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 Anne of 29 going on 92.
1. Tell us a little about yourself.
When I was 18 years-old my intermittent bilateral hip pain became constant and sidelined me from running Track at the end of my Senior Year. It didn’t take long for this pain to turn from irritating to problematic.
For the next two years I was misdiagnosed by doctors. A few of them even told me it was “all in my head.” I had scans, went to physical therapy, and did everything I was told, yet had minimal, if any, relief. I began to believe that my pain was imaginary, and grew frustrated with myself.
Through a crazy coincidence, I eventually found a surgeon who diagnosed me and performed surgery in 2008 and 2009. I recovered, felt great, and moved on with my life… for a year or so. I was beside myself when my hip pain returned worse than it was before the surgeries.
I searched for a promising new treatment, convinced that to repeat the same treatment would result in the same outcome. With no alternatives, I caved and had hip surgeries number three and four in 2015. Unfortunately, I didn’t even get six months of relief this time around. My hips were too far gone, the pain spreading down my legs and through my back.
I’m 29 now and cannot remember the last time I wasn’t in pain. Still, I continue to look for the answer. In the eleven years since my pain became constant, I have tried just about everything. Diets, supplements, sensory-deprivation tanks….you name it. I’ve had limited to no success, but I haven’t given up yet.
2. What is your blog called and how do you define your blog’s purpose?
My blog, 29 going on 92, is about being young– whether in years or at heart– and having to deal a chronic condition. I aim to capture the nuances of chronic pain in a real, yet humorous way. I try not to hold back or pull any punches but not bum the reader out too much in the process.
I also try to capture what chronic pain looks like that for those who don’t share in the experience but know someone who does or want to be better educated for any reason. I feel a responsibility to advocate for myself and anyone who is in my shoes, and the blog is currently the largest platform I have to do so.
3. How long have you been blogging and why did you start?
I started blogging in April of 2016, but I began writing about having chronic pain in 2014. The writing started accidentally as a way to pull me out of a negative head space. I never told anyone I was writing but decided to start a blog when the number of pages I accumulated was getting somewhat unruly. It all felt a little useless stuck in my computer for no one to read, and I had had nowhere to quickly go with it all. Enter: blogging.
4. How often do you post? What made you decide to post on this schedule?
I post every Wednesday and on the last day of the month. There are a few extra posts which pop up randomly, but I stick pretty firmly to this schedule. I’d love to post more, but I landed on once a week because it’s what my body can handle. I have a full-time job that isn’t blogging, and I end each day completely drained and in a considerable amount of pain. As much as I’d love to come home and write, I can’t at this point.
5. Do you feel blogging has benefitted you? If so, how?
Blogging has torn down a wall between me and the rest of my family and friends (at least those who read it). I have an amazing support system, but it can be hard to have certain conversations. Blogging paves the way for those difficult conversations when they, inevitably, arise. I never write a post or include any information so that I can sidestep a particular topic or discussion, but I find that if I write every post honestly and openly, as is my goal, the information eventually comes out.
6. Why do you feel it’s important to blog about chronic illness?
Blogging promotes connection, which is often a challenge for people with chronic illness. There are days for me when the isolation actually feels worse than the physical pain. When I began blogging that feeling subsided a bit, and it significantly improved when I made an effort to interact with readers and other bloggers.
7. What are your top 3 blogging tips for other bloggers?
Don’t hold back. There are times when I’m writing that I shake my head and think, “Do I really want to say this thing I’ve kept quiet for years? People I know read this.” But the minute I listen to that voice is when my content will suffer. The scariest thoughts in my mind are probably the scariest thoughts in someone else’s. Maybe I can make them feel a little less frightening if they read that someone else feels the same way. I’m not sure I’m qualified to give even one piece of advice much less three, so I’ll stop there!