Never Forsaken

Huntington, West Virginia

IN MY 45 YEARS AS A REGISTERED nurse, I’ve seen how chronic illness and pain can isolate people, taking over their lives until it seems as if there’s no room for friends or family, even God. I know firsthand how dealing with physical and emotional pain can be one of the loneliest experiences you can ever have. It can even have physical and mental health consequences. Loneliness can make a person more at risk for cardiovascular disease, stroke, Type 2 diabetes, depression and a host of other ailments.

It’s a big problem. A study from 2018 found that half of Americans say they feel lonely. But there are things you can do to help you make deeper connections and overcome loneliness.

Reach out to strangers

I was diagnosed with neurofibromatosis at the age of 13. My mother and I traveled regularly from our home in West Virginia to the Cleveland Clinic, where I underwent surgery to remove the painful tumors on the inside

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