"Lupus and scleroderma are our shadows but they do not define us. We may have to wear the ugly dresses of chronic illness but we don't have to be the ugly dresses." -- Linda and Karen If you are experiencing a long-term illness or disability, this book is for you -- as well as your family and friends. The authors share a collection of deeply personal stories and poetry to describe their journey from illness to health, well-being, and fruitful living. Their creative life management strategies provide a road map to help you: overcome overwhelming feelings of loss, grief, anger, fear, and powerlessness; navigate a healthcare system filled with individuals who can be patronizing or dismissive; field well-intentioned but hurtful remarks such as, "But you look so good!" walk the tightrope between seeking and accepting help and fiercely guarding your independence. Chronic illness forces you to slow down and reexamine your values, your choices, and the way you define yourself. In If You Have to Wear an Ugly Dress, Learn to Accessorize, Linda McNamara and Karen Kemper offer companionship throughout the process, helping you face your challenges with dignity and grace.