Showing posts with label volunteer. Show all posts
Showing posts with label volunteer. Show all posts

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

WEGO Health Blog Challenge for November 2016 Day - 16 - What kind of suggestions I may give to others who are starting out as "Activists - Advocates - Volunteers

" What Kind of Advice I May have for those who are starting out in the Advocate, Activist Role and are "Rookies" wanting to know a few tips."


Wow, that is a very great question! I wished I had "asked" more questions when I began my ongoing pledge, and began down the road of activism, advocacy and being a volunteer when it comes to just about anything involved in the health field. When it is a chronic health issue and/or chronic pain, there are SO MANY websites, blogs, non-profits, articles and more that can begin you on your journey.

Yet, here are a few things I've learned and "taught myself" along the way.


Try to pick "one or two" illnesses, health needs, healthcare related issues, such as insurance, medications, physicians, and so forth. I am the type of person who wants to "do it all", "be in it all", help everyone, be there to assist everyone I can. I found out very quickly, especially if you, yourself Are "Chronically Ill", or are a Caretaker of someone ill, that you can definitely be in way "over your head" and in burn out quickly if you try and take on too much at once. So, try a few different avenues, such as being an advocate for a certain group, such as Diabetes, Autoimmune Illnesses (RA, Lupus, Sjogren's and so forth), heart diseases in women, children's health, becoming a blogger, posting on Social Media, on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and such. This may help you find your "niche'".

You may prefer to do "drives" such as the "Jingle Bell Run" for the Arthritis foundation, in many major cities across the nation, or one of the other drives, many do walks and runs, women's breast cancer, heart problems, other cancer's. If you are good with people, then you may find helping to raise awareness AND raise MONEY for one of them, could be what you feel good at.

Write! Tell your story! If you are chronically ill, you maybe already on a Facebook group, or one of the Foundations's groups, where you can tell your own story, which often helps to inspire others.

That is the ONE thing that I found out of everything I do in my years of activism, Ambassadorship and Advocacy, is TELLING MY PERSONAL STORY, either on a social media site, or possibly at a group in your town or city, or even in your newspaper. Get your own experiences out there, Those help others to see they are not alone. They have people that DO totally understand, and can support them.

Often now many of the non-profits go to a "Summit" Annually making a trip to Washington DC, in order to tell their stories to CONGRESS! We need Congress on our side for helping with medications getting passed possibly, or funding to get a new medication researched, or raising awareness of just how many people are ill, not working, and are so ill daily they are not able to cope with a job, and YOU are the ones that NEED TO again TELL YOUR STORIES TO CONGRESS!!! Those stories are exactly how we get the government, whether, local, state wide, or National, and make them understand how crucial the help and role the governments play in assisting non-profits, can possibly help others to feel well enough to work, to someday find a cure, or even STOP THE ILLNESSES, BEFORE THEY EVER HAPPEN!

So, above are the few things I've learned about getting involved, remembering you are not a "super-activist" so you can't do it all at once, then find your niche, and off you go in search of all of the help and awareness you can get in the activism direction your heart desires.


WEGO HEALTH

 

Monday, November 7, 2016

WEGO Health Bloggers/Writer's Challenge 2016 - Day 7 - How I chose to start my Advocacy Work & How I felt when I made that decision

Day 7 - WEGO HEALTH Blogger/Writer's Challenge 2016

"How I Chose to become an "Advocate" & How I felt about that decision"

I had really already been a "voice" in many ways well before I was diagnosed with RA, Lupus and Sjogren's. Before those came into play, I suffered with Migraine's from the time I was 17 years old.

I was also wanting to be in the medical field almost all my life in some way. Early in life, my thoughts were on becoming a nurse. As time went by, I married, had my son, then a few years later, remarried, and had my daughter, the idea of going to school full time in order to become a nurse was almost impossible. I was mainly the "bread winner" of my home, and my paycheck really needed to be there in order to pay for the house, car, and for all that my children needed as they got older. 

I had a chance when the kids were around early teen years to go to Nursing School full time and it be completely paid for by the hospital I was working at, in the Business Office. I did pass #1 on the Exam to get in, but then it was the "money" issues, of me having my paycheck completely cut out for at least two years, that made me have to decline going to college full time. Although I took classes at night and got my Associate Degree in more of a business light, the medical field has always been in my "blood". 

I seemed to "absorb" all things "medical" in nature. After being formally "diagnosed" first with MCTD, then soon that changed into Lupus, RA, DDD, DJD, Raynaud's "Hyper-joint mobility", Sjogren's and that list grew on, I then "knew" first of all, the Heart Attack I had at 40 years old, had to have something to do with the RA and Lupus. Although when I was 40, I was the "picture of health" ate properly, exercised daily, watched every type of food I ate, was the exact weight I should be, yes, I had a heart attack. At the time the doctors said the huge amount of stress I was under had caused it, which I am sure played a role, but I was SURE back then, that my Migraines, joints issues, that had already caused me to have several major joint surgeries, plus other things in my health that just did not add up, yet not one doctor took me "seriously" for another 10 years or MORE, before I finally got the diagnosis of "autoimmune disorders". Thus at 50, I suffered another heart attack. 

Now, back to my advocacy work. I was already writing a book about my "health issues". The doctors that had been great, and those that treated me like I was some "air-headed, over anxious blonde" because as we have come to find out "Chronic Pain and Illness can often be UNSEEN by others in our lives - Invisible to those around us, even physicians". 

Back then women were also kind of considered "off the wall", depressed, anxious, stressed and that ALL of their "illnesses" were basically psychosomatic, rather than being looked upon as most men were. A man walks into the ER or doctor's office complaining and they are taken seriously. Back then and still it happens, woman can do the same, and we get the answer YOU need a "shrink"... this has changed for the better and does not happen as much, but back then most women were just "crazy", when they complained, especially of pain. 

So, when I became interested in finding out how I could get MY voice heard, other than my writing, I turned to Facebook to do some research. I also began doing searches on the different illnesses, diseases and syndromes, and came to find out there was an entire realm of "advocacy" places, where the PATIENT'S VOICE was CRUCIAL!

No longer was it just the professionals that were hailed upon for answers, but us, those that suffered with these diseases had a voice in groups, by jointing some of the organizations, and even going right up to Washington DC (which I had long said I wanted to stand at the White House Steps and TELL MY STORY) ... and I came to find out, that is exactly what patients were doing! That the Arthritis Foundation, WEGO Health, the Lupus Foundation, the IFAA, and so many other of the non-profits were "enlisting" us, everyday, regular patients to tell our stories, and move those that could help us by money for research, by giving people access to clinical trials, helping to get our voices to the experts, thus that is what I did.

I dove in head first, to a couple of organizations, and I was excited, thrilled, terrified, star-struck, and scared all at the same time! When I was able to attend the Arthritis Foundation's "Capitol Hill's Annual Summit" and DID GET TO tell my story to some of the Congressional men and women, I truly felt that I had accomplished a greatness. That is when I also wanted to tell everyone else, that they TOO, right from their home and computer, can also make their voices heard. They are important, and crucial to making the diseases stand out, where we can get answers, get proper diagnosis', get the care, medications and specialists we need in order to survive all of the horrid illnesses, we've had to endure for much too long.

#HAWMC

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Setting The New Year Tone as I Deal With RA, Lupus, Sjogren's, Trying to Complete a 3rd book, Life, Family and so much more...

Every Year so many of us have a "List to Live By"... for the New Year. Some call it a list of "resolutions", "Changes", a new way, a different attitude, motivation for making things different, making what you want in life happen... Whatever you "call" it... we try to set the "tone" for our New Year.

Whether "chronically ill" or not... each of us want things to "change". Now, many of us may be completely satisfied with our life "as is"... but human nature gives us this innate intuition to never stand stagnant, to always want to evolve, to make our mark on the world, or at least our own home and community. As a whole, although when you hear the news it does not sound like it, I still feel "human nature" basically wants to "do well"... to help, to be that change maker...

As I have prodded through these past 7, 8, 9 or more years of chronic illness and chronic pain, I've noticed that it seems for the majority of us that are chronically ill, whether it is an Autoimmune Illness, Heart Disease, Cancer, or any number of diseases, syndromes and/or illnesses "we" as a whole tend to try even harder to "change" what that disease is doing not just to "our bodies and lives" but to all the others we see on a daily basis suffering from the very same illnesses. We tend to be more a part of the "change makers", whether that means a local community awareness, or a National Campaign and being an "Ambassador", Volunteer, Activist, a "voice" such as helping so many of our non-profits, such as The Arthritis Foundation, The Cancer Society, The American Heart Association, Lupus Foundation, The Pain Foundation, and the many, many, charities and organizations that "go to bat" to fight not only locally, in our states, but nationally to make awareness known within our Governmental Bodies, to get finances for more research, the race for a cure, for answers as to "why" some of us suffer so badly from such horrid illnesses, what causes them, how to treat them without destroying a patients life, and how to give people back their quality of daily living!

So, when our chronic illness and/or oain issues bring us to the place we no longer can "work" our jobs, or do many things we once could do, we find ourselves seeking a way to help STOP these diseases from ruining more lives in the future. With the technology, and how we have evolved globally, with a few key strokes, we can contact our state, our county, our city, and our National Government Officials. We can provide all types of very usual assistance without leaving our homes to "make that difference" we so want to make in life. I know some people that probably spend more hours a day now as a volunteer, activist, etc... than they did actually working a 9 to 5 job that nearly killed them... but we can "take off" for a week if we are ill, or work an hour a day, or a few hours a month.... however much "we" want to put into assisting these foundations, is so appreciated. And many of us, like myself have been even honored and rewarded by being sent to Washington DC to stand on Capitol Hill and tell our stories! So, activism, can be and is such a rewarding part of a chronically ill person's life. We feel we are "contributing" even though we may not be able to work hours a day, or leave our homes... we "make a difference"... and not even spend a penny... but give of ourselves and our time... which is definitely valuable... sometimes more than money... the value of "our time"....

I had been looking on Twitter a bit ago, and there was a great idea that I decided to not only to share, but to do. Take an empty jar, and each "good thing" that happens within the New Year, jot it down on a small piece of paper and put it in the jar. Then in the start of the next New Year, get those out and read them. As I said, all too often we "recall" all of the crappy, the bad stuff, that happens within a years time, yet we don't remember those "good moments" and maybe they are "small" but memorable. Then see just how many have filled that jar from that year before. I have already been able to write down 3 or 4 things and put in the jar, and this is the middle of January! Maybe I will need 2 jars to "hold" onto those good moments... those moments that help to make the bad ones seem not so bad.

So, the "title" of this post, is a bit deceiving in some ways. I gave the impression this was going to me more about my own "revelations" for the New Year, and the "tone" of how I "want" my year to be for 2016. I've never been one to set expectations to high, but I do try to give myself "goals" to achieve... yet I have also had to learn that when you have illnesses such as Lupus, RA, Sjogren's.... and so forth... those things you "want to achieve" may get put on the back burner, for those times you are in a "flare", or you are having surgery, or sick, or going to the doctors... there can be all kinds of things that interfere with those "good intentions"... and it is not that you may not achieve them... just not in the time frame you thought you would. I had wanted to be a published author for 20 years plus, and then was with two books within less than a year between them! My 3rd book, has been sitting here mainly completed on my computer, but needing to be put in some type of order now for gosh 3, 4 or more years. But, life and illness... have had to come first... thus the book WILL GET PUBLISHED, but I no longer "pressure" myself... Due to things beyond my control over the last almost 3 years, I began getting it together, then had to leave it... now it will take me weeks to even get back into where I am, what I have in it, and how I want to continue... and I will get there... but I have to feel well enough "physically" to be able to sit at the computer several hours at a time, hopefully with little interruption for weeks, at least 2 or 3... or I will never be able to "delve" into where I am, and where I want to go forward.... so I may not be able to do as much as I want on it, until I have the cervical neck surgery... I can't sit very long at the computer typing right now because of that disc... when it presses down on the nerves, and I have pain in my shoulders and down my arms into my thumbs... it makes it very difficult to "find my voice" to write...

It is different with my blog... I can write a bit, get up, do a few things, and come back to "finish" the post...

But, the "tone" for my 2016 is to try my best to get as far on the 3rd book as I can to prepare for it to be published. I also need to get myself back into "physical shape" and I mean back to walking when it warms up, taking the dogs out walking, and getting out of the house... but I also face at least the one surgery... and maybe two this year... my lower lumbar and sacral spine gives me hell when I try and sit for very long also... and after Friday's ordeal of driving and doctors in Dallas all day long, I have suffered with a great deal of back and side pain... hell I've wondered if I have another kidney stone, the pain has been so bad off and on...

So, the "tone" again is to do as much as I can personally to my home, bless it's heart it needs so much work, and myself... and try to "enjoy" each day whether ill on the sofa, sitting here at the computer writing, or online...walking my pups... walking myself... and hopefully spending several times this year for a day or overnight stay at Winstar! Gosh how I miss that Casino! I walk in and the world melts away, at least for that time you are there...

So, take time to "set your tone" for 2016.... make yourself a "good moments" jar... and in 2017 (when I get to trade in my Prius for a New Model) see how many of those truly make you smile.....

Thursday, April 2, 2015

The Realms of My Own Happiness #HAWMC

Check out my true happiness and happy moments below!  #HAWMC


Happiness for each and everyone in this nation, and on the planet for that matter, can vary from person to person, from day to day, and even from moment to moment under some circumstances.

It is a very interesting question that can lead to you learning a great deal about a person by what truly brings out those "giddy" feelings of being totally "in bliss"; in a complete and whole state of all being fine in your little corner of the world.

For me, of course there are different things or ideas that bring me that feeling of "glory", of wanting to smile at the world, and hold onto that "key" situation, moment, happening that brought so much joyful glee to my soul.

If I had to pick one thing, it would be having a true inner feeling of accomplishment. I mean having one of those days, weeks, and so forth that I feel I am totally finished with certain things, that I have completed the "list of tasks" that I set out to do, say for that day or week. Within that time frame, for instance, I started out with an extremely huge amount of items that really needed to be done. Whether it means, a blog post I've really wanted to write, and write well that is also received well, I've taken care of a number of things that needed to be completed at home; such as possibly baking a special cake and it turns out perfect, errands that go by quickly, allowing me to free up some time, having ALL of my household "honey do" lists (when I say lists I mean our own at home along with my Mom's usual list), and all goes as planned, no accidental trip ups, nothing else to go wrong, plans that have been made being completed, and all seems in a place of peace. That would include my own advocacy work also. It in itself gives me those feelings of happiness in the fact again, I've "conquered" the battle ahead, forged through, and completed it. I see also that others have benefited from my own ideas, and I've also been able to spread my own happiness with others. When I find that state of mind, that state of feeling whole and complete, accomplished, with major and minor items, than I am in harmony with myself. I then can justify a "day off" to the Casino with a "daughter and Mom" overnight stay. Or I can justify that I've done a great job, having freed up time to make a trip over to another town, our county seat, and shopping, possibly grabbing lunch, and finding a huge bargain on an item of clothing that I needed, or had been wanting. So, the means is the end result for me, happiness.

When I can take a look backward in a certain day, week or weeks, and watch what my jobs, errands, cooking cleaning, blogging, writing, doing my activist work all come together in a neat package that I feel I could tie a ribbon around and say,
"Wow"! I really did get so much done, had a pretty "stress less" time doing all of it, and I've given others a reason to also say, "Thank you", "Job well done", or I (we) appreciate your good attitude and accomplishment.

Although there are other things such as being able to play my drums for a short while, getting out of the house and going for a "girls night out" with Mom to the Winstar in OK, being asked to participate in something special, such as the "WEGO Activist Writer's Challenge Month", or any type of event or happening that involves me more into my activist, advocate and Ambassador dealings also gives me a sense of accomplishment, thus happiness is always the end result.

Rhia Steele
April 2nd, 2015


p.s. When I speak of accomplishment; along with the completion of a long list of things to be done, I also mean being able to not take to be concerned over my health. I am at least for a small while, free of many of the main symptoms of my illnesses have calmed and quieted down long enough for me to do those things, which brings me bliss in with all I set out to do and get done...

#HAWMC

Friday, March 13, 2015

Changing of The "Plans"... asking for positive thoughts....

Please keep "positive" thoughts my way as I try to delve into my 3rd book. I've been working on it off and on for a long while, and really began to watch it somewhat take "shape" after the first of 2015. But, I was also trying to juggle writing it, all of the errands, bills, groceries, shopping, house cleaning, cooking... and of course that list goes on and on... along with all of my activist, advocacy, Ambassador, and volunteer work. Now, I have tried to come up with more ways to make some of the daily "drum" of life, play a different tune for me. I've re-organized (or I trying to) how I deal with the daily things that all of us must do, and also be loyal to my own blog and book... PLUS remain a huge VOICE as  I feel I must in the realms of my advocacy, activism, volunteer, and ambassador work as well. I never want to "negate" how critical I feel it is to give true "voice" to those out there with these often daily, chronic illnesses, pain, and make sure I am doing my part to help in that also. So, as I try to "coordinate" more, "combine tasks more"... and give myself plenty of "quality time" to write. I can't write 10 sentences, then have to get up, leave, run errands, go to the market, do laundry, and 4 hours come back and pick up where I left off... my mind just does not work that way anymore... with all of the brain fog, as well as stress, and the "business" of life, I have to allow myself to "tune out" some of those things, and let go of some of the stuff I tend to lay way too much priority on, that I need not. I don't have to have every dish, every towel, every floor, every inch of my car.... all in "perfection" .... some of that type "A" personality, must go... I've had to face that my mind just won't and cannot deal with way too many "irons in the fire" at once. When I do that, then I am more concerned about "doing" other "stuff", then do the "stuff" I WANT and need to do... LOL... no that does not mean I am going to have bare cupboards, do no cooking, never clean, or do laundry, not do all of the daily items, but I can do them in a bit different manner, thus freeing a "chunk" of time up to write, to do my advocacy work, to work on my blog... and so forth... thus that is my plan, and goal... of course like all great ideas, that may not come to fruition either... but I can try... plus I've tended to "neglect" the fact that I am in a GREAT DEAL MORE PAIN, than I wanted to admit to myself and my doctor. There is something going on, whether related to the RA, Lupus, my hips, osteoporosis... or what ever... that is causing me a world of hurt, that was under control for a long while. So, that may mean reconsidering my "autoimmune medications"... and also opting for more medication coming to me from my pain pump, in another small increment. I had it put in around October 2010... and for the 1st year, we "adjusted" it almost monthly... then we got it pretty well working as well as it was going to.... and 2 years ago, I went through another spell, where I was in "intractable" pain... again lower back, hips, legs... we adjusted the medication then, and there has not been a change since that time. So, I did tell my specialist last time he refilled my pump, that I was "jumping up" on the scale of pain... and he did "up" it a tiny bit... which is always how they have to handle it... but even with that, I am still in too much daily pain... and even though I and everyone knows we are NEVER completely "free" of pain... it just does not happen... so... I am going to ask him next week - Jim has an appt with them on Monday, about coming back in and having him "Up' the dose again. From there, I will be probably working with my Rheumatologist on trying a different "combination" of meds for the RA/Lupus.... but I really don't see him until May... yet I can email him, and sometimes he makes changes in between visits, since he is so swamped with research, teaching and seeing patients... that our visits are usually far between... Anyway... that is where I am at this moment... and I shall put one foot in front of the other... (by the way I have MY BOTTOM DENTURES FINISHED A WEEK FROM TODAY!!!!!!)))))) THAT WILL BE A HUGE HELP ALSO.... Thanks all... Rhia Steele​

Wanna Get Posts via Email:

Wednesday August 5th 2020 My Newspaper all things Autoimmune, COVID -19 and more

Wednesday August 5th 2020 My Newspaper all things Autoimmune, COVID -19 and more                                                            ...