Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Telling Your Story

If you've never written about receiving a rare disease diagnosis for you or your child, now is a good time.  Rare Disease Day is just a month away, and you can share your story to a large audience and put rare disease on center stage for a day. 

  •   Start by identifying your theme.  Do you want to talk about receiving the rare disease diagnosis?  Handling appointments with doctors, therapists, etc?  How your friends and  family responds to a rare disease diagnosis?  Difficulty in accessing good medical care?
  • Draft a timeline.  This helps to get your thoughts in a chronological order and will help you recall details that you might otherwise forget to include.  The timeline could be your child’s life up until now, or could just be a specific timeframe like infancy, school years, Wilms Tumor treatment, etc …
  •   This is the step I call:  Throw-up on the paper or the screen”.  In other words, just start typing or writing now that you have laid out a timeline of the events surrounding your theme.  It’s much easier to “tweak” your writing once you have something written out.
  • Read through what you’ve written.  Have you made it personal by writing “I” and “we”?  You want to when you are sharing your story.  Have you used all your senses to describe events you wrote about?  Sights, sounds, smells, and the feelings they generated within you.  Have you identified who, what, where, when, why and how?  Be sure to keep privacy for doctors and others by either saying Dr. S or using alias names if you haven’t asked their permission to write about them.
  • Have another person read and make grammatical corrections and other suggestions for helping to expand or condense your story.
  • Make sure the first paragraph and the last paragraph engage the emotions of the reader, and also point to the theme of your story. 
  •   Ex.  Our daughter’s rare disease diagnosis came on the third day of her life.  We had all of our dreams and securities ripped from our hearts.  Suddenly our lives; rather than filled with plans of visiting friends and family to show off our newborn, became filled with doctors appointments, therapist visits, and a scramble to obtain additional insurance to cover our new medical costs.
  •   Ex.  While we are 10 years into our journey, we still wrestle with fears of the unknown future for our daughter and her rare disease.  We rely on researchers and lawmakers to take notice of the rare disease community to grant us more security here on earth and to help point us toward and brighter tomorrow.
  • Share your story!!!  There are a number of ways to do it, but first visit and click on the “write your story” icon…you can copy and paste your story and share it with the world.  Post your story on Facebook in your Notes section.  Send your story to your state and national leaders-e-mailing them is easy off of your government’s website.  Be sure you use #raredisease #rarediseaseday and #NORD if you are sharing your story on social media.

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