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Hello! And welcome to the first official blog post of my site, One Autoimmune Journey! Welcome! Welcome! Welcome! I am so glad you are here! And I’m so glad to have this post finally written.
You see, this blog has been YEARS in the making. YEARS. Not only have I started and stopped, and published and unpublished this blog many, many times but I have also thought about this blog idea… every. single. day… for as long as I can remember.
Hi! I’m Tina and I am the owner, writer, and main voice behind this blog.
For the past 7 years, I have worked for various cyber-schools as an online teacher. I am a high school English teacher at heart but have recently started dabbling in Business, Computer, and Information Technology (BCIT) courses. I work for one of the best STEM schools in the state of PA and could not be more proud of all that I have accomplished there. Before my teaching career began, I also worked in business administration and business management roles for at least 3 years. At one point in time, I was the Store Manager for a local Rita’s Italian Ice and an owner of my own wedding and portrait photography business called Hohla Creations.
Currently, in my spare time, I also teach college-level courses and love my college-level students. There’s just something about helping others work towards achieving their goals and dreams that fires me up inside. Not only do I love helping others see the potential they have to do something they’ve always wanted to do but I also love teaching them skills that will not only benefit them in college but also in their chosen career and life as well. Lately, I also seem to be leaning more towards helping others with technology and career-specific skills than with teaching subject-specific content. I absolutely love learning how to make content and online courses relevant to any interest, degree, and/or program and even though I love teaching, I can see myself moving into more of an instructional design or educational technology role in the near future.
In my life away from teaching, I am a mom, wife, friend, and family member. I love spending time with my family, traveling when I’m able and going on adventures that bring me joy. I have a tendency to take on too much, suffer from perfectionism, and seem to have more drive than most health-challenged people I know. Over the years, I have officially earned over 26 medical diagnoses, at least 6 of which are autoimmune in nature, and have ridden my fair share of rollercoaster rides with illness. I have had a total of 14 health-related surgeries in my lifetime, have visited more doctors’ offices and specialists’ clinics than I can count, and have tried just about everything I can possibly think of to better manage my health conditions.
For some reason, health challenges always seemed to be a part of my life. Even as a child, I can remember missing quite a few days from school, obtaining referrals and seeing specialists, and getting to know my pediatrician well. Feeling lost but determined, my parents tried everything they knew how to work on solving the health mysteries I was facing; however, with each new year, came a new set of symptoms and health challenges, and a personal mental health crisis that was rocky at best.
As I grew older, I found myself spending way too much time sitting in waiting rooms, talking with doctors and specialists about my care, analyzing test results, and doing more research than your average doctoral student especially when things just didn’t make sense. Over time, I accumulated multiple autoimmune and chronic illness disorders, constant fatigue and pain, and multiple health-related diagnoses that constantly left my head spinning.
Still to this day, I do not have any solid answers as to why my health started to fail me and for some reason, I felt like I could not write about my experiences until that happened. In my mind, I needed to have a success story to write about, not one that was plagued with the ups and downs of life; however, how interesting would that type of blog really be?
My health story has no ending (and I’m sure probably never will) so there really is no “perfect” time to start writing and sharing my story with the world. Instead of feeling scared and hitting the “backspace” button on my keyboard like I usually would by this point, I’m determined to see this through. My blog is a safe space and things do not have to be perfect here to accomplish my true mission, which is to hopefully help others with my story.
You see, if my experiences could help just one other person, I feel like it makes this journey worth it.
Life with autoimmune disease is not easy; but, it does not have to be hard either. Even though I am not a medical professional of any kind (yet); I am an autoimmune and/or chronic illness warrior just like you. I have many of the same struggles, I face many of the same challenges, and I find myself learning more about how to manage my own conditions each and every day. Throughout this experience, I bring over 15 years of experience as a patient and unlike a medical professional’s point of view, I feel I can bring a unique description of the patient’s side of our experiences to life.
It has now become my mission to share the patient voice, help others realize their true potential, and through a love of life, show others how to live well, even with disease. Even if we have to make accommodations or modifications to how we would normally do something, that’s okay; as long as we do it, we experience it, and we do not allow our health challenges to hold us back. Things might never be the same as they were before we got sick and it may take us a while to accept that but it does not mean that our lives are over. We still have a wonderful life to live!
This is One Autoimmune Journey. And I’m here to tell you my story.