Thursday, 1 November 2012

A health bloggers challenge - Why do I do this? #nhbpm

self scrutiny, not always recommended......
(pic from 2010)
This blog is about to go turbo charged boys and girls, stand by, hold on to your hats, a deluge, a veritable whirlwind of health blogging is about to be unleashed. Not just on this blog - health blogs everywhere are ramping up to take part in @wegohealth's National Health Blog Post Month (#NHBPM)...

Read all about the challenge here. You can even sign up to take part, how much fun would that be? All of us writing like dervishes, sharing our stories, raising awareness, rocking the world, making a difference. That Frankensandy got nothing on us! 

As it happens I could do with it not being called "national" health blog post month because I'm not in the nation that's being referred to and I suspect many other participants won't be either - hey Americans, your nation is not the whole world, the internet is bigger than your country! But never mind that, it doesn't really matter.  I'm in the UK, for what it's worth. 

The idea is that we all write a blog post every day during November. Considering I usually write about one post a month, or, erm, okay less than that sometimes.... this will be a stretch I know, but I'm up for it and I'm also excited about reading other bloggers posts. While we're all being so prolific I will make a point of reading more blogs by other people than I usually find time to do.  

The good peeps at We Go Health are providing prompts for each day. I might not always use them as I actually have quite a lot of ideas for things I want to write about, but today, as it's day one, I will stick to the script.

Today's subject is: "Why do I write about my health?"

Back when I was ill-er than I am now I used to sometimes take pictures of myself to try and gauge how ill I looked and whether or not I was getting any better.  As you can see above and below, those are not good  photos! 

Feb 2010, not looking fabulous, feeling small and sickly

April 2010, can you believe I thought I felt better so took this to see how well I looked!  Aaargh!

Not only did I look  like shit. Pardon my language. But I was totally confused. I was used to being this fairly together kind of a person. I was good at getting things done. I was articulate, successful, busy in my life. Okay so for years I'd known that something wasn't quite right about my health, I needed to pace myself more than others, I knew my immune system wasn't great, I was prone to get more colds and stuff than other people. I'd been a sickly child, had allergies and stuff. But basically up until 2009 I was doing pretty well thank you very much. Then I got the diagnosis of hypothyroidism and I thought this was a good thing, that I'd start taking the pills and could expect to feel better than I had done for years because the thyroid disease must have been causing all my previous  low level health and energy issues and now we'd found the cause and tra la la, I could keep on motoring.


Well sadly it wasn't that simple, what happened then was that I got a whole lot worse before I started to get any better. It's fair to say it's been emotional and life changing. Three years down the line I'm still  not as well as I aspire to be. But to be  honest I'm now not far off it. I've learned tons of stuff about thyroid disease which  has been fascinating and I now know some good techniques for how to manage a chronic health condition and deal with adversity in general. Bizarrely I'm now living in a beautiful house right by the sea which would never have happened if I hadn't got ill and had time to reassess my hectic life, working all hours in London, as I was. So I believe that every cloud has a silver lining and I always try to look on the bright side when I can.

I started to write this blog to share my experiences, to reach out to others and to try and make some sense of what the hell was happening to me. It's been great to have this outlet and wonderful when people have commented that they can relate to how I've felt, or that information I've shared has been useful to them.

I keep writing because it helps me and other people sometimes tell  me it helps them too and that makes me happy. 

Thyroid disease is a bit of a hidden illness. One in twenty of us will get it yet many of us don't even know what a thyroid is until the day we are diagnosed, even then we often get very little info about our illness, how to manage symptoms, or how to keep as well as possible.  

As well as reaching out to other patients I also have a deeply held ambition that I can make a difference to how health professionals view and treat those of us who are unlucky enough to have a hard time with thyroid disease. I love it when a doctor or health policy person tells me they've read my blog and I actively seek out other opportunities to reach those people and get them to think differently about hard to treat thyroid patients. Because we deserve to be taken seriously and we both need and deserve to be supported back to good  health.  I believe that by speaking my truth I'm shining a light on a condition that has been terribly neglected for too long.  That makes me feel good. 

So there you go. My post number one for November, "#NHBPM", I will post again tomorrow. Yes I will. You can hold me to it. If you're doing the challenge too please let me know so I can visit your blog too. Whether you are or not I hope my gruesome pics haven't scared you off. Ha ha. Let me know what you think of this and previous posts. I love feedback. 

with love and light

Hope (Lorraine)

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