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Living a Full Life with Chronic Illness

By Margarita Tartakovsky, M.S.
Associate Editor

Living A Full Life With Chronic IllnessEin-shei Chen was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease) in 1995. Yet she hasn’t let the degenerative disease derail her daily life or dull her dreams. Chen is the president of the Motor Neuron Disease Association of Taiwan. She’s given speeches at ALS conferences all over the world. She’s even convinced the government to build an ALS clinic in her city of Taichung — the second facility in all of Asia.

Chen can only move her big toe. She writes emails and communicates with others using special technology. Composing an email with five short sentences takes her 20 minutes. But she continues to email with her family, friends and other ALS patients. She also visits patients in person with the help of her caregivers and relatives.

Chen’s remarkable story is featured in Richard Cheu’s empowering book Living Well With Chronic Illness: A Practical and Spiritual Guide. Cheu provides pastoral counseling to patients in New York City medical and hospice centers. He helps patients find peace with their illness and live their lives to the fullest.

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