November 18, 2002
By Donna Jackel
Democrat and Chronicle
To Janet DeMarco, her illness is like a shadow that follows her everywhere.
DeMarco, a mother of three, was diagnosed 15 years ago, at age 25, with multiple sclerosis, a chronic disease of the central nervous system.
“Some days it seems like the morning is going OK, but by noontime I have to take a nap. But then I have the energy for when the kids come home,” she said. “I make plans, but they don’t always come through. Sometimes I’m too tired or not feeling well.”
Saturday, DeMarco of Webster hopes to learn some new strategies for coping with her debilitating illness. She is attending a conference for women with chronic illnesses and disabilities, “Putting it All Together and Managing Change.”
The annual conference, in its third year, gives women a chance to network, gain mutual support and learn about community services available to them, said Rosemary Zuck, director of programs of the National MS Society of Upstate New York.
The agency co-hosts the event with the Genesee Valley Chapter of the Lupus Foundation of America and Nazareth College. Women are offered strategies for promoting maximum wellness, managing the daily challenges of chronic illness or disability, and overcoming barriers, Zuck said.
The conference was designed by and planned for women, but it is also open to men. Attendees have a wide range of diagnoses, from AIDS to cancer, depression to neuromuscular disease, Zuck said.
Workshops include “Growing Older: the Second 50,” “Coping with Illness and Disability in the Workplace and the Community” and “Sexuality and Intimacy for Women with Chronic Illnesses and Disabilities.”
“Encountering major illness can have a profound effect on sexuality, but the psychological adjustment process can bring people to a new stage of sexuality, regardless of any physical limitations,” Zuck said.
There will be some light moments. Keynote speaker Virginia Hronek will talk about humor and how it relates to health.
If you go:
What: Workshop for women with chronic illnesses and disabilities, ''Putting it All Together and Managing Changes.''
Who: Presented by the National MS Society of Upstate New York, the Lupus Foundation of America, Genesee Valley Chapter and Nazareth College.
When: 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Saturday.
Where: Otto A. Shults Community Center, Naza-reth College, 4245 East Ave.
Cost: $15 per person includes lunch; scholarships are available.
Register: Call the National MS Society Upstate NY Chapter at
271-0801 ext. 5327.
© Copyright 2002 Rochester Democrat and Chronicle