Each week we are highlighting a different Chronic Illness Bloggers’ member as our ‘Blogger of the Week‘. As well as getting to know each other better, we hope that you enjoy this series and that you find the interviews with each member to be insightful and helpful.

This week our blogger of the week is Stella of Stella’s FMS eNews.

Stella of the blog 'Stella's FMS eNews'1. Tell us a little about yourself.
I am 80 years young! I am fortunate that I did not develop fibromyalgia until after retirement age, so it did not impact my ‘active’ years. I have other medical conditions besides fibro and all its add-ons; I have osteoarthritis, spinal stenosis, and I had ocular melanoma resulting in enucleation of my left eye. I pay more attention to fibromyalgia than the other conditions because of the lack of awareness, although this is improving nowadays. I was married in 1958 – at the time of writing, 2 years to go to our diamond anniversary! It doesn’t seem 8 years ago that we celebrated the golden one. We have 3 (very) grown up ‘children’; 2 married daughters and a middle-aged bachelor son. Also, one married granddaughter!

2. What is your blog called and how do you define your blog’s purpose?
My blog is called Stella’s Fibromyalgia eNewsletters (FMS eNews). I suppose it isn’t a blog in the accepted sense of the word. I do write a few personal comments at the beginning and end of each issue but my main purpose is to promote what is being said/written elsewhere on the web. I link to other sites – some of which are blogs – that give information about FMS; research, drugs, treatments, alternative therapies, nutrition, exercise, sleep, benefits etc. My aim is to direct readers to websites that give relevant information that might help fibromyalgia sufferers cope with and manage their condition. There is an amazing amount of material available and I direct people to the specific websites, giving visual clues by adapting pictures from the original websites as well as giving some introductory text for each item.

3. How long have you been blogging and why did you start?
My first blog was on 11th March 2011. I was then a trustee with the charity Fibromyalgia Support for Surrey and Sussex and I had been responsible for sending emails to members giving them bits and pieces of information. I thought a better way of transmitting such info, which would then be more permanent and readily available to a wider readership, was to start a blog. I continued this weekly until December 2012, when I retired as a trustee. Then I started a new independent blog, which I have continued ever since.

4. How often do you post? What made you decide to post on this schedule?
I post (almost) every week on Saturdays. 50 posts in 2015. Regularity is important. My readers know to look out for my weekly email that notifies them of the most recent blog. I work on it throughout the week in Notebook. I transfer all the information to Blogspot, add links and pics on Friday, so it’s ready to publish on Saturday. Routine is paramount.

5. Do you feel blogging has benefitted you? If so, how?
I find my blog is a creative venture and creative pursuits are therapeutic for me. I do get emails from time to time from subscribers who say how much they have been helped by what I do. It is very rewarding when some appreciation is shown and makes one feel that all the effort involved is not in vain. I feel that I have made many friends through my blog.

6. Why do you feel it’s important to blog about chronic illness?
It serves the purpose of raising awareness, showing understanding, alleviating loneliness/isolation, providing information/education about the condition. A bit like shouting from the rooftop!

7. What are your top 3 blogging tips for other bloggers?
1. Make sure what you say is TRUE. Don’t make false or misleading statements.
2. Make your pages visually appealing with appropriate illustrations.
3. Enjoy blogging! When it becomes a chore – give yourself a break.


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