A Year of Blogging: Helping Others and Me

On February 8, 2011, I created and posted my first blog. It wasn’t an idea I had given a lot of thought. It was one of those ‘things’ that came to me and didn’t leave me alone until I followed though. I like to think of it as a whisper from God.

I wanted to write a book about my spinal cord injury; however, the thought of writing an entire book was overwhelming, scary. A blog seemed manageable and I hoped therapeutic. God must have thought so too since the word ‘blog’ kept appearing in some of the most unusual, even laughable places. A college friend has extensive blog experience and I knew I could turn to her if I needed help; however, I literally jumped in with both feet, no Blogging for Dummies guidebook and created a blog from scratch one late afternoon. I posted my first entry as if I were a professional blogger. It was both scary and satisfying. Was I prepared to tell the entire world my story…even my most private thoughts and details of my medical history, my personal life? Was I ready to talk about Dr. Liar, the court case, the verdict and my retreat from the world? Did anyone care?

I should have been more confident in the whisper I received. Those whispers have never steered me wrong. What I didn’t know then was creating a blog would be one of the most powerful undertakings I would tackle. I use the word tackle since writing many of the posts didn’t come easy. Even now, reading many of them stirs up some unsettling emotions. I am the type of writer who puts herself back in the situation when writing about the past. When I wrote about being in the I.C.U. and feeling the pain in my arm…I literally could feel the pain. However, taking myself back to many of those situations is something I needed.

When I forced myself to read through the early posts during these past few weeks I could feel the raw emotion jumping off the page, the pain and the hatred I felt for the doctor who changed my life within a matter of minutes during what should have been a rather standard herniated disc procedure. However, for whatever reason, he hit my spinal cord with a mallet, and as you, the readers, know…the rest is history. He was found not guilty and is still practicing medicine in the same hospital and, in fact, has received a promotion.

I oftentimes felt as if I my emotions were like a see-saw in many of the past posts…back and forth, up and down, but I admit that I am now a much happier person then when I began writing My Unplanned Life. I have grown through my writing, through your support, the questions and comments, but mostly through helping others who are struggling.

I will never forget a comment I received from a reader who wrote and told me she was considering suicide and then she read my blog. It was the blog that made her realize she wasn’t alone in her pain and help was out there — all she had to do was reach for it. Luckily, she did reach — asked for help, found a doctor who cared about her well-being, was approved for Social Security Disability and has since learned that she is going to be a grandmother. She sent me the most powerful message “God sends angels in the most unlikely places — even through the Internet.” That is a message that sticks with me daily and makes writing a bit easier even when writer’s block sits in. We are now good friends and I feel as if she is my angel. I can’t imagine she not getting to know her grandchild.

I have learned through the search engine of the blog that readers are looking for happiness, ways to deal with pain and a lot of us are searching for ways to forgive those who have hurt us deeply. For this anniversary post I wanted to share highlights of the blog — the interesting information that you readers don’t get to see, but may find interesting.

Out of the 34,500 ‘hits’ or readers of the blog most are located in the United States, followed by the United Kingdom and Greece. December 29, 2011 was the busiest day for the blog with 438 hits. April 2011 was the busiest month for the blog with 3,732 hits and February 2011 was the lowest with 1,241. My simple little blog isn’t breaking any records; however, when readers come across it, they usually click on seven or eight posts. There are definitely regular readers and those who comment often. To those faithful readers, I am truly grateful. I know time is valuable and I am humbled you take the time to read. It means the world to me and I love hearing from you!

In addition to looking for happiness, many readers are searching for competent doctors, help with Social Security Disability, how to live life with no regrets and how to talk to their doctors. There are also many people asking about alternative treatments. However, the one search that makes me laugh are the numerous readers who want to know “who is Dr. Liar?” To those asking, I wish I could disclose his real name; however, our mixed up legal system prevents me from doing so in an open forum. What I can say, is anyone who is considering any type of surgery is to do your homework, read web sites like http://www.vitals.com and check up on your doctor. It is a fact that people spend more time researching purchasing a television than selecting a surgeon.

And lastly, I wish I could erase all the hurt, pain and sadness that many of you have gone through. I have been through it. I see how others treat the disabled. I know how difficult it is to ask for help and deal with employers and our government when it comes to assistance. I know how sharp that knife is when someone says “but you don’t look sick.” I also know how difficult those days are when getting out of bed is a chore. I know how it feels to be called a liar, borderline retarded and to be told that you are making up your sicknesses. But, just like the whisper I heard a year ago to write a blog to help others it ultimately helped me in more ways than I can ever explain. It’s funny how that happens.

I am stronger, happier, healthier and more tolerant. I still have bad days; after all, I am only human and I have a permanent spinal cord injury. I live with pain, but the pain doesn’t define me. It’s not a part of me like my heart, kidneys, etc. It entered my body like an unwanted virus and I hope one day a doctor or scientist will figure how to make it leave. But, until then, I cope. I hurt. I fear. I cry. I hope. I pray.

This 61st post, one year following the first, is an honor to prepare. I hope those with questions will find me on Facebook, Twitter, or on the blog itself. I thought on June 23, 2005 when I woke from surgery and couldn’t feel my right side that my life was over. What took a long time to learn is that God had other plans. I wasn’t supposed to be going to an office each day and handling Internal Communications for a large corporation. It was God’s plan to slow down my life, learn to appreciate each day and to help others. While it wasn’t my plan, it was God’s and it came to me through a whisper.

Those reading the blog know that music has always been a huge part of my life. In closing, I would like to include lyrics to a song I heard five years prior to my injury. I remember thinking “now that is a perfect song about how all of us should live.” I had hired a motivational speaker to talk to employees. Little did I know that the biggest impact he would make would be on me…the person who organized the event. The song, “I Hope You Dance,” sung by Lee Ann Womack. The message: to never take life for granted. My wish for you: I hope you dance and live life for all it’s worth no matter what life throws at you.

I hope you never lose your sense of wonder
You get your fill to eat but always keep that hunger
May you never take one single breath for granted
God forbid love ever leave you empty-handed
I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean
Whenever one door closes I hope one more opens

Promise me that you’ll give faith a fighting chance
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance

I hope you dance 

I hope you never fear those mountains in the distance
Never settle for the path of least resistance

Livin’ might mean takin’ chances, but they’re worth takin’
Lovin’ might be a mistake, but it’s worth makin’
Don’t let some Hellbent heart leave you bitter
When you come close to sellin’ out, reconsider

Give the heavens above more than just a passing glance
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance

I hope you dance

Time is a wheel in constant motion always rolling us along

I hope you dance

Tell me who wants to look back on their years and wonder, where those years have gone?

I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean
Whenever one door closes I hope one more opens
Promise me that you’ll give faith a fighting chance
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance

Dance
Time is a wheel in constant motion always rolling us along

I hope you dance

Tell me who wants to look back on their years and wonder, where those years have gone?

©My Unplanned Life and www.shakinguplife.wordpress.com, 2012.

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About mswd

I am an individual living with a spinal cord injury. How the injury occurred, how I found out how severe my injury was and how my planned life suddenly became 'unplanned' is included in this blog. Also included is how the injury has tested my family and me. I believe you will discover it has been both a mentally and physically challenging ordeal and I learned a few lessons along the way. While I am still defining my life’s purpose since the injury, I have uncovered those who are injured, live with pain or have other obstacles to navigate are never able to escape. However, come with me as I explore ways to improve my life, learn to live with multiple neurological conditions, educate others and look for the silver lining. I believe with a little willpower, my caring family and God's guidance I will learn to forgive, hopefully forget how I was treated and dismissed by a doctor and uncover life's new purpose. I pray for painfree days and answers to questions that keep swirling through my mind. I also pray for a cure for neurological conditions and for the doctors to treat their patients with respect. Welcome to my journey. I would love to hear about yours!
This entry was posted in Court, Disability, Don't Give Up, Dr. Liar, Employer and disability, Faith, Forgiveness, God, Happiness, Hurt but not Broken, Joy, Pain, Self Discovery, Spinal Cord Injury, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to A Year of Blogging: Helping Others and Me

  1. I still think you should write a book about your experience. You’ve already written the major part of it in your blog. With your blog, you only reach a small percentage of readers. With a book, the sky’s the limit. I say, Go for it. Wishing you all the best, Ursula

    • mswd says:

      Ursula ~ your message made my day! Thank you for taking the time to write! I still haven’t given up the hope to publish a book specifically to do as you suggest…to spread the word out about researching doctors and how to lift yourself up when life tries to beat you down. I took a break since the rejection letters were a bit depressing; however, I am back at it and will send another 50+ queries out tomorrow. Wish me luck and thank you again for the encouragement. Wishing you nothing but the best. Thank you for your kind words!

      • Your’re very welcome! Now here’s the thing. Not yet being that well versed in WP, I was hoping that my msg would take you to my other blog, Diary of a Naive, which is a blog about self-discovery, writing, and healing that, I hoped, might give you even a little more fire. However, it took you to Vignettes. Actually, Diary of a Naive it is a novel I wrote about these issues as it was easier for me do so. Now I am publishing the chapters in my blog in the hopes that it would inspire others to follow their dreams–whatever they are. In my case, it was writing. So, if you feel like doing so, here is the address to Diary of a Naive: http://umandel2. wordpress.com. And further, I know — I mean don’t I know — how debilitating rejection letters are!! A real downer. But there are other ways to publish, and to publish your book as a Kindle e-book for starters, or a Nook book, costs nothing, and at least you could get it out, and folks could read it, and you can still contact agents even while you have it out as an e-book. Besides, you get paid. In my humble opinion, your experience is important enough to share with others. Good luck, Ursula

  2. AMSDaily says:

    Congratulations on your blog’s anniversary!

    • mswd says:

      Thank you so much for your message. It means so much coming from you. Your blog is one of my favorites! Continued success to you…I will be reading! Blessings!

  3. Anna Southerington says:

    I agree with Ursula, you should definitely publish this as a book. And if the publishing houses say no, publish it yourself! I believe there are on-demand services online that will help you with not just the publishing part, but with getting the book out on seller sites like Amazon, as well. Granted, that’s not as effective as marketing with all the resources of a major publisher behind you, but it’s something. As you have already seen, your story and your words can touch people in profound ways, and a book may be just the thing to reach even more people who could reap genuine benefit from your experiences and reflections. In some ways, this blog reminds me of Jill Bolte Taylor’s book My Stroke of Insight, which was a very powerful and inspiring book, indeed. So go for it, Marsha, one way or another!

    I also wish to contribute a song lyric of my own, from the musical Rent – it is one that I have found very powerful through my own experiences with disability (albeit temporary) after my traffic accident in Peru:

    The heart may freeze or it can burn
    The pain will ease if I can learn
    There is no future
    There is no past
    Thank God this moment’s not the last

    There’s only us
    There’s only this
    Forget regret– or life is yours to miss.
    No other road
    No other way
    No day but today

    There’s only yes
    Only tonight
    We must let go
    To know what is right
    No other course
    No other way
    No day but today

    I can’t control
    My destiny
    I trust my soul
    My only hope
    is just to be

    There’s only now
    There’s only here
    Give in to love
    Or live in fear
    No other path
    No other way
    No day but today

    • mswd says:

      Anna — I so appreciate your messages and am so glad that we have developed our friendship after all these years. It is amazing how similar our situations have been and how it took a college magazine to get us communicating and sharing experiences. I thank you for your words of encouragement and admire you for all you have done to lift yourself up from your place of darkness to heal and to find joy. I love the song from RENT and as I mentioned in an email I copied it to my Ipod and I think about you and all you have accomplished when I hear it. Thank you for your insight, friendship, advice, messages, and love, which I can feel so many miles away.

  4. Reba Nelson says:

    Congratulations on touching so many lives! Pain is one experience all humans have shared. Because it is so unplesant we want to avoid dealing with it in any form, even to the extent of ignoring those who suffer because we simply don’t know what to say or how to help. Not only does this blog help those who are suffering from terrible misfortunes, it also gives insight into those suferings and helps ‘outsiders’ understand that you don’t have to “look sick” to be suffering unbearable pain.
    Jesus was drawn to those who were suffering and they were drawn to Him. He never turned away. May His present day disciples do the same!
    I agree that a book is in the offing. I can just see a beautifully illustrated volume that tells the stories of those who are rising above their victimization and contributing to society in way they would never have dreamed.
    God’s mercies are new every morning. Staying in the present is essential to recovery and healty.
    I started writing a song about that a few month ago. It isn’t finished yet but here’s been written so far:
    There are songs that have never been written.
    There are words that have never beeh rhymed.
    There are dreams that have enver been wakened
    Until this very moment in time.

    Tomorrow is only a concept.
    Spring green, autum leaves before winter.
    Life’s cycles spin new every year
    Until this very moment in time.

    Peace and blessings to you and yours,
    Reba Nelson

    • mswd says:

      Reba ~ you are just the sweetest. Thank you for you thoughtful message and for sharing the lyrics to your song. It is so powerful! I can’t wait for you to complete it and to see where it takes you. It’s amazing how writing down a few words can make you feel at peace. I am also overwhelmed at the response I have received regarding the blog — it does my heart good to know how it has helped others. God led me to write the blog and I feel as if he is leading me to do a book. I am doing some research and hope to first do an e-book. Thank you for your ongoing support and for being such a bright light! Sending love and blessings! XOXO

  5. Linda Mossner says:

    God’s blessings to you. Follow your heart and all will turn out. I SAY WRITE THAT BOOK!!! Love you lots.

    • mswd says:

      Linda ~ you are such a sweetheart! Thank you for your messages. I am so behind in my replies so please forgive me. I appreciate the encouragement! Love and miss you and promise to catch up via email! Love to all! XO

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