Sunday, April 15, 2012

Patients for a Moment Blog Carnival: Who Are You Without Your Disease?

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The goal of the Patients for a Moment (PFAM) Blog Carnival is to "build connections within the community of people who blog about illness, disease and disability." As the host this month I asked my fellow bloggers to write on this theme: "Who are you without (aside from) your disease? What makes you more than just your disease? How have you adapted these aspects of your life so they're not completely overcome by your illnesses?" 

The responses were wonderfully varied and personal. I found it especially fun to learn more about those of you I've known mainly as peers with chronic illnesses. You guys are so much more than that! Please keep reading to see how this month's PFAM Blog Carnival participants responded.

* * *

Iris Carden at Sometimes It's Just Lupus shared a wonderful post about the process of trying to find out who she is after her lupus diagnoses, Who Am I With Lupus? Because so much of her life involves lupus, she wonders what identity she has other than that of lupus patient. 

Migrainista wrote about the modifications that have allowed her to continue doing some of the things she especially loves, such as exercising and reading, in I Am. 

In her submission Rage, Rage Against the Dying of the Light at her blog Not Your Teachable MomentThat Word Grrl says she will never accept that just because she can't do something she loves today that means she can't do it ever again. It's a very empowering message.

In Dear Doctors, THIS Is Who I Am, Shruti at Lifestyles of the Ill and (Mostly) Blameless approached this month's topic by writing a letter to her doctors about who she really is for those who make the mistake of seeing her in a one dimensional fashion as nothing more than a person with lupus.

Duncan Cross discusses feeling as though his only identity is in fighting his illness after medical and career setbacks in his post PFAM: Who Are You Without Your Disease?

As someone who has never really known life without chronic migraine disease, Gretchen Rautman says her disease makes her the accepting, loyal and loving person she is today in her submission Who Am I? from her blog There Be Migraines Here. 

Jamie of Chronic Migraine Warrior says in her blog post Who Am I? that she is working to rebuild the confidence and contentment she had established before she was diagnosed with chronic migraine and other debilitating conditions following a car accident in fall 2008.

In More Than My Chronic Illness, Aviva at Sick Momma says learning not to dwell on the more difficult aspects of life with a chronic illness has allowed her to enjoy the small things and appreciate the things she can still engage in, such as motherhood, crafting, reading and blogging.

Teri Robert at Putting Our Heads Together says living with migraine disease since childhood has shaped most aspects of her life, including her personality, family life and career in Who Am I Without Migraine DIsease?

Rosemary Lee of Seeking Equilibrium wants to be the same vibrant person she was before chronic illness and pain, but says in More Than a Feeling that her body frequently reminds her of her limitations.

Ken Jaques says putting his energy toward helping other people and working on his own negative behaviors allows him to avoid concentrating too much on his status as a person with Rheumatoid Arthritis in his post Who Are You Without Your Disease? I suspect many of us can relate to his belief that helping people in similar situations is a much more rewarding way to live our chronic lives than wallowing in our misfortune.

Like Iris, Sharlene Ramsey also writes about struggling to find a new identity now that her autoimmune diseases have changed her day-to-day capabilities in her post What Has Become of Me?

And finally, a submission from Rachael at Offbeat Follies with More Than Your Disease.

I'm absolutely blown away by the number of thoughtful, heartfelt responses I received, and I can't thank all of you enough for supporting my edition of the carnival. The May 2012 PFAM Blog Carnival will be hosted by Jenni Prokopy at Chronic Babe. Let's help her make it another great one!

To keep up with the monthly PFAM Blog Carnival, "like" the Facebook page: Patients for a Moment on Facebook and follow the PFAM blog: Patients for a Moment: A Patient Centered Blog Carnival.

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DISCLAIMER: Nothing on this site constitutes medical or legal advice. I am a patient who is engaged and educated and enjoys sharing my experiences and news about migraines, pain and depression. Please consult your own health care providers for advice on your unique situation.