I live in Pennsylvania with my “groom” of over 40 years, Gary, and we have two grown children—a daughter who is married with two children, and a son who is married with their first child due soon and an adorable Great Dane.
I “live” with three invisible illnesses, Ulcerative Colitis, Endometriosis, and Persistent (or Chronic) Lyme Disease. My husband was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome over 30 years ago, and also lives with Reynaud’s Syndrome, Selective IgA Deficiency, and Multiple Chemical Sensitivities. Both of our grown children have Crohn’s Disease. Although we have walked through many years of pain, struggle, and uncertainty, I believe and try to live by my life verse: “I have set the LORD always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.” (Psalm 16:8).
I retired in 2018 and am loving the freedom and lack of schedule that retirement brings (especially on days that my health challenges me)!
My first published article and several devotionals appeared on the Rest Ministries web site (www.restministries.com–website now defunct), and I feel blessed that God is using my experiences to help others with invisible and chronic illnesses. I have also been published at http://christiandevotions.us, The Quiet Hour, Power For Living, and Today’s Christian Woman Online.
Please feel free to follow me on the following social media:
HOPE through chronic illness | Facebook
HOPE through chronic illness (@JackieConfalone) / Twitter
Jackie Confalone (@hopethroughchronicillness) • Instagram photos and videos
Thanks for allowing me to share my heart…….
#hopethroughchronicillness #chronicillness #write #christianliving #invisibleillness
14 thoughts on “About”
How encouraging was to read your post on Rest ministries. I am still young and at 38 is very difficult for me to accept a diagnosis of invisibile illness such as the pelvic pain syndrome. I love Jesus and my sweetheart which is an amazing encouragement for me. My greatest worry is how will the disease impact our relationship and what we can we do to prevent it from tearing us apart.
Sorry for the delay in responding to you. I’m so sorry to hear about your pelvic pain syndrome at a young age. My husband was diagnosed with CFIDS (Chronic Fatigue Immune Dysfunction Syndrome) at around age 33. We had to go to a lot of doctors before we got that diagnosis and then there really was nothing that could be done except to treat the symptoms. Now 25 years later, he still deals with many of the symptoms, but he is able to work full time and even work out at the gym a few times a week. Actually having this illness is what brought my husband to Christ, which is the real key to dealing with any chronic illness…..giving it over to Him, and getting direction from Him. My husband set short-term goals….be healthy enough to be active with our 2 kids until they get out of elementary school….then till their out of middle school….then out of high school, etc. And now they are both done with college and our youngest will finish graduate school in December. It’s important to communicate to your sweetheart how you are doing and feeling without making it the focus of your life. If there’s an event or activity you don’t think you can do or that might take a long time to recover from, you need to express that. That caused some frustration in our marriage, especially with young kids….sometimes we’d have to cancel going to events and I wouldn’t understand or be frustrated. As we talked and as we lived with the chronic illness, I began to understand and accept what we could and couldn’t commit to.
I will pray for your illness and your relationship with your sweetheart. The book that Lisa Copen has on the Rest Ministries website called “Why don’t people understand?” (or something similar to that) would be excellent for you and your sweetheart to read.
Thanks for making your comment…..
Is it possible to ‘talk’ via email? I too have fought Lyme Disease – and after 4-5 really good years, I am now back in a place where I need to consider more treatment. I’m asking the Lord for direction. I’d really appreciate your thoughts, if you’re ok with that.
I wanted to let you know how much your writing blesses me and keeps me encouraged! I’m so happy that you are a part of Rest Ministries. I pray that God will strengthen you and keep you. I hope you will continue using your gift to bless me and everyone else who reads your work!
Thanks so much for the encouraging words and letting me know that you are glad I’m part of Rest Ministries. I thank you most for your prayers, as that’s what releases God’s strength into my life. I haven’t written much lately because I’m battling my second round of Lyme disease and I’m having severe pelvic pain even though I’ve had a hysterectomy and laparoscopy in the last 2 years. My gynecologist is researching the best way to try and find an end to the pelvic pain, and I’m pretty sure that will include surgery in the next month to 6 weeks.
I am so encouraged by Lisa Copen and the men and women I have met through Rest Ministries. Lisa gave me the first opportunity to be published by publishing some of my devotionals. I pray for her and for others like yourself who reach out to help other with chronic, invisible illness.
Thanks again for the words of encouragement and for your prayers.
My name is Ashley, and I came across your blog via a devotional you wrote for Rest Ministries. After reading your “About” section, my heart leaped for joy because I too live in PA, and, while I don’t work at PSU, I graduated from Penn State Harrisburg nearly three years ago! While we don’t share the same diagnoses, we share the same Jesus who is on this journey of chronic illness with us!
Thank you for writing you published devotional entitled “Ugh…Another Day.” At age 26, I’m facing disability due to Rheumatoid Arthritis and Fibromyalgia, BUT great is the faithfulness of our dear Lord. At the start of my disability journey, I woke up each day with an “Ugh”. God is softening my heart, and I’m learning to be grateful in the midst of this suffering. Your devotional was the reminded I needed to keep trusting God and His provision. Great is His faithfulness!
So sorry I am SO delayed in responding to you. Thank you so much for reading my devotional and coming to my blog, and for your encouraging words. I am SO sorry you are dealing with RA and FM at such a young age! But I’m so glad you are plugged into the Rest Ministries website. There is so much great information and godly encouragement there, plus you can join groups to discuss specific issues.
Are you disabled to the point that you can’t work? What medications are you using to treat the RA & FM? I have a good friend who was diagnosed at a young age with RA and is now in her mid-50’s, has two almost-grown children, and is very active. She has been taking Humira for many years, and that works for her.
But you are right…we do share the same Jesus who is on this journey of chronic illness with us, and how grateful I am He is on it with us!
Just yesterday, I had another laparoscopy to remove endometriosis, so I am home recovering from that for about a week. I was in menopause before my hysterectomy and the gynecologist was hoping that moving into menopause would alleviate my problems with endometriosis. But that didn’t happen. So I had the hysterectomy….and 8 months later had to have a laparoscopy to remove endometriosis that grew in that 8 months. My laparoscopy yesterday was my 5th for endometriosis over 26 years. My gynecologist and I are going to discuss at my followup what treatment we need to do to keep my body from producing estrogen.
Without the wisdom and peace that the Holy Spirit gives, I think I’d be a mess! But I believe the Holy Spirit leads me in my health decisions, as well as my daily life. I am so grateful that Jesus gives us the Holy Spirit once we accept Him as Savior of our lives!
Where do you live in PA? I live in Shillington, which is a small town just south of Reading. I’ve been working at Penn State Berks for almost 8 years and am currently the Human Resources Assistant for our campus. It’s very interesting and busy, but I have missed days or partial days because of my Lyme and endometriosis. My bosses have been very understanding, and I am grateful to God for that.
Feel free to send me a message back.
Hi Jackie! I’ve severely enjoyed reading your blog 🙂 And have nominated you for the Real Neat Blog award! http://bloominuterus.com/2015/03/16/the-real-neat-blog-award-2/
Keep it up, woman!
Hi Jackie, My name is Wendy Scott and we have a mutual friend in Howard Donnell, who sent me a link to your blog. I live in Fleetwood, PA with my groom of 33 years. You and I have quite a bit in common. I too am blessed to know and follow Christ. For the last 11 years I have been living with chronic pain from Degenerative Disc Disease, muscles that are determined to turn into rocks, fibromyalgia or a central pain amplification syndrome and multiple medication, supplement and food allergies. My diseases are also invisible, I look normal and mostly healthy from the outside. Life is challenging but I find through the Lord I am able to know contentment, joy and purpose even with these challenges.
I used to work in public relations but became fully disabled in 2006. Just wanted to say, “Hi sister!”💜 Wendy
I remember Howard sending me an email that he had a friend who lived near us who is dealing with several chronic illnesses. Yes, we do have quite a bit in common, primarily our relationship with Jesus Christ. I’m so sorry you are living with chronic pain and multiple allergies. It’s very difficult to get up and move some days, isn’t it? I too, try to ask the Lord to give me the mindset that each day that I wake up and put my feet on the floor & can move, I need to be grateful.
I am currently in my 3rd week of a 4-week leave of absence from work due to the severity of my lyme disease. My primary symptom is severe fatigue, and I was having a difficult time getting into work on time and making it through the day. Plus the stress level at work over the last 6 months has increased dramatically due to some organizational changes. My lyme doctor gave me 2 supplements this past Monday to boost my adrenal gland, as he knows that lyme attacks the adrenal gland, which controls our energy level. So I’m praying that this strengthens me enough to return to work, even if it’s part time at first.
So sorry to hear that you became fully disabled in 2006. How did you feel when that happened, and how did you work through your feelings? How do you feel most days? Do you have energy to do much other than care for yourself, and have your symptoms improved at all since you’ve been on disability? Sorry for all of the questions, but I always enjoy learning from others who are living with chronic illness.
I highly recommend you check out http://restministries.com. It’s a Christian website that supports and encourages the chronically ill. They have a “chat room” called the Sunroom, where you can connect with others who are living with chronic pain and illness. I’ve written about a half dozen devotionals for them, as God gives me ideas and time. You can sign up to get their daily devos to your inbox. I generally related to most of them, & they encourage me for the day.
Thanks so much for reaching out and connecting with me! I will let Howard know the next time I email him. I will also add you to my prayers to live for Christ everyday and that He gives you the strength to do that.
Hi Jackie – I’m also named Jackie! I was doing some research on Lyme Disease and Joint Pain as I too, have been experiencing pain in my right hip. I was told I may have a labrum tear, but they want to rule out Lyme first (I got diagnosed last April). It’s comforting to know that I’m not the only one!!
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also, I don’t use wordpress – I use wix (www.thatblueeyedblonde.com)
So sorry to hear that you’re experiencing pain in your right hip. Labrum tears can be very painful & difficult to diagnose and repair. I have a good friend who is a fellow fitness instructor who had several labrum tears along with a hamstring tear and she has had several surgeries over the past few years and is currently in physical therapy to heal from her latest surgery. Although Lyme can cause a myriad of symptoms, you will usually have more symptoms than joint pain in a specific area. It’s usually joint pain all over your body, sometimes intense, and sometimes not there at all.
If you get tested for Lyme, please know that more than 50% of people tested have negative results, even if they have active Lyme disease. The Lyme disease specialists who have treated me use a lab called Igenex out of California who have developed more sensitive tests for Lyme and its related co-infections, Babesia and Baronella (https://igenex.com/). I usually go to LabCorp to have the blood drawn and they send it to Igenex. I’ll be praying for you, thatblueeyedblonde, that you get a clear diagnosis and effective treatment for your hip pain.
P.S. Thanks for letting me know that you use Wix for your website. I’ll check it out!
Nice to ‘meet’ you Ma’am! I’m just a teen, trying to share hope to the world, but especially I’m the chronic illness community.
Thank you for sharing hope. I always think it’s so inspiring when someone has a plan for their life, and God turns their world upside down. Instead of giving up, they find a way to help others in the same position.