Sickness and Starfish ~Surviving Chronic Illness and Holding on To the Light

Introducing Winslow Dixon, Chronic Illness Survivor and Talented Author

While I am recovering from hand surgery, I wanted to feature a few guest posts by my fellow chronic illness bloggers. This week I would love to introduce you to the beautiful, inspiring and talented Winslow Dixon.

She has written a wonderful post about the power of chronic illness and overcoming seemingly insurmountable obstacles to find joy and light even in the darkness. Be sure to read The Starfish Story at the bottom of the post, it is truly special.

This inspiring young woman is a light and an encouragement. I know that you will be touched by her story. So without further rambling, I will let Winslow introduce herself.

Winslow Dixon

Let me introduce myself!

My name is Winslow E. Dixon. I am a former holistic health coach, early childhood educator and geriatric dementia practitioner.  Upon my diagnosis of Medullary Sponge Kidney Disorder, Endometriosis and Addison’s disease; my life took on a new purpose.

I am now a published author, freelance writer and chronic illness advocate though the organization “The UnChargeables.” It is my true belief that I was put on this earth to spread hope and healing; and nothing can stop me.

Feel free to visit my website if you need some encouragement!

You can also connect with me on Twitter at: Winslow E. Dixon

Sickness and Starfish

The Power of Chronic Illness

Chronic illness is powerful force that overtakes health, finances, strength, hope and just about everything it comes into contact with.  It has the ability to impact not only the physical body, but the mind as well.

Chronic illness is life changing.

Change is not something we as humans typically favor. Our natural tendencies are to stay in our safe, comfort zones; free from scary, new experiences.

Those of us with chronic health problems are constantly faced with the daunting force that is our illness.

Life as we know it is forever changed.

Dreams we once had may have been re-arranged. We may feel like we are no longer at our best. The grief of having to let go of our former selves is a battle we must be brave enough to face.

Chronic illness may change your destiny, but it CANNOT take it away from you. (1)


Chronic illness may change your destiny, but it CANNOT take it away from you.

Do not ever think you are worth any less because you are sick.

Everyone can make a difference in this world, despite even the worst of circumstances.

In my own life, I watched my dual career in medicine crumble right before my eyes.

I was a resident care and enrichment director at a retirement home. I absolutely loved caring for the elderly. Geriatrics was my heart.  This was my dream job. I was the youngest person to ever hold that position in the company. I considered it a great honor and was very proud to serve my elders.

I also worked as a holistic practitioner at a natural medicine clinic. Helping others was my passion.

In my quest to serve humanity, I was seeking a degree as a Physician’s Assistant. I wanted to help spread hope and healing to the world.

But one fateful day, my illness got the best of me. I almost lost my life. I became so ill I couldn’t feed or bathe myself.

The life I knew slipped away in the scariest manner I could’ve imagined.

At 24, I lost all control.

And that’s just it, my friends. We elude ourselves into thinking we have control.

I assumed because I was doing the right things, the right things would happen to me.

This is not how life works. Bad things happen to good people.

My life is different now. My dreams are different now. My goals are different now.

The negativity says “You are done for. You are sick.” 

But the truth is that my illness took my control, but it did not take my character.


Despite your illness, YOU are still YOU.

Don’t ever let anything convince you otherwise.

You can still make a difference.

The story posted below is one that I have absolutely come to treasure.

I once thought that since my career and prestige were gone, that meant that I could no longer make a difference.

That is not the case.

You are alive for a reason.

You are NOT your illness.

You are still able to be a light in a dark place.

You may have lost control, don’t lose your character.

Bitterness and anger may cloak the pain, but in the end it only adds to it.

Let yourself grieve your past life, but do not be defined by it.

You are a different light now, it’s time to shine.

-Winslow E. Dixon

The Starfish Story


4 Responses to Sickness and Starfish ~Surviving Chronic Illness and Holding on To the Light

  1. Rebecca says:

    Thank you for the beautiful encouragement. I agree that bracing yourself to accept the new “you” is one of the hardest aspect of chronic illness. I think it’s the defining point in being able to handle all the challenges your illness brings. I can still be happy in spite of all that weighs me down. My biggest struggle is with my husband. I am not who he originally married, and I feel that he has difficulty loving the new me. I know I only have the power to control my own perspective and just pray he can love the new me, too.

    • ValerieB says:

      Dear Rebecca, Thanks so much for reading. I know how you feel about your husband. I feel the same about mine sometimes. I worry that he will tire of living with a wife who is constantly sick. Keep encouraged. Blessings, Valerie

  2. Sheryl says:

    Loved this article, it was so well articulated and a beautiful reminder. Thank you!

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