April McGowan

Living Well With Chronic Illness–intro

Have you heard of the books titled All I Ever Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten? Or learned from my dog, or from the Wizard of Oz, or from Star Trek (that’s my personal favorite). They list all the positive and negative things the author learned about life from those experiences. But I have a new take.

This past year, I’ve taken stock of a lot of things in my life, and I can honestly say I’m more whole now in this broken body than I was before I got much more seriously sick. Illness affected my life from birth. Little did my family or doctors know, but my body had a genetic break that kept me from making antibodies to colds or infections that, over time, got worse and worse.

April McGowan

April McGowan 1973

This is me in the hospital, age 3. Raggedy Ann is peeking over my shoulder (I still have her) and that bear seems to be doing an excellent job of standing guard!

Here’s what no one tells you. Chronic illness doesn’t just change a few things in your life, it changes everything. Part of those changes extend to the very definition of what quality of life, happiness and joy mean–and their effects on every aspect of our lives. And although I’m riding on a hard road I wouldn’t wish on anyone at all, I’m thankful for it. I never thought I’d say that.

For the next several weeks, I’m going to be sharing about how everything I needed to know to live well, I learned from being chronically ill. I’ll make a helpful tab on my blog to chronicle them all in case you miss any. Here are some of the highlights I’ll be covering (the order may change as I go along):

  1. What marriage means
  2. What parenting means
  3. What suffering means
  4. What friendship means
  5. What loss of friendship means
  6. What living in the moment means
  7. What submission means
  8. What support groups mean
  9. What life goals mean
  10. What work means
  11. What helping others means
  12. What plans mean
  13. What hope means
  14. What dreams mean
  15. What acceptance means
  16. What boundaries mean
  17. What grief means
  18. What being tired means
  19. What giving up means
  20. What hanging on means
  21. What honesty means
  22. What commitment means
  23. What sacrifice means
  24. What trusting God means

I’ve learned a lot in the past 45 years from chronic illness. Especially in the past five years. Lots of hard things. Lots of good things. But those hard things, when I let them, helped shape me into a different form—into a person I like a whole lot more, and into a faith deeper and more intimate with Jesus than I could have ever imagined. I venture to say that any challenging experience you have can do that, if you let it.

So I hope you’ll join me as I blog, and take part in conversations along the way, sharing your heart with me, too.

Until next time,




  1. Valerie Becker
    Jul 15, 2015

    Looking forward to reading these.

  2. alittlebitoflaura
    Aug 27, 2015

    You sound like you are very strong and empowered! I love that Raggedy Ann watches over you that made me smile:)

  3. ms mary p
    Feb 6, 2016

    Hi, thanks for stopping by my blog and the like. I’m looking forward to reading the posts on your blog
    ms mary

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