The Importance of Music in Surviving illness; I’m Not Going Nowhere

vinyl-player-2-1413480-mUPDATE:  I’ll be gone for several days and my Internet access will probably disappear soon.  I thought I’d have time to do a quick post before leaving but I don’t.  So I decided to repost an old blog entry that’s one of my favorites.

Jessica Sanchez recently started recording her first album.  And now, I’m writing about the American Idol runner-up’s rendition of Dream Girls’ song,  And I’m Telling You I’m Not Going Nowhere because when I was down, it inspired me.  (You can see why in the videos below.)  You should have an anthem, a song that reminds you that will survive all the madness.  Music can help us find freedom despite chronic pain and fatigue.

Watch Jessica Sanchez’ Breathtaking Performance Here

A few months ago, Jessica performed the aforementioned number and received a standing ovation.  While I loved the 2006 movie, the song suddenly took on a different meaning for me.  Here was this 16-year old girl, often underestimated, now getting recognition for her talent.

I thought:  She’s a fighter.  She’s fought all her life—harsh circumstances and racist critics (stuff like “She can’t be a star because she’s Asian” or “Who is this undercover Mexican?”  I’m a fighter too.  This is my song.  To my autoimmune disease, ovarian disease, and respiratory problems I say: I’m Not Going Nowhere.  I’ve been sick for years and by God’s grace, I’m still standing (albeit with a cane, but I’m still here)!

How Jennifer Hudson First Inspired Me

My first exposure to this song was Jennifer Hudson’s Academy Award winning performance in the 2006 film version of Dream Girls.  Two years later in October 2008, I was diagnosed with Myasthenia Gravis and hospitalized.  I was in critical condition with a disturbingly high antibody teter count (0 is normal but my count was 625!).  After enduring seven sessions of plasmapheresis, I was released from the hospital on October 24, 2012.  The doctor gave me a 50/50 shot of living.  After weeks of not watching television (I’m a news junkie, by the way), I turned on the news.  I learned that former American Idol finalist Jennifer Hudson was living a nightmare.  Her brother and mother were found dead and her nephew was kidnapped.  A few days later, his dead body was found in an abandoned car.  I thought:  Some people think that having three illnesses (at the time I only had three major ones) is the worst thing in life.  But what about Jennifer Hudson?  What’s she going through?  What would I ever do if anything like that happened to me?  Could I handle losing my family?

Months later, Jennifer Hudson sang the National Anthem at the Superbowl and won several Grammys.  I’ll never forget the standing ovation she received at the Grammy’s.  I wondered, How does she do it?  In an interview with Oprah, she talked about how God carries her through.  As a fellow believer, I am encouraged by her faith.  If she can do it, why can’t I?

Jennifer Holliday and Jessica Sanchez Bring the Roof Down

In April,  I was watching the season finale of American Idol.  I was wowed by the duet between Jessica Sanchez and Jennifer Holliday, the original Dreamgirl.  They sang And I’m Telling You I’m Not Going Nowhere.  (Thirty years ago, Holliday won a Tony and a Grammy for her performance.)   I later learned that Holliday has Multiple Sclerosis, a sister autoimmune disease of my illness!   Whenever I watch this video, I think:  Well, I guess she not going nowhere.  And neither am I.  I don’t know how long I have to live—whether I make it to 40 or 80, but I know I’ll never stop fighting.

Your Turn

What’s your message to your illness(es)?  What’s your anthem?  Who inspires you?  Join the conversation on Fashionably ill’s FACEBOOK PAGE here!

–Your Stylist, Jessica Gimeno


Hi there! I am a patient advocate, writer, and public speaker most well known for my TEDx Talk, “How to Get Stuff Done When You Are Depressed.” As someone who is juggling 5 illnesses: bipolar 2, myasthenia gravis, endometriosis, psoriasis, and asthma, I’m passionate about helping people who navigate life with both chronic physical & emotional pain. If you’re interested in hiring me to speak at your event, check out the CONTACT tab.

2 thoughts on “The Importance of Music in Surviving illness; I’m Not Going Nowhere

  • March 26, 2014 at 2:12 pm

    Great post. I recently compiled a ‘happiness playlist’ on Youtube which I can listen to on my laptop/phone/ipod whenever I need a boost. I chose many of the songs, not just because they’re happy songs, but because they have a happy memory or experience attached to them and that lifts me too. 🙂 x

    • April 7, 2014 at 12:16 am

      You’re so right! I find that happy memories can be so therapeutic. Love the idea of a happiness playlist. Thank you for your insight. I might make one myself.


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