[captionpix imgsrc=”http://lucindaporterrn.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/www.jpg” captiontext=”Image courtesy of jscreationzs/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net”]Hepatitis C is a social media topic, and my primary communication tool. I have a love-hate feeling about social media. I love the relationship with people, the dialogue, the way I am humbled by those that send me comments or emails. What I don’t like is that moment before I hit the “send” button, wondering if I wrote something that may sound careless or idiotic. Or those moments when I am careless or idiotic and I post because I feel strongly about an issue. I also don’t like the amount of time social media takes in my life, but this is my choice, and a condition I will be changing soon so I can work on my third book (book #2 is just about ready to send to the publisher) .
Despite my mixed feelings about social media, I see it as a tool for health. When we post, we invite feedback. Web-based groups are fabulous resources for those undergoing hepatitis C treatment. When someone asks what to do about a hepatitis C treatment-related rash, people will send tips and support and lots of sympathy. If a newly-diagnosed patient joins a web-based support group, hundreds of virtual hugs and pats on the back appear to help that person along.
Underneath is all, what I value the most is the sense of community I feel. There are moments that my heart is ripped open wide as I witness the courage that hepatitis C patients exhibit every day. Social media can be a lifeline, particularly for those who are isolated either by illness or geography. Most of all, social media reminds us that although we may have hepatitis C, we aren’t alone.
HOWEVER, I pray I never forget that Internet connectivity is a luxury. Many of our fellow hepatitis C brothers and sisters are alone, in poverty, and unable to connect to a medical system let alone to a computer. As I make my goals as to how I want to raise awareness about hepatitis C, I prod myself to remember those who will not be turning on a computer or using a mobile device. Then I give thanks for the luxuries in my life, including my health, my computer, and you.