(yup, that's a computer made entirely out of cake!) ---->
When I began Loving With Chronic Illness, I vowed to write from my heart...through the good, the bad, and the ugly. I don't think it's any coincidence that I began this project in 2010 - the year that would prove to be the most challenging for me, both physically and mentally. As it turns out, my medication (Humira) stopped working shortly after I began writing last March. I'm usually awed by how quickly times passes, but that was not the case in 2010. I was acutely aware of each week and each month that ticked by. It was a year that brought moments of extreme joy, and intense sorrow; my family saw new beginnings and difficult endings; we made big decisions and had new adventures. But even my brother's wedding, visits to see friends, my amazing trip to Italy, beach days, and family holidays (some of the happiest occasions of last year) didn't just fly by. To be honest, it was often a struggle to keep going.
As I sit back and reflect upon what Loving With Chronic Illness has come to mean in my life, I'm overwhelmed. Without this blog, the past 12 months would have felt much longer and lonelier. I wouldn't have made some of my closest connections, nor would I have found and spent two incredible weeks with my "Australian sister", Kate Brabon. After living 25 years with Spondylitis, this blog has finally allowed me to be truly open about my experiences. It has brought my personal relationships to a place of deeper understanding, helped me take pride in my journey, and aided me in sorting through both the pain and the triumphs. Additionally, it's provided me with the time and space to process the intricacies of living with illness and, on a more practical level, it has helped me track the progression of my health.
Although it was a struggle to write through the pain, I stuck to my word. I discovered that my honesty was the quality that people valued most in my posts and I felt honored to hear their stories in return. In just one year, this blog has evolved in several different directions, thanks to the extraordinary people I've connected with. The development of my "Spotlight Series" has allowed me the honor of introducing several warriors of chronic illness. I've learned so much from their wisdom, felt humbled by their words, and have made connections to last a lifetime.
To celebrate reaching the one year mark, I want to announce the winner of my first giveaway! (Note: this winner was chosen 100% fairly by an online randomizer)....drum roll please?
Congratulations!! Please contact me by e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org) and I will let you know how to claim your bracelet. I'm sending a big thank you to Michelle Miller-Anderson for making this giveaway possible and to everyone else who participated. I'm in the process of setting up some other giveaways, so stay tuned!