It is important to believe in our own abilities when managing our lives with chronic conditions. It is possible to create a great life and not just view it as a sentence to be served. Facing illness is something we do and illness itself is only a portion of who we are. It is vital that we tap into our wellness strengths and potential.
Self-reliance is important to individuals facing illness. By strengthening our supportive opportunities and networks, we strengthen our healing capacities. I believe that the best way to educate others about living with any invisible chronic illness is by living with it ~ well.
This site will introduce you to who I am and what I do. The blog posts will capture thoughts, experiences and resources that I come across along my journey into finding more self-reliance and simplicity to reinforce my wellness goals that I feel will ultimately support my health self-management.
I look forward to sharing my thoughts and my support services with you as you pursue your own chronic wellness journey.
I acted as the MLWT community network coordinator beginning in 2008, bringing together connections on individual and collective levels. Drawing from many years working within the non-profit sector, as well as Oregon and Washington State social services, my role as coordinator was to ‘sew up’ the support gaps between state agencies, non-profit programs and foundations, healthcare providers and social networks. By emphasizing the strengths of each resource and designing collaborative efforts among them, those gaps fill and the support individuals need are strengthened. Keeping the initial purpose of the MLWT project alive, I continue to seek out and develop collaborations nationwide that will help reinforce wellness for our Pacific NW communities, particularly for patients living with the more “invisible” health conditions/illnesses like lupus, fibromyaglia, chronic pain, and so forth.
Currently, I am what is referred to as a Non-Traditional Health Worker (or Community Health Worker) in multiple Oregon communities, which includes my work as a Wellness Doula for women living with chronic health challenges. My role is to be supportive in working with you to make living well more personally relevant and achievable to your daily life. (Note: The State of Oregon is currently establishing accreditation requirements for certification and will be incorporating NTHWs into the new CCO health care delivery system).
As a Health Facilitator, I co-lead Oregon’s Living Well With Chronic Conditions state-wide workshops, based on Stanford University’s Chronic Disease Self-Management Program (CDSMP) and Stanford’s Diabetes Self-Management Program (DSMP). I also lead the Arthritis Foundation’s land-based exercise classes for local registered sites, including senior living centers, community-based centers and hospitals. I lead classes in the CDC’s Tai Chi: Moving For Better Balance , an eight-form program that is offered on behalf of the State of Oregon’s Fall Prevention Program and will be trained in Stanford Universities Pain Self-Management program in 2013. I also work directly with individuals upon request. If you are on LinkedIn, you can learn more about my professional experience and training by following the link below.
An Oregonian since I was six, I live in the Portland-Metro area with my family and feel fortunate to have a supportive network of people who have been instrumental in practicing self-care. I’ve developed a good working relationship with my health challenges — especially lupus — and have maintained full function of my own kidneys. Although I still struggle to admit that I need help or over do it sometimes, I do enjoy time spent with my daughters, share in social adventures with friends, seek every opportunity to explore our beautiful state , dutifully tend my (sometimes stubborn) garden and make sure that I appreciate as many simple pleasures as I can- every single day.
In support of your wellness,
To Contact me for Health Facilitation and Patient-Centered Wellness Doula Services here in Oregon:
Maria (at) mylifeworkstoday.com