A Delicate Balance - Living Successfully With Chronic Illness

Susan Milstrey Wells

Being sick is hard work.

Chronic physical illness may take its toll on every aspect of a person's life - including daily routines, relationships, and business activities. Many people manage to work, cook dinner, and play with their children, but do so with fatigue, pain, and the uncertainty of living with chronic disease.

A Delicate Balance: Living Successfully with Chronic Illness is a thoughtful and well-researched look at the lives of millions of people with chronic and largely invisible illnesses - for example, lupus, Sjogren's syndrome, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, inflammatory bowel disorders, Lyme disease, interstitial cystitis, and multiple sclerosis. Instead of focusing on a specific illness, this book candidly examines the experience of living with chronic disease through in-depth, personal interviews with patients, care providers, and family members. Their perspective is candid but hopeful. There is a long road between becoming sick and accepting life with a chronic disease. Susan Milstrey Wells, a journalist who has lived with chronic illness for half of her life, ushers readers through the steps that every person with chronic illness treads. We follow 21 individuals, including the author herself, in the quest to:

  • find a comprehensive diagnosis;
  • locate a capable and caring health care provider;
  • research and try traditional or alternative treatments;
  • make sense of their powerful emotions;
  • strengthen relationships with family and friends;
  • make significant career decisions; and
  • reflect on how illness changes their overall lives.

The result is a frank book replete with practical advice, including how to use the Internet for information and support, seek reasonable accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act, apply for Social Security Disability Insurance, and how to make the most of the doctor-patient relationship in an era of managed care. Wells also examines some of the most current research on the mind-body connection and its relation to chronic physical illness.

A Delicate Balance is a must read if you have a chronic illness, love someone who does, or care for these patients in your medical, social work, or therapeutic practice. You will be amazed at how difficult life with chronic illness can be, and how healthy individuals can become when they find a delicate balance in their lives.