Chronic Resilience: Strategies for Living with Chronic Illness | Rheumatoid Arthritis Warrior

Chronic Resilience: Strategies for Living with Chronic Illness

Chronic Resilience book reviewMy first glimpse of Chronic Resilience

When Danea Horn contacted me last year to be interviewed for her upcoming book, Chronic Resilience I had no idea of her story. Danea was born with VACTERL Association, a rare kidney disorder. She has turned living with illness into a mission to explore redefining “positive” and to bring “creative affirmations” into others’ lives.

Today, Danea’s new book arrived in the mail. Of course I read the chapter with my interview first. 😉 But peeking through, I’m convinced the other chapters will be wonderful. The chapters contain the stories of nine women who “exemplify resilience as they each gracefully manage their own chronic illness.”

Being chronically sick sucks, but how does chronic resilience help?

Danea does not lie about the fact that “being sick sucks.” But she and the other 8 (and I) have walked in our shoes of living with an illness that becomes an unwelcome yet permanent companion. We have had to learn to manage IT (illness), and not let it overtake our lives.

Sometimes I’m asked what I meant by being an RA warrior. I make the mistake of thinking it’s as obvious to everyone as it is to people living with Rheumatoid Disease (PRD). It’s about fighting FOR our lives. Fighting to never let the disease win. To get as much of our lives back as possible. To never give up. To keep the disease from ever taking over us. To seek whatever information and support we need to live the best life we can, to take care of ourselves – and to share the same with others.

This book is about – and for – warriors like that.

From Danea Horn’s Chronic Resilience website

Chronic Resilience book page

Chronic illness changes everything… we place pressure on ourselves to be the model patient, find a cure, be positive, or to continue on with life as if nothing is wrong. This only causes more stress. I have coped with chronic illness since I was born, but in 2006, my health took an unexpected turn toward needing a kidney transplant… feeling lost I needed to find a new way to cope with illness.

Chronic Resilience is my journey to become a more compassionate caregiver to myself. In the book, I offer you everything I’ve got about becoming an owner of your own diagnosis. You’ll read my triumphs, embarrassments and insights about navigating illness. Within the pages you’ll find practical tips to:

  • Stop pushing yourself so hard.
  • Use research to empower – not frighten – yourself.
  • Let yourself be pissed!
  • Train your troops in how to care for you.
  • Cultivate focus and flexibility.
  • Find things to be grateful for.
  • Focus on what you can do, not what you can’t.

You’ll also read the stories of nine amazing women who exemplify resilience as they each gracefully manage their own chronic illness. The illnesses covered include: cancer, autoimmune disorders, idiopathic pulmonary hypertension, transplant, Crohn’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, Cushing’s disease and diabetes.

Postblog: Guys: this book is about and by women, but men who live with chronic illness are also resilient. For men, there may be some different resilience strategies, but they are still needed. After I finish the book, I’ll report back more on that. If 2 million people have RD in the US, then at least 460,000 are male.

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Kelly O'Neill

Kelly O'Neill (formerly Kelly Young) has worked about 12 years as an advocate helping patients to be better informed and have a greater voice in their healthcare. She is the author of the best-selling book Rheumatoid Arthritis Unmasked: 10 Dangers of Rheumatoid Disease. Kelly received national acknowledgement with the 2011 WebMD Health Hero award. She is the president of the Rheumatoid Patient Foundation. Through her writing and speaking, she builds a more accurate awareness of rheumatoid disease (RD) aka rheumatoid arthritis (RA) geared toward the public and medical community; creates ways to empower patients to advocate for improved diagnosis and treatment; and brings recognition and visibility to the RA patient journey. In addition to RA Warrior, she writes periodically for newsletters, magazines, and websites. There are over 60,000 connections of her highly interactive Facebook page. You can also connect with Kelly on Twitter or YouTube, or LinkedIn. She created the hashtag: #rheum. Kelly is a mother of five, longtime home-schooler, NASA enthusiast, and NFL fan. She has lived over fourteen years with unrelenting RD. See also https:/

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4 thoughts on “Chronic Resilience: Strategies for Living with Chronic Illness

  • August 9, 2013 at 5:42 am

    As always, I love to hear your insight, thanks for sharing…
    You know, it’s interesting, before my diagnosis and my own journey into chronic illness began, I didn’t realize how many of us there were. It truly does not discriminate. Across the board, I have started meeting other warriors from all walks of life, age, gender, social status… “Warriors” went unnoticed by my eyes. Now, I suppose I am more sensitive and I notice them. Not only I, I have also noticed my loved being much more aware. Whether we realize it or not, we are all to some extent, advocates for the chronically ill…
    BTW thanks for remembering those of us of the not-so-fair gender. We also partake in the journey and battle the Monster. Even if we don’t look as good doing it. 😉
    Be well, RA Warrior. Thanks again for all you do for all of us…

  • August 9, 2013 at 12:07 pm

    Kelly, I can’t wait to read this book! I find myself going through an unusually tough time as I realize my traveling days may be over, going up and down stairs is nearly impossible and so forth. Plus friends and family are clueless. So I don’t say much or even ask for help much, cause I don’t want to sound like Wendy whiner! I’ve had this dreadful disease for 16 years and am definitely looking for ways to feel more positive.
    Kelly, you are not just an RA warrior but an RA angel as well. You give me strength each day and I cried w/you when watching your video on finding an understanding rheumy.
    I live near Austin, Texas and would love to be part of or start an RA support group. Anybody else out there w/me?
    Love to all of you who out there!

  • August 9, 2013 at 12:53 pm

    This is great Kelly!! I cant wait to read it

  • August 9, 2013 at 7:46 pm

    Kelly, any chance of this book being offered from the RPFoundation? I think it would be a great booster shot (excuse the word “shot”!!!) for those who are in similar circumstances. Obviously, it would also be a good gift to give if any of us know others who would benefit as well.

    I’ve been really occupied since early spring, but I have thought of you and wondered if you are seeing improvement….hope so! Always thinking of you, though!!


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