Welcome to our Third Annual Health Activist Writer’s Month Challenge!
My "Now Read My HIPS!" blog was my second blog in a series of three. It was originally named "I Already Gave My Right Arm To Be Ambidextrous!" I began writing about my spiritual journey in my first blog because when I became really sick, I became more spiritual and was searching for myself and my own path in this world. Then I began to write more about my experiences as a woman with chronic pain and awaiting my shoulder replacement surgery in my second blog. And in my third blog "Chronically Mommy", I became a mommy first and a woman with chronic pain and joint disease second.
I began this blog in particular because I was nervous about my upcoming shoulder replacement surgery which was to take place on March 29, 2010. I thought it would be a fantastic journey to share with anyone who wanted to read and join me. I was surprised to find out that there were so many people who were interested in following me. From there, my Blog Talk Radio Show was born with the same name. People began to recognize the picture of my face with my blog name "I Already Gave My Right Arm To Be Ambidextrous!" The name came from a friend whose wife had a neurological condition that caused her to become paralyzed in her right arm. She wore a T-shirt that said, "I'd give my right arm to be ambidextrous." I thought that was hilarious, and I am a firm believer that we need to use humor when we are dealing with chronic conditions. What came to mind for me was that I began using my opposite hand, my left hand, when I was just a young child due to complex hemiplegic migraines. I would lose all the ability to use the right side of my body whenever I would have a migraine. That forced me to become equally talented with my left hand with handwriting, eating, putting on make-up and anything else that required the use of my hands. I was already ambidextrous. Therefore, "I Already Gave My Right Arm To Be Ambidextrous!"
I became pretty well known online, but then decided to make a change. I changed my focus because I didn't really have much to write about anymore once my new shoulder was all healed. I changed my focus to my next journey, waiting for my new right hip. I was to get my right hip replaced May 10, 2012. I had people follow me on that journey through pain and finally triumph! I then changed the title of the blog to "Now Read My HIPS!" I had a wonderfully quick recovery and continued to blog about other heroes with Juvenile Arthritis and chronic pain, as well as different health policies and health laws. I have lost some of my followers, but gained some with my other blog "Chronically Mommy." I don't blog to be popular, but there is that part of me that wants to have as many followers as possible because the more followers, the more people who will read and understand the struggles and the triumphs, the scars and the courage, and the battle of the warrior!
So again, I have changed the focus of "Now Read My HIPS!" I had to overcome a lot to get to where I am now. I have avascular necrosis in my shoulders, hips, and knees, psoriatic arthritis, sjogren's, fibromyalgia, and hypermobility. I found out that I have autoimmune arthritis in my cervical spine and a bulging disk in my lumbar spine. Four years ago my spine orthopaedic surgeon told me I had a small amount of autoimmune arthritis in my SI joint. The question still remains: Is the spinal involvement due to Psoriatic Spondylitis, which is a rare more severe form of Psoriatic Arthritis or is it a new diagnosis of Ankylosing Spondylitis? Whatever the diagnosis, the treatment will remain the same. I had my left hip replaced in 2003 & my right shoulder replaced in March of 2010. I literally gave my right arm to be ambidextrous! LOL! Now I had my right hip replaced on May 10th, 2012. I began belly dancing. Yes you read this correctly! I began belly dancing in 2010, so now it is time to "read my hips." Pain is still another part of my life. It is just a question of when, where and how much, but I would like to use this blog to write about my experience as a woman with several joint diseases and conditions who had both hips and a shoulder replaced and now spends her free time belly dancing and performing! Join me in my journey!
At times, I take 16 to 20 pills a day. I go every 4 weeks to the infusion center at the hospital to get a 2 hour IV for my autoimmune arthritis diseases. Just when one thing seems to be doing better, something else goes downhill! My attitude, however, is always going uphill! I am 38 years old, have been married 13 years, and my husband and I adopted our first child in Dec. 2010! I have a lot on my plate right now, but I take it one moment at a time. I believe that God will never give me more than I can handle. However, I do need to learn to ask for help sometimes instead of always doing it by myself!
Every year I have wanted to get involved in HAWMC, but something has always gotten in the way--a shoulder replacement, a new baby or just the time it takes to be a mommy for a child in general, and a hip replacement. So I am a newbie to HAWMC! I have met so many people online since I began "Now Read My HIPS!" (formerly "I Already Gave My Right Arm To Be Ambidextrous!") and have learned many tricks of the trade--how to juggle it all!
I have always had a diary and a journal. Blogging has become just another way to journal for me. I like it better though because people can respond and make comments. When you write in your own journal, you have no criticism. If I ask a question, I get answers--sometimes many, many answers. If I learn something new and want to pass it on, I can blog about it, and I have then educated and spread awareness. And nowadays, I can press one button and the blog post link goes to multiple sites at once, like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter so the information is even more widespread than when I first began!
I write about health topics because it is something that I know, that I experience and that I have the ability to share with others. I am an advocate. I am an activist. I want to share with the world what I know about having chronic pain, disability, chronic illness, autoimmune arthritis, and other conditions. Even if someone reads my blog that doesn't have exactly the same diseases or conditions, I feel that I am able to reach anyone who shares a chronic illness, chronic pain or disabling condition. That is really the most important thing to me, to reach as many people as I possibly can to help them to be, feel and live as well as possible!