What Drives Me To Be A Patient Leader #HAWMC

What Drives Me To Be A Patient Leader #HAWMC

What the heck is a #HAWMC? Well, it’s the WEGO Health Health Activist Writers Month Challenge (try saying that 10 times fast.)

For the month of November, WEGO Health is hosting a writer challenge. I’ll be honest, I’m not going to post on my blog every single day. (Arthritic hands people!!) But I’ll do my best to either post on my blog or post on instagram or facebook. I think the most important part of it is thinking through the prompts and sharing.

WEGO Health Health Activist Writers Month Challenge November 2016Today, November 1st 2016, is Day 1! If you want the list of all the prompts, sign up here.

And what is Day 1’s prompt?

Day 1: Tuesday 11/ 1
Welcome to Day 1 of the November HAWMC! First, let’s get to know each other! What drives you to write about your health? What do you want other Health Activists to know about your condition and your activism? Reflect on this for 15-20 minutes without stopping…GO!
My answer?

Back in 2012, I felt very alone. I was going through a ton of health issues and no one in my life understood. They tried to understand – It wasn’t like they didn’t want to. But how can you really understand something if you haven’t gone through it yourself?

I’ve always been a fan of social media, so I went online to try to find any information that I could. It was during that search that I found a whole patient population online. Through a series of events {click here to read the whole story} I decided that I needed to start sharing my story and get it out there.

I’ve continued to do so because I’ve connected with so many amazing patients throughout the last few years. We help each other through the good times and the bad times. It’s like a whole new part of my family. There isn’t a day that I go without tweeting, Facebook-ing, texting, facetiming, etc someone in my new online patient family.

Last year, I filmed a segment called “Memo To Me” with HealthCentral. In my memo, I urged myself to seek out patients online sooner. I really feel that through these patient communities online, we have the opportunity to truly make a difference in our own health and the health of those around us. (Check out all the Memos here and definitely click on my- Julie Cerrone!)

It’s so important to connect with each other because we can truly get it.

We know what each other are going through.

We won’t judge for canceling plans or having to modify activities to accommodate pain or mobility.

We celebrate these things in each others lives.

Sure, we may complain here and there, but we’re here to connect and support and lift each other up.

I feel like my role in all of this is to truly help bring positivity to a situation that can be very hard and taxing. I want other patients to know that they’re not alone and that despite any condition, you can still live a great life. It’s about accepting the present moment, realizing and managing expectations, and committing to yourself to truly LIVE.

I have psoriatic arthritis, avascular necrosis, and have had a few other issues throughout the years – migraines, complex regional pain syndrome, depression, anxiety, melanoma… but I often look at myself as a “chronic illness” or “autoimmune” patient leader. Sure, my area of expertise is in what I live with on a daily basis, but there are so many commonalities across all the threads of conditions.

I want to be the voice out there helping to bring everyone together. Regardless of your condition, there are struggles and successes that we all face.

I want people to know that they’re not alone.

And that together, we can all help each other live our best lives.


Wishing You A Pain Free Day!

Julie Cerrone | Spoonie, Autoimmune Warrior, Certified Holistic Health Coach, DoTerra Wellness Advocate, 200 RYT Trainee, Reiki 1, Nutrition Geek, ePatient Advocate, IT Consultant, Pittsburgh Based Practitioner Living the Chronic Life