Hi Friends!

It is February already! I told you this year is going to fly by. Are you making time for the things that bring joy to your life? Remember my motto: Stress less, enjoy more.
Cindy during her keynote at the ACR/ARHP Annual Meeting in Boston

Lots of red and hearts everywhere this month and oh, that delicious candy. It is always a toss up for me if I like the hearts with words printed on them or the chocolates best. But Valentine's Day isn't really about the candy; it is about love. You'll see in my article this month that I'm a big proponent of self-love. Do something special for yourself, then love and care for those around you. No guilt allowed!

For those who suffer from heart issues, I'm sending extra special love your way this month in recognition of American Heart Month.

Hugs, Cindy 
featured article |A Card To Me, From Me     
February is the month of love. I know this, because as soon as the stores removed their Christmas cards the first of January, they were replaced by Valentine's Day cards. Yes, the world is filled with red in February. And it is hopefully filled with love (I know Hallmark is banking on it!).

In an ideal world, everyone would have a special person in their life who would rush off to the store and purchase one of these cards (and maybe a box of chocolates) to deliver lovingly on the fourteenth of the month. I consider myself very fortunate and am beyond grateful for my husband of almost 38 years. He is loving and attentive not just on Valentine's Day but throughout the year. However, I know that not everyone is as fortunate as I am to have someone who loves and supports him or her in sickness and in health. I also know that many of us who suffer from chronic illness have a great deal of trouble loving ourselves when illness invades our bodies. I believe that loving one's self is the first step in a healthy relationship with others. How can we expect others to love us if we don't first view ourselves as lovable?

Unfortunately, chronic disease can rob us of the lives we knew before-our Plan A lives-leaving us living Plan B where the person we thought we were based on careers, relationships and financial status is drastically changed. Many with lupus and other diseases are left struggling to figure out who they are without that job, that income and the ability to do the things they used to do; often feeling their value to the world and to others is diminished. I happen not to believe this. I believe that every person has meaning and value in the world and, regardless of profession, income or relationships, deserves to be loved, even and especially when they have trouble seeing it themselves. As I always share when I speak to those who live with those of us with chronic illness: Please try to love us even when we feel unlovable. That is when we need you most!

So, to each of you who live with chronic illness, I encourage you to love yourself unconditionally (no, I haven't seen a Valentine's card to send to yourself, but I might be on to something here!). I know some days it is hard, but imagine you are a guest in your own home and treat yourself the way you would treat someone you love. Use the good towels, eat the special food, and even put a few fresh flowers by the bed; because when we love ourselves, others find it easier to love us as well.

Happy Valentine's Day!
quotes | Power, Light and Love    
"You are very powerful, provided you know how powerful you are." ~Yogi Bhajan

"We are each gifted in a unique and important way. It is our privilege and our adventure to discover our own special light." ~Mary Dunbar

"You must love yourself before you love another. By accepting yourself and fully being what you are, your simple presence can make others happy." ~Author Unknown
books |What Cindy's Reading

Fabu Lupus: How to Be Young, Successful & Fabulous (With Lupus)
by Jodie Nimigon-Young and
Jessica Kundapur.

I'm very excited this book is out! I was honored to be asked to preview it in advance and I loved it. Although I haven't met the authors in person (yet), I can tell they are fabulous young women living with lupus. Their positive, upbeat writing style offers young people not only timely and much needed information, but also hope and inspiration. Here is my endorsement, which you will see in the book:

"Jessica and Jodie know from personal experience what it is like to be a young person living with lupus AND still live a meaningful and fun life. Their positive attitudes come through the words on the page in this helpful, easy-to-read book."
~ Cindy Coney, Speaker-Consultant-Patient Advisor

You can also check out their webstie at: www.fabulupus.com

Every Patient Tells a Story: Medical Mysteries and the Art of Diagnosis

by Lisa Sanders (2010)

I was attracted to this book by the title because as a person living with lupus I know how difficult it can be to diagnose autoimmune diseases. The author, Dr. Sanders, gives us a glimpse inside the brains of doctors as they struggle with difficult to diagnose cases. I found the book to be informative, but not nearly as entertaining to read as other books I've read. If you are curious about the way doctor's think when diagnosing illness, you'll find this book informative. If you aren't interested in the topic, I'd say skip this one and read something fun instead.

P.S. Because I can only read so much about disease and illness without a break, I'm reading The Rosie Project and The Rosie Effect just for fun and a few laughs.

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I would love to speak to your group. Simply contact me at cindy@cindyconey.com and we'll work out the details!
ABOUT CINDY CONEY Nationally recognized keynote speaker and resiliency educator Cindy Coney has assisted thousands in moving beyond "coping" with limitations to recapturing joy, balance and freedom through her speeches and pioneering educational training for patients and healthcare professionals. Diagnosed with lupus in 1980, Cindy has traveled the globe to share her story of thriving after a chronic diagnosis. Read more.