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 Valerie of Lilac and Lyme.

valerie_lilac_lyme1. Tell us a little about yourself.
I am a Southerner through and through. I love quiet places, sea breezes, family, friends, corgis, a colorful ball of yarn, my crochet needles, paints and brushes, hot tea, blogging and good books. My journey to diagnosis with Late Stage Lyme Disease has been a long and winding road. I was literally put through the medical mill. My first diagnoses were possible MS with a side of pulmonary hypertension thrown in for good measure. I was in my early thirties. In 2013, after many frightening medical tests to rule out every disease under the sun, I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, Hashimoto’s, heart block and arthritis. Meanwhile, I continued to get sicker and sicker. Finally, in March of this year, I was diagnosed with Chronic Late Stage Lyme Disease. It has been a trial for sure and for certain. But, I am thankful to finally have an answer.

2. What is your blog called and how do you define your blog’s purpose?
Lilacandlyme.com. I titled it Lilac and Lyme because purple is the color of Fibromyalgia awareness and Lyme is my primary struggle. I blog about my journey with my different illnesses. Primarily, I blog about Lyme Disease. Lyme is not a politically correct illness nor is it widely recognized in mainstream medicine. I strive to bring awareness to the disease and educate others. Awareness and education are the key to changing how the world views Lyme Disease. I enjoy connecting with people who share in the same struggles that I face as well as meeting other people in the chronic illness community.

3. How long have you been blogging and why did you start?
I first began blogging back in 2006. Then, it was primarily more of a journal of daily life and to share my Pembroke Welsh Corgi art with the world. I paint Pembroke Welsh Corgis. You can view my paintings over at ‘Shaggycreations’ on Facebook. I was only an occasional blogger at that point.

In 2014, I began blogging in earnest about my experiences with Fibromyalgia and ME. Then, in 2015 my health took a turn for the worse and I had to drop blogging completely for a while. In March of 2016, I was diagnosed with Lyme and was afraid. I again turned to blogging to share my experiences, in hopes of connecting with others who had this disease.

It has been a blessing. I have enjoyed “meeting” so many wonderful people through my blog. This past month, I made the switch to my own domain over at Lilacandlyme.com and am looking forward to starting this new chapter in blogging!

4. How often do you post? What made you decide to post on this schedule?
I typically post once a week. Usually on Sundays as this is my most restful day. Once in a while I will post something through the week. I try to post on a regular schedule, but sometimes my health gets in the way.

5. Do you feel blogging has benefitted you? If so, how?
I love blogging. I have “met” so many wonderful friends and fellow bloggers. People I would never have had the opportunity to connect with otherwise. It is like one great big support network. I am especially grateful to Julie Ryan and Chronic Illness Bloggers for providing so many great opportunities. I do not blog primarily for money, but, to bring to light the struggles that surround Chronic Lyme patients and chronic illness sufferers in general. Anything else, is just icing on the cake.

6. Why do you feel it’s important to blog about chronic illness?
Awareness is the key to changing how the world views those with chronic illness. I have a very controversial illness. I think it is important to share our stories with the world.

7. What are your top 3 blogging tips for other bloggers?
1. Blog from life’s experiences. Sometimes the most ordinary things are the most helpful!
2. Blog on a regular schedule. For many years I blogged as a hit and miss writer. Posting here and there. Since I have begun blogging on a regular basis, my reach has been so much greater!
3. Visit other blogs and comment. I have “met” some of the loveliest people just through reading and commenting on others’ blogs. The blogging community is a wonderful place. Reach out!


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