Working with Chronic Illness: A Virtual Assistant’s Success Story

Working with Chronic Illness Recently, I was lucky enough to connect with an amazing woman named Kathy McCabe. Kathy is an internationally recognized virtual assistant who also happens to suffer from Meniere’s disease, as well as several other chronic illnesses. Her story is remarkable. In the face of tremendous adversity, she has found success as a virtual assistant and has been able to continue to work and provide for her family.  I invited Kathy to share her story with you all today, and to explain a little bit more about what a virtual assistant is, and how you can become one, too.

I’m Kathy and I have Meniere’s Disease. Actually, I have bi-lateral Meniere’s disease, Migraine with Aura and chronic pain. But up until almost 3 years ago, I was normal. (Or at least I tried to be normal). Then, one day, out of nowhere, I had vertigo for the first time as I was walking across the room. My Tinnitus, which I’ve had in both ears for many years (and has also caused hearing loss), now roars during attacks, which can happen at any time, with little or no warning. I went to my walk-in clinic and they sent me to the hospital where doctors weren’t sure what was wrong or if I was having a stroke, so they admitted me for observation. I left thirty hours later still dizzy and on my way to a neurologist. He was the first doctor to mention Meniere’s disease to me, although he said he was sure I didn’t have it since both my ears were affected, but he was at least open to the possibility. He sent me to other doctors for more tests and opinions. It took nearly a year and a long line of doctors before I finally got a diagnosis from Dr. John Carey at the John Hopkins University Hospital in Baltimore, MD. He is an amazing doctor, and really listened! Read more…]]>

Staying Productive with a Chronic Illness

Keep Your Mind Active Even when I feel my worst, I find it is helpful to keep my mind active. If I’m not up to being physically active I will research my hobbies for new information, or research new herbal remedies (and no, I haven’t found one to help me yet but I’m researching that too!), or study techniques for photography. Learn New Things In an effort to keep my mind off my illnesses I’ve been learning how to work with wood. I’m not great yet but I’m loving it. I’ve created a beautiful entryway cabinet, boxes and cutting boards. I don’t care if its wood burning or constructing something – its been so beneficial in helping to keep my mind active and off my pain and it helps me to feel more productive. Exercise When You’re Able I mean, use common sense… if you’re dizzy, don’t get on the treadmill and go hog wild – you could injure yourself! However, if you’re able, mild exercise is an excellent way to help your mind – and your pain. Exercise releases endorphin’s which are a natural pain reliever, and it helps your heart too. Reach Out When you’re living with chronic illnesses it can be very isolating because getting out can be difficult. I am a huge letter writer with pen pals around the world so I spend hours each month corresponding – actual ink to paper – with friends. I joined Facebook support groups which have been very beneficial because I know I’m not alone. Reaching out- whichever way you choose – decreases feelings of being alone and improves your outlook. Ask for Help If you find that you can’t shake your depression – which is very common in chronic illness patients – ask for help! Depression is an illness and can be treated. Don’t feel you need to be strong every moment. Thanks, and be well, Kathy  ]]>