Sunday, September 27, 2009

We're Doing Great Things! The Power of Online Communities and Support Groups

Robin, thanks for sharing this - I'm so impressed by what you wrote and by what the people on the message boards banded together and did for a fellow Cushie. A stark contrast to what someone recently said - we were "only an internet forum".

I was so amazed at how our community was able to mobilize and get something done.

Thanks again for posting this, Robin!

 

Robin (staticnrg) writes in her blog, survive the journey...

The Power of Online Communities and Support Groups

I witnessed a miracle today. I can't even tell you much about it because it isn't my information to share without permission from the parties involved. I can tell you it is something that would never have happened without the loving, caring, EMPOWERED support of an online community on the Cushing's Help message boards.

You see, people got involved. Real people. People who know the illness, who know the doctors, who know where to turn for help. These folks are empowered on their own, but man, when they come together and work together, miracles are wrought. There is no way a doctor-centered site can give the information and resources the Cushing's community gives. It's simply impossible to do that for everything about which any one site tries to give information.

The body of knowledge that our support group has and shares with each other is so abundant with not one, not ten, but hundreds (maybe thousands) of caring, knowledgeable folks who read and share research, share what the good doctors have told them, and share who these good doctors are, we together know the symptoms/signs of every facet of these incredibly complex endocrine disease even better than the doctors do (with the exception of a very few).

We know the new trials, the new research, the new methods before most doctors. We know what has worked and what hasn't. We know the side effects, the bad that goes with the good in treatment, and what the options are. We know that if we need to know something, we can post it and someone will know someone who knows. In other words, there is no way one site CAN do what any of the wonderful communities like the Cushing's Help site do. Never. I can't put it all on my blog, no matter how hard I try. But if 100's of us (1000's, actually, of us) post on one site, we CAN be effective. It's the nature of what works. That's the model which works.

I hope I can tell you about this miracle someday soon. I want you to be as blessed as I am with it. This is the hope for the future of empowered e-patients--not doctor-driven, encyclopedic sites, but community-centered, real-patient sites.

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