As any good blogger can tell you, we spend just as much time reading blogs as we do writing them. Before I decided to start writing about my life with Chronic Lyme Disease, I spent the first two years of my bedridden state doing a lot of research on the computer. I learned everything I could about the disease, how to treat it and how it was going to affect my life. I looked up the clinical aspects of my illness but the most helpful information came to me in the form of blogs and forums. It was the people who were actually living with the disease who taught me what to expect, what to avoid, what to try for treatments and how to live a life with these nasty bugs that had taken over my body. Without the constant support of the internet Lyme community, I don’t know how a lot of us would ever survive this disease.
We are battling an illness that is controversial and not well understood by mainstream medicine. Most of you who are newly diagnosed feel totally lost out there and when you begin your internet searches, you get bombarded with all types of information that becomes overwhelming. I only hope that you will find your way to the multiple blogs and forums written by Chronic Lyme Disease patients to answer your questions because in all honesty, those are the people who have walked in the shoes before you. These blogs are written by people of all ages, single and married, moms and childless, women and men, employed, unemployed or disabled who at one time or another received those devastating words, “I think you have Lyme Disease.”
There are Lyme blogs that will help you find treatment plans from using the Western Medicine approach of antibiotics all the way to completely herbal/holistic therapies if that is your desire. There are some that will educate you about the medical science of the disease and the intricacies of how the bacteria morph and progressively damage your body. Some blogs deal with the mind and spirit, offering you emotional support be it from a religious standpoint, Christianity, Buddhism, meditation, yoga, or simply a place to safely unburden your sorrows to a listening ear.
There are blogs that are focused on being a parent of a child who is sick with the disease or having multiple members of your family who are suffering. Some blogs even help you cope when you are physically healthy but you need support because you are caring for a loved one with Lyme Disease and the emotional toll on you is becoming overwhelming. It is not easy to be a caregiver who is watching someone they love suffer so desperately for years on end, when there is so little that you can do to take away their pain. Sometimes being able to reach out to talk with another group of people who are experiencing the same thing is just what you need to make it through the next few hours of providing care to your family member. The bloggers are out there for you, all you have to do is punch in those key words into the search box on your computer and trust me, the support system will come flowing to you in a matter of minutes.
What I really wanted to talk about in this post tonight, however, is that I never realized just how many people are writing about topics that we never even think about. I happened upon a story a few days ago that directed me to a blog called www.unknownsoldiersblog.com. I have always felt a kinship with our military as I was formerly a military wife of a combat veteran in the Persian Gulf War. As it turns out, our active military right now calls themselves, “The 1 percent.” Their numbers equal 1% of the entire population of this country and they are responsible for keeping us safe. Regardless of your political opinions on the war in Afghanistan and why we are there, the fact is…we are STILL there and the war is STILL going on right now.
That blog is written by an accomplished journalist who has chosen to dedicate his efforts to reminding the general public that men and women are still in Afghanistan today and they are still losing their lives even though this war is rarely mentioned in mainstream media. He has made it his mission to remind us that these warriors are husbands and wives, sons and daughters, mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters of people who are living right here in the United States. These family members are living their lives day by day, waiting for these braves souls to finish their tours of duty to return safely to their loving arms here at home. They spend every day waiting for letters, text messages, or Skype “calls” on the computer just to have a few short minutes to see the faces of the ones they love in order to know that they are still alive.
These families live in fear of the knock at the door when two military notification officers may deliver the news that will change their lives forever. Too often, these notifications are still happening. The problem is, we don’t even realize how frequently this occurs. Unless you are a military family, with someone that you love deployed overseas, this is a world that you don’t even realize continues on a daily basis for so many people. We are in our 12th year of war now, including Iraq and Afghanistan. So many of our beloved service members have come home severely injured, killed or simply forever changed by the things that they have experienced during their multiple deployments to the war zone. Some of these service members have deployed between 5-10 times and they do not even know if they will be sent again. Just when they think that they may settle back into a life here in the States, their unit is called up again, leaving their spouses to resume all the duties of a single parent once again. They are living lives that we cannot even imagine.
This led me to realize that there are all types of blogs out there that focus on the burdens in people’s lives that others cannot relate to unless it is happening to them. People have cancer, autistic children, parents with Alzheimer’s Disease requiring 24 hour a day care at home, poverty, substance abuse, incarcerated family members, learning disabilities, house fires where they lose everything they own, missing or abducted children, Chronic Lyme Disease, divorce and coping with the death of a loved one, just to name a few examples. Everyone is struggling with something in their lives that unless you have endured the suffering yourself, you simply cannot understand the hardship that they are facing. Everyone is carrying a cross of some kind. Never assume that your cross is heavier than anyone else’s because you have no idea what burdens they bear.
The internet can be an amazing tool of compassion for our fellow human beings here on earth. Being a writer is a blessing and a gift from God in my opinion. The ability to have a blog or a forum where people can safely express their sorrow, concerns, ask questions on how to cope and receive heartfelt answers from people who only want the best for the afflicted is truly one of the greatest things to come out of the new “technological era.”
If you have a chance to read blogs on a quiet Sunday evening with your family, I highly recommend it. You may find that there are people out there living lives that you never even imagined. After two days of reading the Unknown Soldiers Blog, I was reminded of how it felt to wait for my beloved who was at war. Even though we didn’t have the benefit of Skype, texting or phone calls during the Persian Gulf War the fears were still the same as what those wives are feeling today. Finding that blog reminded me that there are brave souls lying in trenches in the sand tonight, risking their lives, being shot at on a daily basis, who just want to come home. Unfortunately, someone in this country right now is watching a car pull up to their door and while they hold their breath, two uniformed soldiers will walk up to their front door to deliver the gut-wrenching news that will change their lives forever. I only hope that their sorrow will be eased knowing there is a blog out there waiting to help them.