People who live with long term, complex chronic illness suffer from extreme stress and trauma together and alone. ‘Live with’ meaning they’re my diagnoses or I’m caring for someone with those challenges. ‘Caring for someone’ can be professionals or family and non-family, and sometimes community. The intensity of acute crises, rehabilitation, and maintenance (living life) all cause unforgettable and deep-rooted stress. Crazy-making stress. Illness-induced Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). To explore PTSD, I asked Nancy Michaels to join us. She spent 6-months in the ICU, two-months in a coma, with a liver transplant and brain surgery to boot. She most remembers dignity and control or lack thereof. It affected more than her. Listen in.
MarlaJan Wexler, a registered nurse, supports young people with stories similar to hers: congenital heart defects and open-heart surgeries. In this thirteenth episode in the series about Young Adults with Complex Conditions Transitioning from Pediatric to Adult Medical Care, MarlaJan relates her evolution from child to a person advocating for herself to an advocate for others. She describes the challenge of leveraging her ‘been there, done that’ experience while gauging the readiness of young adults and parents to hear the lessons she’s learned. Finally, MarlaJan opens her heart (so to speak) to her struggles with PTSD and finding compassion for herself.