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What Awareness Means To Me: Katie Schwartz

Post Published: 31 March 2010
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Category: National Autoimmune Diseases Awareness Month March 2010
This post currently has 8 responses. Leave a comment

To me, Awareness for Autoimmune Diseases means:

  • A willingness to step outside of our comfort zone.
  • A yearning for change so profound, we will not be deterred or swayed from our goals.
  • We demonstrate unreserved commitment to ensure our voices are heard.

Adrienne Rich, one of my favorite authors wrote “The moment of change is the only poem”.

According to Webster’s, the definition of poem is “a composition in verse, esp. one that is characterized by a highly developed artistic form and by the use of heightened language and rhythm to express an intensely imaginative interpretation of the subject…

On Dear Thyroid’s website, patients write and submit love and hate letters to their thyroids; poems, Haiku’s, and, among other things, rants. Additionally, families write letters to their loved one’s thyroids.

We comment on each other’s posts. Leaping through the Ethernet, our fingers vehemently dance across our keyboards fluently conveying our tales, affection, fear, kindness, support, humor and offering resources, among other things.

By doing this, our collective voices equate to intolerance about being dismissed by doctors, friends and others unwilling to fight for us. Therefore, we must do it for ourselves. Furthermore, by writing and sharing our stories. Though some of us have the same disease, we exhibit different symptoms and reactions to medications. We are collectively enunciating that we are more than the sum of our numbers. In kind, reminding the world and the medical community that our respective diseases are not to be taken lightly.

Patients with thyroid disorders, autoimmune diseases and cancers, akin to patients with other chronic conditions and cancers, are financially impoverished, relationships forever transformed and lives irrevocably altered.

We must continue writing and submitting letters, as well as connecting with each other in comments. If we are ever going to create the kind of awareness we so rightfully deserve, our stories must be told. Each chronicles an anomalous yarn of the same disease. ,  And with pride, wear our diseases on our sleeves and awareness on our wrists.

I have unwavering confidence in our ability as a community to invoke change. Are you with me?! Let’s kick some serious awareness ass!

If you haven’t read “Full Lips, Curvy Hips and the Tightest Little Thyroid You’ve Ever Seen“, check it out. Another awareness article with some staggering statistics; but funny.

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8 Responses to “What Awareness Means To Me: Katie Schwartz”

  1. You are so right, Katie. By sharing, we make others realise that there is nothing to be ashamed of. By opening up, we make others realise that they are not alone. By telling the community about our problems, we can get help and help each other. And by raising awareness, we can hopefully improve our treatment and the research that is done on our disease. There is all too much literature out there about what hokey doctors have to say about thyroid disease, but if more doctors read and took seriously what this disease really means for us, then perhaps things would change for the better.

  2. My&Mythyroid says:

    Great article, completely agree with everything said. We must use words to heal and to share our experiences to help each other. Awareness of our disease would mean that people would understand us and our disease better, we would have better treatment & medication, better funding. I’m still dreaming of the day the media hears our voices and we get awareness out their! Im sick of people going on tv saying thyroid disease is easy to manage and is easily treated by one small pill. No-one looks hollistically! I want patients to be diagnosed quicker and with the right disease.

    Check out my blog: glandtastic.blogspot.com/
    It’s quite new, I’d love it if you could add it to your list! xxx

  3. Carol says:

    Doctors need more education and awareness and compassion regarding this disease – this happened to me today:I am on my 3rd dr. and called today for apt (she will get blood results and ultrasound results and I have ????’s and issues) and 1st avail apt 6/3, I won’t be available in June, made apt with another dr in her office and got a voicemail … See Morecanceling apt ” they like you to see your reg… dr and no other dr. (even though same office) and when they get my test results, they will let me know if there are any probs. HELLLLLOOOOOO I so won’t be back, I will send the results and have all my records sent to another dr. don’t they even want to feel my nodules and ask me how I fee. I will say at least the dr before this one wanted to see me twice a year and this one said once, but after this NEVER again. So just for reading my results they will bill my insurance companies, and I have to have the results sent to her until I find another dr so she can refill my meds. Sorry this is long

  4. Love the article, Katie. You are so right about this community having the ability to invoke change and create awareness. We can and will make thyroid diseases and cancers sexy!

    xoxo,
    Joanna

  5. Anonthp says:

    Katie,

    This is a very thoughtful and articulate article. You are right about the fact that we may have the same diseases, but different symptoms. The Dear Thyroid community has brought us together and helped bring awareness and education to thyroid disease.

    Simply thynificent!

  6. Monica says:

    Because of the articles, letters and comments on this site, it has given me the awareness, courage and confidence to talk to my doctor and her not having the last word on what she thinks is the best treatment for me.

    Just wanted to say thanks, Katie 🙂

    ☮ ♥

  7. Lori says:

    I’m feelin’ ya, Katie!

    “By doing this, our collective voices equate to intolerance about being dismissed by doctors, friends and others unwilling to fight for us.”

    Yes, collectively, we are bringing about change!

    I hope you know how wise you are, Katiegirl!

    Love ya!
    lori
    🙂

  8. HD inOregon says:

    Community is us! Great article!

    HD

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