Well, we’ve (almost) made it through the year! The new year and decade are coming this week. But before I look ahead at 2020, I want to look back at 2019. It was a roller coaster of a year including travel, a death in the family, a lot of tears, and a lot of laughs. In this post, I’m going to not only look at what happened in my personal life in 2019, but also at the most popular posts of the year and why I think they were so popular.
2019: Personal Life
January: Recovering from The Fiasco – I spent most of 2019 recovering from The Fiasco, but January was the hardest part. I did a lot of PT and OT to regain my abdominal strength (abdominal surgery of any kind is no joke!) and I still had my abdominal drain and PICC line in for half of January. I mean, when January started, I was still sleeping in my den instead of my bedroom because I couldn’t do stairs. In the second or third week of the month, I started working again. It took a long time to work my way back up to 26 hours a week, but I started, slowly but surely.
February: Continued recovery, returned to working in my office, and nominated for Most Inspiring InfluenceHer of the Year in the InfluenceHer Collective Awards – My recovery continued in February, and I was cleared to work in my office again half-way through the month. While I had the PICC line and abdominal drain, I really couldn’t go to populated places other than MGH, where I wore my Vogmask. Once the PICC line came out, I was still on oral antibiotics and anti-fungals, so I was still required to work at home for a few weeks. When the intensity of the oral medications was lowered, I could go back to the office, and I did! On the blogging front, I was nominated for the Most Inspiring InfluenceHer of the Year awards, which meant so so so much to me.
March: Finished antibiotics for The Fiasco, went to Nashville for a friend’s wedding, and my grandpa died – March was a roller coaster! I finished my antibiotics in the first week of March, which was incredibly exciting considering I had been on them for 2.5 months. That first weekend, I went to Nashville for my college roommate’s wedding. I went to undergrad in Nashville and lived there for a year after I graduated, so it will always feel like home for me. But I didn’t have much time at home after that before my grandpa took a turn for the worse. The last few years of his life, he had vascular dementia, which means that he had several large strokes and an innumerable amount of small ones, which caused dementia. He was very ill especially in the months before his death, so his death was not a surprise, but obviously it also wasn’t a happy occasion. I spent several weeks in Maine before and after his death to be with family and help my mom.
April: HealtheVoices 2019, Easter in Maine, and met my Congresswoman, Ayanna Pressley – April was another busy month! I got to go to Dallas, Texas, for 2019’s HealtheVoices conference, which is always a great time. Then I spent Easter in Maine, which was only a few weeks after my grandpa’s death. Finally, I got to meet my congresswoman, Ayanna Pressley. That was extremely cool!
May: Finally fired my rheumatology team and started my POTS exercise protocol – One problem I dealt with as a result of The Fiasco is that my new rheumatologists didn’t want me to go back on the medications that make me a relatively functioning human. After several months of being condescended to, I finally fired them and became a patient again of my old rheumatologist, who had moved. I’m never leaving him again! That was also the month that I started my POTS exercise protocol after living with POTS for several years. The problem with rare diseases is that there generally aren’t many treatments for them, and that’s the case with POTS..
June: My birthday – This birthday meant a lot to me because I almost didn’t see it. This was the only “big thing” that happened during June, and after everything else that happened before it, I was more than happy about that!
July: Lots of time in Maine – July was another semi-calm month! I spent most of the month in Maine, including the week of the 4th, during which my sister came up from NYC.
August: Family reunion and spent time in my hometown – After 2 calm months, August picked things up again. The annual Mitchell family reunion is always the first Saturday in August, and it was a blast! Then, a few weeks later, I went to visit friends who were staying in my hometown. While I spend a lot of time in Maine, it’s usually in the Maine woods and not my hometown outside of Portland. In fact, other than driving through it, I hadn’t been to my hometown since my parents moved in 2012. It was great to go back!
September: Went to Ireland and went back on my infusion – The first week of September was spent in Ireland with family and friends! It was the first family vacation we had been on (other than time in Maine) since 2012, and it was in the country that means the most to my family. We had a great time! The month ended with finally going back on my Rituxan infusion. I nearly cried with joy!
October: Went to a benefit for Brigham and Women’s NICU and went to Nashville for a friend’s wedding – October felt especially busy. At the beginning of the month, my family went to a benefit for Brigham and Women’s NICU, an event organized by family friends. My sister babysat for their twins for years, and they spent time in the NICU when they were born. It was also a great excuse to dress up! The month ended with another trip to Nashville for another friend’s wedding.
November: Thanksgiving in NYC – The biggest thing that happened in November is that we spent Thanksgiving in NYC. Now, we didn’t do the stereotypical Thanksgiving-in-NYC activities. We spent it in Brooklyn, didn’t go to the parade, didn’t even eat a traditional Thanksgiving meal, you get it. My sister lives in NYC and it was just easier for us and our friends to meet there.
December: Spent a week in Maine for Christmas – Compared to last December, this one has been extremely calm! The biggest thing is that we spent last week in Maine. Christmas Eve was for my dad’s family, we did Christmas Day at our house with my grandma, and on Friday, we did Christmas with my mom’s family. It was great!
2019: Most Popular Blog Posts
These posts are not the most popular ones published in 2019, but the ones overall that my readers liked the most. This means that there are some published even as far back as 2016! It’s also a great example of how many bloggers get their traffic from posts published over time. There are plenty that weren’t this popular when I first published them, but that have had a long-lasting impact on my traffic.
10 Things I Wish I Knew When I Received My Rheumatoid Arthritis Diagnosis – This post was published in February 2018, but it really took off in 2019. Month after month, it has been one of the most popular posts, if not the most popular.
My Biggest Fear Realized – This post explains The Fiasco, and I think it is so popular because, as the title sort of explains, it’s something that many immunocompromised patients are afraid of. Read at your own risk!
POTS and Heat Intolerance – The thing about rare diseases like POTS is that there isn’t nearly as much information out there as there is for more common illnesses, which leads people to blogs like mine. I wrote this at the end of summer 2018 and it made the rounds for most of summer 2019.
What Does Endometriosis Feel Like? – This is another post that was published in 2018 that took off in 2019. In this post, I explain, well, what endometriosis can feel like. Many doctors unfortunately dismiss endometriosis pain as just “bad” period pain … even though that is the most common endometriosis symptom. By explaining this and other endometriosis symptoms, I hoped when writing this that it would empower patients to bring up their symptoms with their doctor(s).
Loving Someone with Chronic Pain – I wrote this post in January 2016, and it has been a consistent popular post ever since then.
Chronically Ill Tips: What To Do When a Doctor Isn’t Listening to You – This post was partially written to air my frustrations after yet another medical team dismissed my symptoms. Unfortunately, this is not an uncommon experience, so it really resonated with my readers.
Accepting Your Body with Chronic Illness – I wrote this post because I wanted to encourage chronic pain patients to love themselves now and not wait until they were “better.” You deserve to love yourself now! I also wrote it because you can’t make the changes you need to make if you don’t accept that you’re living with a chronic illness. It has been a popular post ever since it went up in 2016!
Fun Things To Do in Boston: A 3-Day Guide – I honestly have no idea why this post is so much more popular than my other Boston posts! I have written more than 10 over the years, but this one has been the most popular one since I published it in 2018.
Beginner’s Guide: Seronegative Rheumatoid Arthritis – I think this post stands out from most of my RA posts because it’s about seronegative RA. “Seronegative” just means that you test negative to inflammation blood tests, and it makes up a small population of RA patients. I’m one of them! It’s a weird condition because I have inflammation in multiple joints, which we know from imaging, but I test negative. Since not as many patients are seronegative, there aren’t as many resources out there as there are for seropositive patients.
Most Popular Books of the 21st Century – Honestly, it makes me sad that my book posts aren’t super popular because I love writing them! But I am happy to see one make this top-10 list. It’s pretty much what it sounds like: a list of the most popular books published in the 21st century. You know that several Harry Potter books make that list!
What did 2019 look like for you?
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