Wow… Medical Musings With Friends, my online support forum, is turning 5 years old on the 14th January. I also started this blog, My Medical Musings, 7 years ago in January 2015.
It’s definitely a month of milestones!
Both of these are my main daily focus since medically retiring and I am so grateful to have found a fulfilling purpose, despite chronic disease.
I love that despite my own health limitations, my forum allows me to muse daily with others living with chronic illness across the globe. It is such a joy and honour for me to see friendships form and burdens shared, as we climb chronic illness mountains together.
It can also be exhausting to own an online support group, particularly if you invest so much of yourself in it and you care deeply about others.
The intention was to have my blog and forum interlinked. I always wanted to share my blog posts with others who were journeying with complex diseases and trying to find ways to accept their circumstances. A blog and linked forum seemed like the best approach and I feel incredibly blessed my vision became a reality.
With the launch of my new Podcast, Medical Musings With Sam, I now have 3 platforms linked. My Podcast is another way to reach out to others although, given my health took a turn for the worse last year, it has taken a backseat for a while. I’m hoping to restart it soon.
If my experiences can help even a few readers, listeners and members, my work is not in vain.
I’m learning though I need to give myself permission to walk away from time to time, and let my Medical Musings Friends muse among themselves. It’s important to rest a while and allow myself to digest all the stories I take on board.
I have an amazing team of Moderators helping me. The members are also well and truly capable of caring for each other, without me needing to be involved in every conversation. I count that as success!
Most of my days since becoming disabled are a blank page. I really need to live life with a calendar full of blank days, especially if I want to live well with my broken body.
No planning ahead, no great expectations, just living moment by moment. It’s a relief I can mostly live my life this way. The thought of having to do it another way is unimaginable, especially as my disease progresses.
My life now is so different to my previous “career” life of constant meetings, appointments, phone calls, emails, texts, long working days etc. When I was living in the rat race I would dream of having a blank calendar day.
Funny how life works out isn’t it.
I need to make sure I don’t create a new “rat race” for myself and I know my members, my chronic illness friends, wouldn’t want me to either.
I also need to acknowledge my “blank calendar days” are not empty. They are full of achievements equivalent to climbing real mountains.
Most of our forum members can’t do great physical inspiring things like climbing bridges, or mountains, or running in marathons.
Our members do climb virtual mountains daily though.
In the midst of their pain and disability they look after families. They clean a room in their homes. They manage to get showered and dressed on their own. They make it out to a cafe. They comfort another despite their own suffering.
None of these things are easy. Each activity represents climbing Mountain Everest.
My forum members are so inspiring.
It is a fine line we walk when living with a chronic disease.
If we are not careful, we can become defined as the person with lupus or multiple sclerosis, cancer, rheumatoid arthritis or a rare disease.
We are so much more than our diseases. It’s OK to show others our strength of character, our funny side, our happy side, our lighter side, our talents.
It’s OK to share our hopes and our dreams for the future.
It’s what I love about my forum. I love when members share the highs and the lows, the challenges and the triumphs during their day, week or month.
I love how we laugh together and cry together. I love we are free to express to each other our deepest thoughts in a way so raw and real.
We share our love of books, music, movies. We share our faith. We share our hopes and our dreams and when these are crushed, as they often are, we pick each other up.
We help each other re-build our lives, with new hopes and dreams, through words of encouragement and understanding.
Every person, living with a chronic disease, achieves more than they realise, every single day.
So if you have a chronic illness and have woken to a “blank calendar day”, remember your day will be full of climbing mountains.
You will be achieving so much more than you realise. You are amazing and it’s a privilege to climb alongside you all.
It’s an honour to enter the 6th year with my Medical Musing With Friends members and a gift to continue blogging into my 8th year.
I hope you’ll continue to journey with me, as a blog reader, or a forum member throughout 2022. I’m sure this year will hold many adventures for us all, as every year does. Knowing we don’t journey alone makes the highs and the lows so much easier to deal with.
Thanks everyone for your love, support and most importantly, your friendship.
If you’re looking for genuine support, care, understanding and friendship, you are so welcome to join my closed Facebook support forum, Medical Musings with Friends . It’s a safe place to connect with others living with chronic and complex diseases, who truly understand the daily challenges. A warm welcome awaits.
If you prefer an audible version of more blog posts, please check out my Podcast, Medical Musings With Sam
I’m a Contributor at “The Mighty”. You can check out my published articles at My Author Page
I also write @ Blogs by Christian Women
If you would like to read a little more about my journey, here’s the link to My Story