I love to feature other blogging moms on my site, and below is Nicole’s story of survival and triumph. Blogging is a way to connect with others, share advice and grow. Today’s technology makes it possible to help thousands of people instantly, and that’s what Nicole did! I’m so happy to share her beautiful story below.
I am so excited that my very first guest post is on such a fun and helpful blog! I’m a huge fan of Start a Mom Blog and glad that I can share my perspective and blogging journey with Suzi’s amazing audience.
With this post I’d like to share how my small blog, The Professional Mom Project, has been able to reach around the world to build community for those who might not otherwise have the opportunity to connect with people in similar circumstances.
The Little Blog that Could
I always thought about writing and starting a blog, but once our small family was faced with these huge challenges, it became even more important for me to build awareness, create a community and work to bring people who have faced similar challenges together.
I’m so grateful that blogging has given me the opportunity to connect with people from all over the world and in so many different ways. Not only am I able to help others, which is a wonderful thing, but I find that through blogging I’m always learning something new and gaining fresh skills. I also find blogging so therapeutic since I get to write, create and constantly come up with new ideas.
Our wonderful son was born in 2011. When he was a few months old we noticed a strange bump on his lower back and decided to investigate what it could be. After several months of tests and interventions, our son was diagnosed with tethered spinal cord syndrome.
As with most people diagnosed with TSCS, doctors advised us that the bottom of R’s spinal cord doesn’t hang free like ours. Instead, it is attached to a fatty bump on his back.
TSCS is a neurological birth defect that can potentially impact many aspects of a person’s life from mobility to incontinence.
My husband and I were very emotional when the doctor gave us this information. Hearing this diagnosis, I was worried that R wouldn’t walk, run and play like other children. I was also concerned that I had done something to cause this.
TSCS isn’t a very common diagnosis and there aren’t many resources out there on the topic.
When I googled TSCS back in 2011, some very frightening information popped up. Everything was very clinical, primarily from hospitals and medical schools. Most of the information was from American hospitals (we’re Canadian), where the most common way of treating TSCS is spinal cord surgery. There were very few, if any, posts from real families and real people with TSCS.
Our son continues to be monitored, but thank goodness, TSCS has had no impact on his life. He is bright, curious, active and athletic. We are very grateful to say that our story is a positive one.
Why I Started My Blog
When I started The Professional Mom Project back in December 2015, part of my goal was to provide a helpful and inspiring perspective on tethered spinal cord syndrome and in a small way I think it has.
Through the blog, and sharing our story via social media, our son’s story has reached people from across North America and Europe. Mothers and fathers have commented on the blog that they feel a sense of relief reading our story and learning that everything with their child might be okay too.
I’ve made connections on Facebook and become friends with mothers in need of support from someone who has “been there, done that”. Teenagers with TSCS have found the blog through Pinterest and Twitter and have reached out to post their stories as well.
Now when someone does a Google search for tethered spinal cord syndrome, our son’s story is included with the medical journals, hospital websites and medical information websites and can act as a positive, real life story of TSCS.
My Story – Thyroid Cancer
In January 2014 I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. I had a complete thyroidectomy and radioactive iodine treatment shortly thereafter. More than three years later, I’m still not in remission.
After my diagnosis, I joined a number of Facebook groups for people with thyroid cancer. I found these groups terribly depressing and negative. I needed a space where I could find positivity and optimism, especially in the face of a cancer diagnosis. In addition to searching for positivity, I was also looking for practical answers on how to handle some of the experiences that those of us with thyroid cancer have to confront.
When you’re on the low iodine diet, you can’t eat any salt, dairy, soy and egg yolk. Because of the restriction on salt, all prepared food is off limits. As a result, I was making everything on my own including baking my own bread and crackers and blending my own almond milk etc. I had to do much of this without many of the ingredients that are usually used in the recipes.
There are a few excellent patient advocacy organizations out there that focus on thyroid cancer, but since thyroid cancer isn’t a high profile cancer, the resources are somewhat limited.
When I started the blog in 2015, I had just completed radiation and really wanted to try and put a positive spin on this challenge and share my story with others. I wanted to be a helpful resource for individuals diagnosed with thyroid cancer.
Low Iodine Diet Meal Ideas
I decided to post recipes and meal ideas that fit within the low iodine diet guidelines and provide modifications to other recipes. I’ve shared these posts across social media and my 5 Awesome Low Iodine Diet Dinner Ideas post constantly brings traffic to my blog from Pinterest. I’m happy to know that this post is helping others looking for information on the topic.
On the blog I share my battle with cancer from being diagnosed, to continuing to live with thyroid cancer. It’s not always positive, but I’m here, I’m telling my story and it is resonating with others in similar situations.
Yes, it is tiring to blog, work full time, be a mom and wife and battle cancer at the same time but I do what I need to do. For me, sharing my story and supporting other people through difficult times is important. Even if I only touch one person in a positive way, I’m doing what I’m supposed to do. I’m lucky and happy to have the opportunity to share these stories and have people read them.
I believe that we all have a story to share and we are all stronger than we think.
If your story can encourage others and help build communities then you should get on the blogging bandwagon and share your story with the world.
Nicole is a mom, wife, former litigation lawyer and thyroid cancer thriver. Nicole works full time at Canada’s largest law school creating and delivering professional development programs for law students. In her free time, she is a passionate blogger at The Professional Mom Project where she writes about parenting, health, travel, easy meal ideas and blogging tips. You can connect with her on Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook and Instagram.