Invisible Illnesses Are For Real

Being confined to a wheelchair it was obvious to those I met that I was not as able-bodied as others. However, people living with chronic pain or illness often don’t look any different from those around them. It is difficult for people to understand the struggle you experience when you don’t look sick or in pain.

My second bout with a rather rare autoimmune disease required that I take heavy doses of prednisone and chemotherapy. This was not an option. The autoimmune disease would have attached my kidneys and lungs and eventually it would have led to death. When I told people I was on chemotherapy the first thing they said was, “What kind of cancer do you have?” Cancer is a scary word, but by no means the only life threatening reason to have chemotherapy.

This is true of many of us. We experience “invisible illness.” What experiences do we share in this invisible universe?

We may experience guilt, embarrassment, and isolation. We may feel it is our fault that we got sick or that our bodies broke down in some way – as if it’s a personal failing on our part. We live in a culture that worships wellness. It’s okay [...] continue the story

Speaking Without Words

Ronen Razieli, a member of Israel’s special police unit, was shot in the head during a counter terror operation in 1993. Comatose for 6 months, his brain injury left him permanently paralyzed and wheelchair bound with impaired communication and general function. This story follows his journey of rehabilitation, relationships and impact on those closest to him, and recovery of quality of life.

Addendum: In 2008, Ronen married his long time soul mate Marylou and a year later she gave birth to their son Alon.

Like a Butterfly

Przemek has been paralyzed since birth. He also cannot speak, but his mind is sound. As a boy, he tried to communicate with those in his environment, but nobody understood him. Everybody considered him stupid for 16 years, so he began to lose hope that the truth about him would ever be discovered. Finally, a miracle happened … he has become a prize-winning poet!