chronic illness

Meet Your Endo Sisters!

Can you believe that March is only 3 days away which means the THIRD annual Blogging for Endometriosis Awareness campaign is kicking off?! I can’t believe it! 3 years ago I would never have imagined the way that this dream of bringing bloggers together to help raise endometriosis awareness would have come to fruition and we would be embarking on our third campaign!

This year is going to be even bigger with a goal to put our feet on the ground and make a tangible effort to increase awareness, education, and research by fundraising for the Endometriosis Research Center. Our Blogging for Endometriosis campaign goal is $250 but I know we can blow that out of the water! If you didn’t see on twitter or Facebook yesterday, next month I am scheduled for an endometriosis-specific ultrasound next month which is brand new technology that allows endometriosis and adhesions to be viewed via ultrasound! This has never been possible before and currently is only offered in 2 locations in the US! This is a HUGE step forward in the diagnosis and treatment of endometriosis! By continuing our efforts, we can help this technology be more readily available and continue to make steps forward in the advancement of endo research! Be sure to share our fundraising campaign link throughout the month as well as linking up your blog posts!

I thought that a great way to kickoff the campaign would be a fun little linkup answering some questions about ourselves (both about our endo histories and some fun/silly questions) to get to know our endo sisters a little better! You can answer these questions in a blog post anytime this week and add to the link up! If you don’t have a blog and still want to participate, you can answer the questions in the comment section!

Ten questions:

  1. How long I have been diagnosed with endo:
  2. Types of treatments I have tried to my journey with endo:
  3. My biggest frustration of living with endo:
  4. The biggest hidden blessing that has come with living with endo:
  5. If I had to pick a song that would be my “battle anthem” for living with endo, it would be:
  6. The food I could not live without:
  7. My favorite guilty pleasure:
  8. My favorite place to shop:
  9. My favorite drool-worthy actor: 
  10. If I could be doing anything today it would be:

My answers:

  1. 1. I have been diagnosed almost 11 years.
  2. 2. I have had 5 surgeries including a total hysterectomy, a 3 month course of Lupron, and every birth control on the market.
  3. 3. My biggest frustration is going through with the hysterectomy and still not having relief. Despite removing ovaries, the darn stuff keeps coming back!
  4. 4. The biggest hidden blessing of living with endo has been being able to meet so many amazing, inspiring, and strong women along the way.
  5. 5. This is a tough one even thought I’m the one who created the questions! I would have to say “Whispers In The Dark” by Skillet because it reminds me that I am never alone. God is with me and He puts people in my path to light the way and remind me that the best is yet to come.
  6. 6. Pizza. Oh my goodness pizza. If I could have one day where I didn’t have to worry about Celiac or being gluten-free, the first thing I would do would be to go to Pizza Hut and order a stuffed crust pizza with pepperoni, beef, and extra cheese. With breadsticks. I just drooled on my keyboard! Thankfully I have found some pretty decent gluten-free options to hold me over!
  7. 7. My most recent guilty pleasure would be watching makeup tutorials on YouTube! Its like crack! I have always loved makeup but totally lack the skills so I like to pretend I know what I’m doing with the tutorials!
  8. 8. I love shopping at Maurices but since I’ve been on disability and not working, I’ve been on more of an Old Navy (on clearance) budget 🙂
  9. 9. Is there even a doubt who my favorite it? Mark Harmon (aka Leroy Jethro Gibbs). Yes, I totally have a thing for older men which is funny since my husband is younger than I am!
  10. 10. If I could be anywhere today it would be Animal Kingdom (at WDW) riding the Expedition Everest as many times as possible without getting sick 🙂

 

Your turn!

blogging

5 Things I Learned At Type A Conference

I promise I didn’t mean to fall off the planet after the Type A Conference! All of the travel and sessions induced a flare (which I expected) and I had a visit with my endo doctor where we decided to start a new treatment as a last ditch effort before considering surgery #7 and the side effects of said treatment have been kicking my butt. Hopefully they will ease up as my body gets adjusted to the new medication.

Even though it wore me slap out, Type A Conference was definitely worth it! It was refreshing, inspiring, and educational. I not only learned a lot about blogging and my future aspirations for blogging but I learned about myself as a personal as well.

Here are the top 5 things I learned at Type A:

1- We are a collection of our experiences, for better or for worse. Its what makes us who we are. Amber Nasland kicked off the conference with an incredibly empowering keynote entitled, “The Other Side of Courage: Embracing Fear, Taking Risks, The One Truth You Need To Know.” For the longest time after being diagnosed with chronic illness, I kept waiting on life to return to “normal.” I was constantly telling myself “when I feel better I can to this” or “after this happens I can do that.” I was constantly putting my life on hold waiting on the next doctor, treatment, or surgery to allow me to return to the life I once knew. It has taken me a lot of time and a lot of wrestling to realize that I will never get that life back and that is ok. My illnesses have shaped me into who I am and not only helped me become a better person but a deeper and more enriched person because of my experiences. Do I grieve my last life and miss the things that I used to be able to do? Absolutely but I have realized that while the book has closed on that chapter of my life, a whole new book has been opened full of amazing experiences and opportunities and for that I am thankful.

2-Blend your passion with your actions and your voice. One of the sessions I was looking forward to the most at this conference was on Cause Blogging and The New Media Activist as obviously I am very interested in using blogging and social media as a way to bring awareness, resources, and education for important causes. I found it very empowering to be in a room full of fellow bloggers who had the same heart and passion as I do. One of the important points that was reinforced in my mind was taking our online passion offline. I am very passionate about the yearly Blogging for Endometriosis Awareness campaign (and this session definitely gave me some ideas on how to enhance the campaign for 2014) and now I feel empowered to find a way to get involved hands-on in the community through the Million Woman March for Endometriosis. While I am unsure at this point if I will be able to attend the march in Washington DC personally, I lend my voice and social media platforms to get involved.

3- Light is the essence of photography. Jenn Hethcoat put together an amazing session on “Blog Photography for the Photographically Challenged.” I was blessed with a great DSLR through a random act of blogging kindness and have been trying to figure it out ever since. Jenn made this session so practical that it just clicked in my mind and finally things started to make sense. I never knew that shade produces a much better picture that direct sunlight or using texture to make photos more interesting. As a result of this session, I was able to come home and catch the best photo I have ever taken!

4- In understanding SEO, the important thing to remember is relevance. It was tough to decide which hands-on session to try to get into because there were so many amazing options but in the end, I signed up for a SEO Basics session because in all my years of blogging SEO still makes my head spin. Dan Morris (who is also a part of Blogging Concentrated) led the session and once again it was the practicality of the information that made it so valuable to my blogging experience. Never in a million years would I have guessed that talking about a bathroom would help me understand how SEO functions which is working to build your credibility as being relevant to the topic you blog about. For example, I want to be known as relevant to endometriosis awareness so it is important that I build my credibility as an “expert” through using post titles, keywords, and meta descriptions. Now that I feel like I have a foundation to build upon, I am going to start working through Mom Blog SEO (which was written by Type A Con founder Kelby Carr).

5- Choose your own adventure. It is no secret that anything Disney makes my heart go pitter-patter and I was very stoked that Disney Parks was a conference sponsor and that Gary Buchanan, the social media managing editor from WDW, would be leading one of the keynote sessions. I will totally confess that Gary made me cry. Twice. Between this DJ Steve Porter Disney video and his description of the clouds in Toy Story, I totally reached for my tissues. Yes, I am completely a sap. I blame the first set of tears on exhaustion (though I agree that Disney is magical) but the second set of tears came from the creative spirit that is embodied in everything Disney. One of my favorite Walt Disney quotes is “It is kind of fun to do the impossible.” Sometimes in life we need to take that chance and step out on faith. Gary said, “It’s not where you take thing forms. It’s where you take them to.” I want to take A New Kind of Normal to bigger and better places. This is my passion and my purpose and I cannot wait to see what lies ahead!

Type A Conference was an amazing experience and I am so thankful I went! It was a bit scary diving into something completely new but it was definitely worth it!

bloggingchronic illness

Inspiring Bloggers & Health Activists

HAWMC Day 14 prompt: Thank a few of your fellow health activists for what they have done.

As I have said numerous times, words cannot express my gratitude for the support and encouragement I have found through the online health community. Through the blogging and twitter community, I have been able to meet some amazing people and develop friendships that I cherish very deeply. I continue to be inspired by fellow warriors tenacity and dedication to stay positive in spite of illness and to do everything they can to raise awareness and educate about their illnesses.

If I were to list every blogger that has had an impact on my life, I would be writing for weeks. These are just a handful of activists that continue to make a difference not only in my life but in the online community:

Chronically Creative: I had the opportunity to “meet” Emily several years ago and I continue to be inspired by her faith and her positive outlook on life. Her baking posts make me drool all over my keyboard so if you are really hungry, you may want to grab a snack before visiting her site! Her mission in blogging is to “live creatively in spite of illness and hope to empower and encourage you to live a creative life whatever your circumstances” which I love. She runs a Random Acts of Blogging Kindness program which is amazing and I have been personally blessed through this ministry that she has created! She truly has a heart for others and her love of Christ is evident in all that she does.

Photobucket
 

Felicia Fibro – Life with Fibromyalgia, Empowered – Felicia’s blog is not only a great source of inspiration, it is a great source for resources about living a full life in spite of fibromyalgia. She has created a great list of resources for those newly diagnosed with fibro and I have referenced her blog several times for tips for traveling which are helpful for anyone with chronic illness. She is a huge advocate for fibromyalgia patients and stays on top of research and developments in treatments. She is such a source of encouragement and has helped support me through challenging moments in my journey.

Hope Whispers – I had the honor of crossing paths with Kim several years ago and she has been such a blessing. She is always quick to offer a word of comfort and support. She has Budd Chiari Syndrome which is a rare liver disorder and is currently waiting for a liver transplant. Through her story, my eyes have been opened to everything involved in the transplant process and while I have always been an organ donor, her story and her advocacy has made it more personal and that much stronger of a decision.

The Diane Story –  I would not have been able to pull off this year’s Blogging for Endometriosis Awareness campaign without the help of Diane! She is a huge advocate for endometriosis awareness as well as chronic illness awareness in general. She has a strong faith and shares a passion to find a way to glorify God in spite of illness!

If you were asked to pick two bloggers to be recognized for their efforts to raise awareness and advocate for chronic illness, who would you name?