Guest Post: Coming Together

Sharing is caring and before four years ago I had no idea how valuable that little piece of information could be. Until then I was still an invulnerable 44 year old male with a strong career and seemingly everything under control.

Then it happened. In October of 2006 I found out how little control I truly had. What I did have was an unexpected diagnosis of prostate cancer.

Letting Go Of The Life We Have Planned

One of my favorite quotes is by Joseph Campbell, an American professor, writer and lecturer.
"We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the life that is waiting for us."
Sometimes that life isn't what we expect and coming to terms with the new reality of life with chronic illness is difficult and can be traumatic.  I know it took me several years after my diagnosis with chronic illness before I found an inner acceptance and could re-point my compass in a new direction. It was as much of an emotional as it was a physical healing process.  And the healing journey is never fully completed.

It's About Time! Announcing the HealingWell Blog

It has been a long time coming, especially since blogging has been around for over 10 years now. Well, I'm late to the party, but that doesn't mean we can't still have fun, right!  I've been looking forward to blogging for a long time, but due to life circumstances (such as staying healthy with chronic illness, raising four small children, working two jobs, serving in my church, and supporting my wife in graduate school) I wasn't sure I'd have the time or the commitment necessary. Over time, though, I've come to the conclusion that those are just excuses. Life never really does slow down does it? My life certainly hasn't. I've found it increasingly impossible to confine my thoughts and ideas to 140 characters that a simple tweet would allow. As they say in baseball, it's time to step up to the plate and swing for the fences.

It All Started 15 Years Ago

I am still amazed what HealingWell.com has become since that Fall day in September 1996 when I sat at my computer in my tiny Boston apartment launching what would become the beginnings of this web site. To be completely honest, my motivation that day was really quite selfish.

I had just been diagnosed with a chronic illness a few weeks earlier and felt completely alone. My experience with medical tests, procedures, and getting shuffled from doctor to doctor was absolutely exhausting and terribly frustrating. It was during this experience I learned that doctors don't always know all the answers (which was quite a revelation to me at the time) and that if I was going to get through this I needed to become more proactive and involved, learning more about my symptoms, diagnosis and treatment.

Getting Self-Help Online

Peter's Note: This was originally published in USA Weekend magazine.
Nearly 15 years ago, I was diagnosed with a chronic illness. I went online and was surprised by the lack of an outlet in which ordinary people like me could share information or find an empathetic ear. For those who are hurting, the Internet offers more than the presentation of medical facts; it is an outlet for personal connection. That's when I launched my site, HealingWell.com, which contains 30-plus forums -- also known as online discussion groups or bulletin boards -- in which hundreds of thousands of people exchange information, opinions and feelings every month. Today, there are many other outlets online that host similar health-related forums. If you're seeking a discussion forum, keep in mind these simple, useful guidelines to ensure that your online pursuits are heading in the right direction.