March 10, 2012

UII Blog Carnival #1 - Successes!

Wow, I am overwhelmed!  I was nervous about putting out the request for submissions to our first blog carnival, because I thought no one would respond.  It's not always easy to break into new projects.  But your support was overwhelming!  Many of my blogger friends posted links encouraging others to sign up, sent in their own submissions, and WEGO Health jumped in before I could even ask, sending bloggers my way.

And what an inspiring bunch of writers you are!  The topic for this first UII Blog Carnival was 'success stories'.  I asked writers to send me their tales of treatments/procedures/tips that made their lives, or the lives of their loved ones, better.  This was my sneaky way of giving you a two-for-one: (1) really good reasons to be positive and hopeful, and (2) some concrete ideas of things that have worked for others.  Enjoy - I did!

Image of Awesome Kid found here.

Elisa, who tweets as @SjogrensStyle and maintains a blog by the same name, reminds us even things that aren't perfect can still be pretty great.  Her post "Friday Favorite: Plaquenil" covers the joy of an improved general well-being, weighing benefits & risks, and best of all - answers a question I've been wondering about for years (thanks for the history lesson)!

Licensed marriage & family therapist Laura shakes things up a bit...literally.  Instead of a traditional blog, she sent me a link to one of her articles published on the website HalfMoonBayPatch, titled "Dancing Despite Disabilities".  I'll be honest, I think Laura wanted to remind us our lives & passions don't stop when we're diagnosed, and I LOVE that message...but I also saw a hidden gem in this article.  Read closely and see if you notice the way one person helped themselves GET a diagnosis - which in turn led to their ability to regain their life!  Follow Laura on Twitter at @lcstrom.

@IBSTales tweeter Sophie Lee discusses a set of challenges familiar to many readers.  After beginning several treatments at once, she now wonders which are actually helping and which may be extraneous.  However, stopping them poses the risk of returning symptoms.  Read about the successful treatments Sophie uses & how she works through the question of which are really necessary in her timeless post, "Gaining Control".

Our next contributor copes with many "invisible" realities which complicate her life, especially how she interacts socially.  Blogging under the pseudonym Displaced and tweeting at @GonnaEatWorms, this blogger touches on many of the emotions that come with prioritizing your own needs.  I relate to many topics in her post "Claude Raines has nothing on me!", such as the silver lining to having a condition which is 'invisible' and the inherent responsibility many of us have to force society to deal with things that make it uncomfortable.

My brother Jon, who tweets at @thedorfist, has been a guest blogger for me in the past.  He's started a new blog, chronicling his revelations in the post-collegiate world of the Asperger's degree holder in The Aspie Epilogue.  In his recent post, "...But Does It Blend?", Jon discusses key considerations in moving past emotional explosions (or helping an Aspie to do so) and how to grow from these experiences.

Sjogren's and other invisible illnesses are not limited to the English-speaking, of course.  One of my long-time favorites, Jazzcat, is a bilingual blogger!  Jazzcat's entries are written first in her native French, then translated (by her, not a machine!) into English in the second half of every post.  After beginning to practice yoga a year ago, she swears by it for therapeutic & mobility purposes today.  Read about her first attempts in her post "Yoga Cat" and her recent update, "Flying Away".  Merci, Jazzcat!  C'est tres bien!

Kristen, better known as Blogger Mama, shares her discovery of a new type of eye exam which is performed more quickly and is gentler on the patient than traditional exam methods (especially for those who need special exams for medical reasons, such as taking Plaquenil)!  I'll be speaking to my doctor soon about the method Kristen described in her post "Eye Doctor"!

Then there's Julia - ah yes, @JuliaReasonWell on Twitter - who never disappoints!  Enlisting her trusty Cannon camera and accomplice Goldie the Prius, Julia reminds us that we have to make choices but it's ok to sometimes choose what makes us happy.  In her post "Where Julia Went in the Sunshine", she chooses enjoying some of her favorite spots in nature (with the proper precautions for a Sjoggie, of course).  Check it out to see how she balances wants & needs, along with some rockin' photography!

My new friend Tosha doesn't tweet, but does host a Facebook group with the same name as her blog, Bottled Time.  Her post, "I Do Tricks for Treats!: My First Experience with Cimzia for Inflammatory Disease", is quite funny!  While discussing the very serious & important topic of injectable biologic medications, the post is sprinkled with chuckle-worthy pictures & chortle-inducing perspectives.  Don't skip the links at the end of the post - even the descriptions were an endorphin boost!

A woman who claims to actually be capable of "Falling With Grace" - a feat I will never master, as I am a pro at falling but not so great with doing it gracefully - practices a habit we can all do.  As blogger Amy explains in her post, "Word", this tip doesn't require money, equipment, special food, or even much time...just willingness to give it a genuine try.  Now that's a hard one to ignore!

Embracing a similar approach, chronic patient Chelsey started her blog, HOPE - Helping Other Patients Everywhere.  I relate to many ideas in her post "Encouragement and Perseverance", which describes (and demonstrates!) her in-charge mentality for dealing with very intrusive chronic illnesses.  I think my favorite part is the 'conversation' between Chelsey & her illness.  We should all be so determined!!

Bennet Dunlap (@DiabetesMayVary) is pretty unique among our carnival bloggers.  He is the caregiver for his children with Diabetes, one of two male contributors, and one of four contributors I've actually met in person - and, will be presenting with UII at a conference in May on the Digital Patient Bill of Rights, which was developed at the Digital Health Coalition event we did together in September.  In his classic post "What Is Your Goal?", Bennet delves into the questions parents of kids with chronic health issues must ask of - and answer for - themselves.  Bennet reminds us to keep our eyes on the real prize.

How about one more for the road?  Our favorite 'gimpy girl', Bridget, shares her way of staying 'Bridget' despite the best efforts of her aggressive chronic illness.  See how, by "Sewing Through the Pain", Bridget found a way to really leave her illness out the equation (safely).  She's not battling it, ignoring it, or even attacking.  She's simply being herself in spite of it.  And I love her for that:)

"...or Brother"!  Image found on SodaHead, here.
And there you have it!  Lucky 13 contributors with actually 14 posts among them, for your hopeful & healthful pleasure!  These bloggers collectively share an incredible array of tactics for making life as a chronic patient better - physically, emotionally, and even spiritually, and I know you'll enjoy what you find.

Gee, I can't wait for the next topic!!


  1. Thank you for putting together this positive and uplifting blog carnival!

  2. Great results for the first carnival! Congrats!!

  3. Yay, Jen! Excellent work in putting together your debut carnival! Here's to many more! Cheers!

  4. What a success indeed !!

  5. Thanks so much for including my "Dancing Despite Disabilities" article in the carnival! Whee!!

  6. Anything better would have included funnel cake!
    So much fun- thanks for sending a shout out for submissions. It forced me to sit and take a moment to reflect on successful practices while staying in my falling theme. Fun. (Once my brain fog lifted!)
    Loved fellow blogger perspectives. Always good lessons learned.


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