I started this blog in May in 2009, and really wished I could go to the July ’09 annual BlogHer conference in Chicago. But I couldn’t because I was too sick.
Now the annual conference is here once again, in New York City of all places, and this Jersey girl still can’t go. I wouldn’t have even needed money for airplane flight this time around.
My wonderful husband gamely volunteered to take me to the conference, saying that he would wheel me around to whatever panels and discussions there were, to whomever speakers I wanted to see. But it’s not just the lack of mobility that made me tell him thanks so much but no thanks. It’s the pain, the tiredness, and the complete lack of energy that I have. Even with sitting in a wheelchair all day I would still be exhausted. Getting dressed professionally or even decently and putting on make-up and doing my hair are beyond my capabilities. I can’t make it through the day without a nap. I can’t function before 9:30 a.m. and even that’s a stretch.
Besides all of that, even though Grant wanted me to spend the money on the conference, we plainly just don’t have it. When you haven’t worked in over two years and have spent almost a year in the disability process already, you go through any money you have saved, fast.
I’m not writing this for you to say “Oh, poor, Emily”, or maybe you are saying “She’s writing like she is the only one who is too sick to go to BlogHer”! I’m writing this for people like Christine Miserandino, otherwise known as “The Spoon Lady”.
For those of you who don’t know her, Christine’s blog, But You Don’t Look Sick, and her message boards are literally a lifeline for those who are chronically ill, diagnosed or undiagnosed, and whom just like her blog says, don’t look sick. The people who experience the dirty looks when they use the handicapped parking spaces or the skepticism and/or denial from their family and friends. She has been blogging on BYDLS for seven years and is an inspiration to me and to thousands of others.
Christine has Lupus too and is also too sick and too poor to go to BlogHer. She lives on Long Island, NY and wouldn’t have needed the plane fare either. Last year, when we heard that BlogHer would be in New York in 2010 she said, “We’ll go together!”, and yet here we are.
Unlike me, which is the thing that really breaks my heart for Christine, she was a finalist in the 2010 BlogHer Voices of the year.
Recently I have made a new friend, Selena, of Oh My Aches and Pains! thanks to Twitter and to But You Don’t Look Sick. Selena is a cancer survivor, has dysautonomia, fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue, among other goodies. She has been chronically ill for over 20 years and she too is home this weekend.
I’m not going to speak for Christine, Selena or for anyone else like us, but after having serious and worsening illnesses since I was a teenager, I’m wondering if I will ever be able to go to BlogHer. I’m wondering if I will ever be able to network and meet with the friends I have made through blogging, or if I will ever have the opportunity to take my blog to greater heights through conferences like BlogHer.
While looking at Selena’s blog I ran across an anonymous quote: “Inside every sick person is a well person wondering what the Hell happened”. And I ask all of you who are at the conference this weekend to count your blessings that you are able to be there, and to think about all of those who cannot.