People Helping People
Over the years I have been told by many people that reading my medical story has helped them. I have used many tools to make that information available to anyone that wishes to follow my progress. In addition, I always encourage people to share my story with friends and family that may find the information useful. I want to share information about the tools I have found useful because I believe one of them may help you in your journey through life.
Let me take a moment to say I always build a team of people to support me in my journey. I do the best I can to be there for them, and when I need them they are there for me. For example when you read about my book you will see it took a team effort to get the work done required to publish my story. Another example is all of the medical team that cares for me.
My First Tools
Making and accepting telephone calls are very difficult to manage when a person is dealing with a catastrophic situation in their lives. Both the patient and the caregiver are overwhelmed with everything they have to do. To fill that void several organizations have provided services that make it easy to keep everyone up-to-date. No more worrying that I should call, but I don’t know when; no more worrying that I really need to let people know what’s going on. It’s simple for everyone involved.
I started off using email to contact my family, close friends, and colleagues. Next, I created a website on my Internet Service Provider. Ultimately, I had a desire to locate long-term survivors so I located and participated on a Listserv at ACOR dot ORG. When that didn’t give me the ability to communicate with people the way I wanted to I kept looking for better options.
The next tool I used was a free service that provided me the ability to share information and keep in touch with people. It also made it possible for them to drop me notes of encouragement. That’s when I transitioned to CarePages.
I used CarePages dot com in two ways. First, I created my own CarePage (SpraguesHope) to share my personal story with others. Second, I was given the opportunity to write for the Leukemia Lymphoma CarePage where my goal was to encourage people that were encountering similar situations.
During my journey as a cancer patient I met other people that used a service similar to CarePages (CaringBridge dot org). I also had an account there to follow their stories and offer them encouragement.
Eventually the Leukemia Lymphoma CarePage was removed and they started a Leukemia & Lymphoma Discussion Forum. Shortly thereafter I started a blog “HOPE in the Heartland” at RevolutionHealth dot com to share my story with a broader audience. I kept up my blog on a regular basis until the middle of 2009 when I had to make some adjustments to my life because of a problem with seizures. Since that time I have moved the information to another location.
NOTE: Recently, I found another service for patients that may be of interest to you. I visited MyLifeLine dot org to learn about this resource. Perhaps you will also find it useful.
The Opportunity To Publish My Book
During the process of looking for the right tool that was truly a fit for me, and was user friendly for people that wanted to keep in touch with me, I was blessed with an opportunity to publish a book. I feel very blessed to have a story to tell and to have the opportunity to share it in that special way.
Hopeintheheartland dot net
With all the tools out there today I still like writing in the blog format. With that in mind I decided to create my own website to bring together all of the information from my blogs in one place. The information there started approximately the time my book was published and moved forward as my journey as a long-term cancer survivor continued. I had planned to use my blog to keep people up-to-date. However, I was forced to stop that effort to get another medical problem under control.
This Website and Blog
After navigating several changes in the tools I used in an effort to communicate with people I have decided to use the resources WordPress has to offer. This will allow me to maintain a permanent location to provide information to the people that need it most.
My goal is to provide the information about my book that covers the timeframe from 1995 when I was first diagnosed up through approximately 2006 when I was diagnosed with my third recurrence. From there I will continue my story through the end of 2011. Then, using all of that information as a background, I plan to use my new blog on this site to keep my story up-to-date.
The blog format is what I enjoy the most and it does provide people the ability to communicate with me.