can't seem to find much to be thankful for or any sign of 
happiness from within, it may be in your best interest to discuss these 
feelings with your physician.  It is important to update your physician 
on not only your physical health but your emotional well being too!

MOST IMPORTANTLY... if you are feeling extremely despondent do not look 
at this as a failure or a weakness on your part.  Do not compare your 
situation with anyone else's condition.  We are all different.. We are 
all unique.. No two people facing similar situations will cope with it 
in the exact same fashion.   Many people living with a chronic illness  
may become depressed due to the circumstances and challenges they must 
face -Once again, it is a normal reaction to a confusing and stressful 

     Since many of the activities which seemed so ordinary and common 
place are no longer a part of our daily routines, we MUST now replace 

    Many of us need to feel productive and useful in our daily lives.  
There is great satisfaction in doing well in the world - on an 
emotional level, a financial level and on a personal level.

     In the early stages of our illness we are focused on our illness.  
There does come a point when we don't feel very useful, productive or 
accomplishing much of anything.  Confusion sets in because we really 
can't see the light at the end of the tunnel.  We have difficulty in 
stepping outside of our situation and looking for the positives.

     Those negative feelings which I mentioned earlier regarding 
sadness, anger and confusion are all normal and natural under these 

     I honestly believe that every human being has much to be thankful 
for, and that we all have many blessings!  Sometimes we forget, or 
don't appreciate our blessings.  Unfortunately it takes something like  a 
chronic illness, to make all of us aware of our blessings.

     Before searching for the wonderful things we do have in our lives, 
remember that YOU are and always will be a very special and unique 
individual, regardless of your illness!  

     Blessings which we are thankful for come to us in many different 
ways.  Everyone has their own definition or description of what a 
blessing is to them.  Therefore, whatever blessings you discover in your life 
- Embrace of them...Nurture them..Always hold them close to your heart!

One of my greatest blessings is the love and support I receive from my 
And for him I wrote this 

You Are My Guiding Light

You have always been my guiding light... 
Through it all you have lit the way when all seemed dark and virtually 
Your light guided me into a ray of sunshine that I thought was gone 
When I felt lost - Your light appeared and reassured me that everything 
would be alright... 
Your light provided me with a sense of direction... 
I was able to 'set sail' into the unknown - 
Because I knew that you would most certainly shine your light on my 
In order to ride each wave and survive... 
So that I would never be lost or afraid or alone... 
Your light...and your light alone has given me the courage and the 
strength to go on! 
Thank you for shedding your light on me! 

Written by: Monica Waldman 

Section 5

  Doctor/Patient Relationship

     Even if you do not have a serious illness, it is very important 
that everyone has a doctor who is a good listener, is understanding and 
empathetic. A good bedside manner and an open mind are also qualities to 
look for in a doctor.                                                                                  

     As difficult as your illness is and the toll it may be taking on 
you physically and emotionally, one has to remember that this is YOUR 
BODY!  Therefore, YOU are YOUR own consumer.  If you feel that the doctor 
is not providing you with enough time when you have an appointment, or 
is not listening to you, you must speak up.  Quite literally our lives 
are in the hands of our doctors and that alone gives the doctor all of 
the power.  As a patient we too have the power regarding our illness 
and  our options.

     If you are not comfortable with your doctor; he/she doesn't seem 
to really be listening to your concerns or isn't quite "getting it" or 
seems to be rushing you out before you've had a chance to speak, then 
perhaps it's time to seek out another doctor.  Often we are feeling so 
tired, weak and at our wits end with our illness, one of the last things 
we need now is a doctor who is not on the same "wave length" as we are.  
As in anything else in life we shop around for the best item before we 
buy it.  The same rule applies when it comes to who will be our health 
care provider.  If you are seeing someone who you are not satisfied 
with, ask your G.P. for a referral to see someone else.

     Many of us feel that if we leave the doctor who is treating us, 
the doctor will be insulted or hurt.  As decent human beings we don't 
want people - including our doctors, not to like us or to think badly of 
us.  We can't or shouldn't even be thinking in those terms, because at 
this point we need to know that whom ever we are seeking professional 
help from is going to be there for us in everyway possible.  We are 
entitled to have the best care possible and if we are not satisfied then we 
have to move on.

     If you feel uneasy about asking for a referral, take a close 
friend with you for support.  Perhaps someone who knows what your thoughts 
have been regarding your relationship with your doctor could help ease 
the stress.                                                          

                      Do NOT allow your illness to define who you are!

     After you have been diagnosed the first topic of conversation will 
be your health.  People want to know how you are feeling, when your 
next appointment is, results of various tests and so on. They are asking 
because they are concerned about you and want to be kept up to date.  

     Sometimes though it can be frustrating because each and every 
person you talk to has the same questions and you find yourself repeating 
things over and over again.  As I said, they are concerned about you, 
but it's YOU that is living with this illness.  Sometimes, you are 
pre-occupied with your condition, being bombarded with constant reminders in 
the form of pain, medications and tests.

     I found that I needed a break from repeating the same things just 
to keep my sanity.  I came up with a plan which was very simple.  I 
would talk to my mother-in-law and after answering all of her questions I 
would ask her to call my sister-in-law and my aunt (people I knew who 
would want updates) and pass on the information.  My husband would also 
take care of a few calls to friends.  It was a huge burden lifted from 
my shoulders.  I found that after each call I would be so emotionally 
exhausted, yet I didn't want these people who cared about me left out in 
the cold.

     One day when I was alone the phone rang.. I just stared at it 
trying to decide whether or not to answer.  I was having an "ugly day" and 
THE very last thing I wanted to talk about was how badly I was feeling 
and then of course hear the caller's voice become low and sounding sad.  
I wanted to hear good things, happy things..  I decided to pick up the 
ringing phone and I told the caller that I was having an exceptionally 
horrible day - BUT please tell me about YOUR day to take my mind off of 
me!  It was a brilliant idea!  From that phone call on,  that is what I 
would do with every phone call and with every visitor... They would ask 
how I was, I gave them a very short and concise answer and then I would 
ask.."So, what's new with you..?"  

     It was one of the best things I did for my emotional well being.  
I didn't want my illness to be the focal part of every situation in my 
life.  For me, on a personal level, I was living in this body of pain 
and I needed to have a break.  It allowed me to hear about other 
people's lives, their happy moments and their sad moments.  Some didn't want 
to share their "down" times with me because they felt I had enough to 
deal with and they would often say that their "down" moments were trivial 
compared to what I was going through. I explained that everyone's 
situation is different and that it is all relative to what is happening in 
their own lives.  I was then able to lend an ear to all the people who 
had listened to me, allowing me to feel helpful in their time of need.

     During this process, I was removing my health issues from the 
topic of conversation and people would then remember they were talking to 
Eva.. NOT to "the illness" that Eva has.  I still had my creative 
abilities, my humour, my hobbies, my love of cooking.  I wanted to maintain 
"Eva the person" and remind people that I had many positive things  to 
offer.  I wanted people to know that I was still the exact same person 
inside, even though on the outside I looked tired and not well.  
     This was a major stepping stone for me with my illnesses.  Getting 
people to "SEE" me for me.. And not my illness.  It made for happier 
times during phone conversations and when people came to visit.  It not 
only helped me emotionally, it made people feel more at ease around me 
and lifted their spirits as well.

     I do admit that there were still many times when it was difficult 
to even crack a smile or engage in any conversation - But by not 
allowing my illness to define who I was made my everyday living situation a 
much more comfortable one for me and everyone around me. 

                                                  Section 7

                              Vital Information for the caregiver!
                                        Written by my husband, 
                                             Stephen Waldman     

     The person responsible for the physical and emotional well-being 
of a chronically ill person is known as the caregiver.  This person does 
whatever is necessary to make sure the person suffering from an illness 
is kept comfortable as possible, as well as providing emotional 
     I had to perform this task for over four years for my lovely wife 
who was afflicted with various chronic illnesses which caused her 
tremendous pain and suffering.  It was a great challenge and tested my 
character and patience.  However,  I never forgot how this illness tested my 
wife's courage, faith and resolve.
     She depended on my dedication which just comes with love and 
commitment.  I was as determined as she to see her through this period no 
matter how desperate and hopeless the situation seemed.
     First,  you and the person suffering must have an optimistic 
attitude, no matter how hopeless things seem.  This can be done together or 
independently through religion, research, family and friends. Support 
for the caregiver by others is as important as support for the sufferer.  
If the caregiver doesn't maintain his strength, he will lose his 
effectiveness and the ill person will detect his weakness in his voice and 
actions.  This is very counter-productive for both of you.
    Keep things in perspective. Stay optimistic but not unrealistic.  
The person who is suffering does not want to hear about, or be compared 
to, other sick people.  This is an individual problem and everybody is 
different.  Communication is very important.  There are times when you 
feel like not talking and this is alright, but tell the person who is 
suffering that it is just your preference and not because of her.  Tell 
her how much you care. Emotional support is as important as physical.  
Never complain or show your stress.  This is not going to help the 
situation and that is what friends, family and religious leaders are for.
     Try taking the ill person's mind off of their situation.  Create 
divertions such as renting video tapes, playing board games or listening 
to music together.  Invite friends and family over when the ill person 
is up to it.  You may find that some people require an invitation 
because they don't want to intrude, so take the initiative.          
     Most of all do not neglect yourself.  If you aren't up to the 
challenge physically and emotionally you will be ineffective as a 
caregiver.  Eat well, exercise and try to continue your daily routine as much as 
possible.  This person is depending on you so don't let her down.

     Never lose hope. Only God knows what the future holds and I can 
tell you from personal experience that miracles do happen.  But we have 
to make them happen. They don't happen on their own.  Research the 
illness, ask questions and listen to the person you are caring for.  Keep 
your faith strong and never give up.  There is a Jewish word for this act 
called a "Mitzvot", or a commandment from God,  and the person 
performing it is called a "mench".  

     Be a mench!
*The above was written from my husband's heart -- He truly has a heart 
of gold...*

In closing...
I leave you with these two pieces of writing

This Too Shall Pass

Sometimes it feels as though lightning is striking all around...   
But we learn to cope while planting our feet on solid ground.
Throughout our lives we are faced with trials and tribulations,
which at the time feel unbearable to handle.     
Look deep inside for the guiding light and glow of your flickering 

We are all much stronger than we really know...   
And the realization of our inner strength will one day surface and 
begin to show. 
Each and everyone of us - Young and old ...   
Have much to contend with in our lives.   
Some situations are more difficult and harder to bear...   
But with time, acceptance and healing we will survive!    
When life's burdens become too much -   
Always remember that there are people who truly love us and never sway.   
They will be there to encourage us and guide us along the way!    With 
faith, hope and love in our grasp..   
We must believe that -   THIS TOO SHALL PASS ...  

Go in with the expectation that what can be...  
WILL BE!                 
And if it doesn't arrive today...          
Then there's ALWAYS TOMORROW!                    

 ~~Author: Monica Waldman~~  


                                                        A Vow

Whenever you feel like staying in bed ... 
 Pulling the covers over your head ...    
Yesterday's woes are behind you now ...  
Now it's time to make this vow! 
   "I will not waste one minute more,   
I'll sweep my troubles out the door!   
I'll open the windows and let the sunshine in,  
 And feel the warm breeze caress my skin!  
 I'll breathe the fresh morning air,   
I'll take the time to show I care!   
For faith and friends and family ...  

~~Author: Stephen Waldman~~  


To everyone who has read this, I wish you all the strength, love, 
compassion and prayers to help you get through your illness and pain.