Today is Day Five of the WEGO National Health Blog Post Month Challenge and I am feeling the pressure. The topic is five things that changed my life as a patient, caregiver or Health Activist.
One monumental event that changed my life was the day I fell; December 9, 1996. That was the day I sustained a mild traumatic brain injury or mtbi. The person I once was slipped away from my family and me. Having resigned myself to that fact now, I have moved forward. However, this didn’t happen overnight. It’s been a long, sometimes painful process. Remembering who I was, what I was able to accomplish before I fell and how I was able to multi-task every still haunts me. Being pain free seems like a dream now. For the most part, I’ve come to accept the “new” and unique me. It's taken hard work and I've had help from some very important supporters.
Another huge event that changed my life was meeting Teri Robert. She picked me up when I was at one of my lowest points. At the time, I belonged to an online support group that wasn't very supportive. They left me feeling ashamed of my treatment plan and were vocal about it. Just as I felt at my lowest, Teri was there to help me. Teri was and is, always there when I need her; a dear friend and mentor. Therefore, Teri puts a positive spin on my awful fall. Without her, I know I wouldn't be where I am today. And definitely would not understand half of what I do about Migraine disease and headache disorders.
Another important moment happened a few years ago with a member at HealthCentral. She was having some disturbing side effects with a medication she began month earlier. She wrote into the discussion forum looking for some help and support. Now, one of the first rules at any reputable health site is not to give medical advice if you are not a medical professional. Since I’m not, what I am able to do at Health Central is offer support, information and education to those who request it. Anyway, after the member explained what was troubling her I knew I had information that would be pertinent to her. And it was. A call to her doctor confirmed our information, and I was able to help her avoid some permanent damage. Now that's a life changing moment, to know you've been able to help someone.
I’m not sure how to “classify” this one, other than to say it was unique. Being part of my ex-mother-in-laws death was surreal. My daughter and I, along with her husband and adult children were with her when she died. It was painful, but I could not imagine being anywhere else. She was always there if we needed her during our marriage, and even cared for me after gall bladder surgery. She was a no nonsense woman who pretty much laid things on the line. Being with a loved one when they die is, well, indescribable. Death for me brought a new meaning to life, and made me realize that some changes are for the better, no matter how hard they are to deal with.
Being a chronically ill patient would also fall under things that have changed my life. In addition to my mtbi, there are a few other chronic conditions running around in my body. My blood work shows there are issues, and I feel all these "issues when I am having a flare. However, you know those darn “invisible illnesses - people often look at you like, "really, you're disabled." Sometimes I feel like I should have the signed court document with me for proof. I’ve often said if I had a broken leg people would understand better. They can see the cast and crutches. Having mixed connective tissue "whatever," idiopathic intracranial hypertension, fibromyalgia, Sjogrens and Raynauds – no one can see these. I make accommodations in my life so I can get up each day. Yes, being chronically ill is life changing.
This post was written as part of NHBPM - 30 health posts 30 days: http://bit.ly/vU0g9J
Thanks for reading and feel well,
© Nancy Harris Bonk, 2011.
Last updated November 5, 2011.
Last updated November 5, 2011.