One year ago, on New Year’s Day, I was sitting with friends in their cabin out in Western Massachusetts, talking about the idea for this blog.
Writers are always advised, “Write what you know.” Well, with three decades’ experience, I certainly know about scleroderma. For several months, I’d toyed with the notion of writing about this disease, possibly as a freelance project. Those plans didn’t materialize, but the idea lingered.
Even still, I was unsure about going public online. It was scary. For many years, I’ve remained mostly silent about having scleroderma, sharing only with Al, our daughters and a few close friends. The disease is relatively rare, hard to explain, and just plain strange. I’ve had trouble accepting my health challenges, even as I’ve lived with the daily consequences for so long. Like everyone else, I just want to be healthy.
But, reality is, I have this disease and a gift for words.
So, with encouragement from friends and family, I decided to go ahead and blog about what it’s like to live, day in and day out, with this most complex and mysterious illness.
I didn’t want this blog to be a harangue about my travails, or a litany of symptoms and doctor’s appointments. Rather, my goal was to explore the experience of living with a chronic illness, how it shapes your daily life and relationships, as well as how you perceive yourself.
It’s been quite a journey, writing every week. I’ve become more comfortable and confident, sharing with all of you, my loyal subscribers and readers, what it’s like to live with scleroderma. I’m no longer embarrassed when a stranger asks about my hands. I’ve found greater self-acceptance.
I’ve also been deeply moved when readers have shared their thoughts and taken inspiration from my words. And I’m so appreciative of both the Scleroderma Foundation and the Scleroderma Research Foundation, for their wonderful work toward finding a cure, and for their encouragement and help in sharing some of the content of this blog.
Some of you have asked if I will turn this blog into a book. My answer: I’m working on it. Will let you know as I explore concepts, formats and options. Meanwhile, I plan to keep posting for another year, and see where it leads.
To all of you, my profound thanks for reading, commenting and sharing this blog. Most of all, for caring. My best wishes for a healthy, healing, prosperous and peaceful 2013.
Evelyn Herwitz blogs weekly about living fully with chronic disease, the inside of baseballs, turtles and frogs, J.S. Bach, the meaning of life and whatever else she happens to be thinking about at livingwithscleroderma.com.