Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Lisa Sniderman on How She Kept Shining & Thriving Even With Chronic Illness and Limited Energy (You can do it, too!)

In this interview, Lisa Sniderman talks to Alexander “The Engineer” Lim, host of AuthorStory by alvinwriter.com, about her virtual summit, Keep Shining: How to Thrive With Chronic Illness and Limited Energy.

“Where you are and who you are right now is enough.” ~Lisa Sniderman

Lisa, in 2019, collaborated with some 20 artists to help create an animated video and song about her illness and recovery, and during the same year, her book, A Light in the Darkness, had been converted to an audiobook with her as the narrator and had been considered for the Grammy awards, which she went to in January 2020. The awards were an experience, as she needed to rest between awards events – an experience which she remarked as feeling “surreal.” (Lisa implemented a “no hugs” policy during that event, due to her autoimmune condition, which she remarked was a forerunner for actions that need to be taken during the Covid-19 pandemic.) She had been honored with over 20 awards for both audiobook and video, and has been home-bound since early 2019 due to a flare-up of her condition. Although Lisa has been receiving infusions intended to moderate her symptoms, she has decided to discontinue these and use diet and activities such as yoga, due to the present Covid-19 pandemic and concerns arising from this.

Lisa has focused on creating and had been working on the free virtual summit since July 2019, which created a challenge where creating time and balance between work and self-care were concerned. She thus limited herself to conducting ten interviews a month, with a maximum of two interviews a day. Lisa is also creating a spoken-word album in collaboration with her Producer and an ensemble, which focuses on grief and thriving – a process which is challenging, given the present sheltering conditions around Covid-19. That said, she remarks that those with chronic illnesses might be more adapted to the present conditions of self-isolating, and could thus be in a better position to help others adapt.

Lisa has been living with dermatomyositis, a degenerative, inflammatory muscular disease whose symptoms include skin rashes and which causes muscular weakness and attacks the immune system, since April 2008, and in addition to helping manage this with medicine and therapy, has also been managing her condition with creativity. She realized that she presently has challenges creating and connecting with others while creating a community while at home and with a limited amount of energy, and this is the seed of her online seminar, along with the video and the book that she had helped create. Lisa intends to inspire others in a similar condition as herself to thrive, and this is the purpose of her two-week, 60-talk summit. The summit itself starts on July 10, 2020, which is Chronic Disease Awareness Day, and this also plays into seven out of ten people in the United States living with chronic illness (7/10).

The summit’s expert speakers consist of medical experts, artists who are battling illness, alternative practitioners, thought leaders, spiritual leaders, healers, creative therapists and members of online support networks. Lisa focused on speakers who can address familiar issues which face those living with chronic illness, such as how to address one’s emotional, spiritual and mental well-being – things which, she notes, “fall by the wayside,” given the emphasis on physical well-being. In addition to 60 interviews, two speaker panels will also be involved, where the questions asked by summit participants will be answered by experts, participants can interact with each other through Facebook, and drama therapy workshops will be conducted. Although the summit is intended primarily for those with chronic illness, Lisa believes that anyone interested in improving their health and well-being during these times of pandemic can get something out of this seminar, as the emphasis of the summit is how to thrive during challenges.

Some of the topics that Lisa is excited to present include holistic nutrition (which includes practical strategies on what to eat and how to reduce inflammation); using meditation to relax, heal and transform; and using expressive arts to heal and transform. She also noted the involvement of Amy Oestreicher, whose stomach had exploded; who, after coming out of a months-long coma, learned she could not eat or drink; and who gives practical advice on thriving, based on the lessons she learned from her experience. Lisa also notes that one of the topics in her seminar is on sex and intimacy while living with chronic illness, which isn’t much talked about but which is important to the relationships in one’s life.

To those who are impacted by chronic illness, Lisa recommends finding a trusted disease-related organization or a disease-focused support group, as well as a doctor who takes the situation seriously. “Don’t go at it alone,” she emphasizes. Lisa also remarks that one should grieve when one is suddenly confronted by the reality of chronic illness, as this is necessary to eventually keeping one’s dreams alive.

A Light in the Darkness: Transcending Chronic Illness through the Power of Art and Attitude Paperback by Lisa A. Sniderman

Links from Lisa Sinderman:

Sign up for the Keep Shining virtual summit (July 10-24, 2020) and learn how to thrive with chronic illness and limited energy

Join the How to Thrive With Chronic Illness and Limited Energy Facebook Group 

View/download Lisa’s Life Lessons for Living Well With Chronic Illness 

Watch the Keep Shining summit trailer 

Watch Lisa Sniderman's Keep Shining Music Video which shares her personal story and struggle with illness, disability and her recovery   

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