I wrote my first blog post three years ago today, where I talked about "wait[ing] for my doctors to stick a label on me and finally start treating my illness instead of just giving me pain killers."
You know what? I'm still waiting. (Yeah, I know -- big surprise, eh?) I've seen even more doctors, had even more tests, but I'm still a medical mystery. Some things never change, I guess.
I discovered a few weeks ago that I apparently missed the window of opportunity to go to the Mayo Clinic and not have to pay huge out-of-pocket fees. Apparently our health insurance carrier in 2009 would have covered it as in-network, but our 2010 carrier doesn't. And unfortunately, for the first time in four years, we're going to have the same carrier for 2011 that we have this year. (Seriously, my husband's employer changed insurance carriers three years in a row, which makes life confusing when you have to change specialists just to stay in-network.)
But I'm digressing.
I started blogging Oct. 14, 2007, because I felt isolated and overwhelmed when it became clear that what started in June 2007 as bilateral pneumonia had morphed into something else, and that something else wasn't playing by the rules of acute illness: It wasn't going away any time soon.
Before that, I hadn't ever followed any blogs. I knew what they were, but wasn't particularly interested in them and felt like I was too busy as a stay-at-home mom to a toddler to spend a lot of time reading other people's musings. It was hard enough to find the time to keep up with personal email and updating family and friends on Ellie's latest accomplishments and photos.
But I needed to know what other people were doing, how they coped when their lives changed and they found themselves dealing with chronic illness. I also hoped that by reading other people's blogs, maybe I'd find someone whose diagnosis matched my symptoms and I could take information back to my doctor.
I googled blogs about "chronic illness", and the first one that came up was Laurie Edwards' at A Chronic Dose. Her health problems had been lifelong, but I found her posts about coping and having a life that wasn't centered around chronic illness to be inspiring. Reading through her old posts, in fact, inspired me enough to start this blog. I expected this blog to be primarily a means of keeping my extended family updated on what was happening with my health. But as someone who has journaled off and on since childhood (got my first diary at age 9!), I also knew that the act of writing is a powerful thing for me as a way to express my emotions and frustrations.
What I didn't anticipate was the sense of community that I would find in the blogosphere, the empathy and knowledge that I am not alone on this path I never chose. And for that, I'm grateful.
Thank you -- all of you, and especially those of you I may not have met face-to-face yet, but I consider friends all the same. You've helped deal with the guilt of putting my daughter in daycare. You've helped me deal with the frustrations of dealing with doctors and insurance companies.
I don't feel as isolated any more, and haven't for a long time. Thank you for reading. Thank you for responding to my posts and sharing your own stories with me. I hope y'all will continue to do so, because I plan to be blogging for a long time. (Although I really hope I eventually get a diagnosis so there's more my doctors can do for me besides treat my symptoms and give me pain meds.)
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