Dear Chronic Illness Community..

Dear Chronic Illness Community..

Having a chronic illness can be a very solitary life and strangely your disruptive illness has become your normal. Normal frequent trips to the doctor. Normal hours on end on the phone with the insurance company. Normal infusions or daily treatments. Normal daily, debilitating fatigue. Normal pain that daily racks your body but is not visible to those who see you. And even in some cases, normal struggles with family members who still don’t understand your illness or are themselves fatigued by it. Normal that you often feel all alone.

Prayers For Hope And Healing

In the summer of 2016, I met the author Sarah Forgrave at a conference. When I found out she was an author, I asked her what her book was about. Sarah told me she had written an inspirational book for those with chronic illnesses. I was amazed that there was even such a book. I was more intrigued because I knew of many patients that longed for someone to understand how they feel and how does this illness relate to me as a person with a body, mind and soul.

I asked Sarah “why you, you look perfectly normal, to write such a book”. This was her answer:

“In some ways, I feel as if my whole life’s story prepared me to write Prayers for Hope and Healing. Starting at the age of four, I watched my sister battle Stage 4 cancer and go through a bone marrow transplant. Since we shared a bedroom growing up, I had a front row view to the challenges a person faces during medical hardships.”

A Dark And Difficult Road

“As an adult, I went through my own medical crisis after my son’s birth. Complications from delivery sent me into a season of long-term disability as I went in and out of surgeries, desperate for healing. It was an incredibly dark and difficult road, and I found it hard to talk openly with others about the challenges I faced.

A few years later, I walked with my sister through a heart transplant (Her chemotherapy from all those years ago had permanently damaged her heart). As I watched clergy visit with her, I found myself wishing for a resource that could be an extension of their visit – – a bedside companion that could meet people right where they are and connect them with God. Those were the seeds of inspiration that prompted me to write Prayers for Hope and Healing in the format I did.”

A Book Written Out Of Pain

There you have it, a book written out of the pain. The pain of a child, not knowing what life is about, facing an older sister’s potential mortality. The pain of a person who inexplicably is years later facing their own darkness of their own medical crisis. The pain of a person unable to say or do anymore but wanting more for their sister with life in the balance. There are those dark times when you are sure there is no one else, even those closest to us, know what we feel or are what we are going through. And so, Sarah tried write a book to at least be a reminder, when you are alone with your thoughts, that there is hope.

A Message Of Hope Receives A Powerful Response

Having had this encounter with Sarah we acquired her book and had her autograph copies for our patients. Why autographed? We want our patients to know this book was written by a real person. As we had occasion Debi Howerda, our patient care advocate (and lover of those we are privileged to serve), would tuck a book into our patient’s monthly shipments. Never wanting to impose a religious view but desiring to say, there is hope and you are not alone. Not long after we sent a book to a patient Debi received the following note:

Dear Debi,

The very first story of healing is my favorite and gives me hope…. A woman, who had been sick for 12 years touch the cloak of Jesus and was healed. Her faith was so strong.

Thank you for the signed copy of “Prayers for Hope and Healing: Daily I Seek God’s Strength” . In the variety of mini chapters there is truly hope in the storm. I have prayed for healing for many years. Several of the mini chapters are now on my mind. Your thoughtful gift is greatly appreciated.

Going Beyond The Prescription

Many of our patients have dealt with their disease for years if not their whole life. There are times that the lifesaving medications are not enough. It is then that we are compelled to Go Beyond the Prescription and be there for our patients. Listen. Encourage. Help. Pray. And sometimes share a book of Hope to serve as a reminder after we hang up the phone.

It is an honor to have a small part in the work that the ASAP team does every day. It is a privilege to serve alongside with caring patient advocates and a pharmacist that are available by cell day or night. Principals who empower us as a company find ways to meet the needs of the patients we serve. People serving patients. People who know their patient’s family members and their milestones. Patients who are in our system but even deeper in our hearts. Patients who we care for and care about. Patients who want to know they are not alone and that there is HOPE.

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