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   Your Stories > My Story > Acquired Hope
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Acquired Hope

This article is not about illness, injury or disease; rather, it is about recovery - the recovery beyond medicine for those persons coping with a severe injury, illness or medical condition.

This article is for those individuals who may be coping with a chronic illness or disabling injury; individuals who have struggled with pain and are seeking to learn how to change their way of thinking in order to manifest a life experience full of hope, joy and fulfillment.

This article is for anyone and everyone who has a strong, steadfast desire to obtain a higher level of function, better health and a better quality of life when presented with a severe and disabling chronic illness or injury.

My Story of Chronic Illness I have always been an active person, enjoyed exercise, and worked passionately. Several years ago, when I was thirty-two, I nearly lost it all. I became seriously ill.

Many of those coping with a chronic illness or injury share the same or similar experience. After many invasive tests and procedures, I had my diagnosis: Myasthenia Gravis. Like many dealing with a chronic illness, I was both elated with finally having a diagnosis--and frightened by finally having a diagnosis.

The Diagnosis According to the Myasthenia Gravis Foundation of America: 'Myasthenia gravis (MG) is the most common primary disorder of neuromuscular transmission. The prevalence of myasthenia gravis in the United States is estimated at 14 to 20 per 100,000 populations, there are approximately 36,000 to 60,000 cases in the United States.'

In myasthenia gravis, the immune system attacks the muscle receptor cells of the skeletal muscles.

Symptoms include: difficulty with breathing, swallowing, speaking, impaired vision and mild to severe muscular weakness and fatigue. The disease manifestation can lead to mild or severe disability depending on several factors such as age, sex, promptness of diagnosis and treatment, thymus gland tumors or tissue growth, general health status and one's ability to cope with chronic illness.

Basically, my immune system developed antibodies which were now attacking my own muscle receptor cells; therefore, the communication from the nerve to the muscle to tell the muscle to move, to function, was severely disrupted. Myasthenia Gravis literally means 'grave muscle weakness.' This grave muscle fatigue and weakness proved to be my biggest challenge and worst symptom.

For several years, I suffered from severe to moderate and continuous disability. To make things worse, the symptoms often fluctuated from minute to day, often times without rhyme or reason. I eventually went through the cycle of negative emotions that many individuals with chronic illness experience: powerlessness, self-pity, frustration, isolation, anger, envy, fear and anxiety, jealousy and grief. I felt frustrated and powerless that my own body did not work.

I felt sorry for myself, now that I had a big challenge that many people did not. I even felt jealous and envious of those with healthy bodies. In the darkest moments, when I became overwhelmed with the physical symptoms and emotional changes within me, I even felt isolated. I began living in a state of fear.

I became fearful to try to do anything active for fear I would relapse. My negative emotions fed off one another and I became even more overwhelmed and even more exhausted. The dark cycle repeated itself over and over again, and I continued to experience losses in every aspect of my life.

Almost everything I was told, or that I researched, indicated that I would have to live with this disabling medical condition for the rest of my life. Working, functioning, and certain activities were things that were either gone, limited, or would remain extremely difficult - and part of a daily challenge.

Although with the medical treatments my disease stabilized, I remained significantly impaired in daily and work function even three years later. But I wanted to truly live an abundant life.

My Journey to Recovery Despite my education and experience in healthcare, I was unable to heal myself. I wanted better functionality and a better quality of life. I sought out other means of recovery. I repeatedly asked myself, 'What can I do to improve my condition and to experience life again?'

This is where my true journey to recovery began. I studied, found resources, and acquired knowledge about the art of healing and the power of the mind. An individual must seek out and try different methods and adopt those practices which are in alignment with his or her personal belief system. One must explore how to obtain and maintain a higher level of function, hope and healing.

Who Are We? A book written by Daniel Anderson, Ph.D. informs us that of all the healthcare problems in the United States, nearly 80 percent relate to chronic illness or disability. We are many in number.

We come in every age, shape, size and color, and from every ethnic group and socioeconomic background. The medical community is well equipped to manage our acute episodes; however, it is not well equipped to give us the kind of support we really need to lead fully functional lives.

I have written a book titled: 'Acquired Hope: A Journey of Advanced Recovery and Empowerment.' This book is intended for anyone who is coping with an illness, addictive disease, disability or injury-related condition.

How we choose to deal and cope with our pain and struggles is largely up to us. Unfortunately, most often our response to coping with the disease causes just as much stress and emotional pain as the disease or condition itself.

We tend to focus on the fear, frustration, pain, fatigue, anger, limitations and even guilt. These are all negative emotions. This focusing on negative emotions may limit us even more and further diminish our quality of life. However, we have the ability to change that. We can learn to change the way we think.

We can learn to guide our thoughts and emotions, so that we experience only positive emotions such as joy, happiness and hope. By acquiring this skill, we can stop our physical problems from getting worse and can lead happier, more fulfilling lives.

By acquiring hope, we can recover. My book presents a details process on how to advance recovery and obtain high levels of function and life fulfillment.

For more information and free resources for creating better health, please read 'Acquired Hope', visit: www.acquiredhope.com and please visit the Secret to Getting Rich website at: www.inspirednhopeful.theSGRprogram.com for opportunities on creating income to allow time and energy to focus on better health.

About the author:
Nicole Matoushek, MPH, PT has 15 years of experience in clinical managed care and disability management. She has authored two books 'Acquired Hope: A Journey of Advanced Recovery and Empowerment' and '365 Days of Abundant Hope' both available on www.acquiredhope.com. She is inspired by www.inspirednhopeful.theSGRprogram.com.
 
Nicole Matoushek MPH, PT
 
 
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