2016 Wins and Successes

I thought about doing a 2016 recap, and I originally decided not to because 2016 was, well, pretty awful for me. But then I decided that, because it was such a rotten year, this is the perfect reason why I should talk about all the good things that happened. Because it wasn’t all bad, and I’d rather focus on the good bits than the bad.

The great things I did in 2016

School: I am now 2 semesters away from finishing my MA! Due to my health, I’m taking an extra semester to finish, but I’m now 3/5 of the way through. Plus, with everything going on with my health in 2016, I still managed to do okay. I wasn’t thrilled with my grades after the spring semester, but considering I had multiple ER trips that semester, it wasn’t bad (I’m just a perfectionist). And I’m REALLY happy with my grades this semester! So that was a wonderful moment this month.

Health: I survived this year! 2016 was one of the worst years of my health ever. 4 ER trips, 7 abdominal pain episodes, 6 months of not being on a working arthritis treatment … it was an awful, awful year. But I got through to the other side, I’m back on Rituxan infusions, and 2017 is a new year. I love that there are 365 days of possible good days in the year ahead.

Writing: I got a lot of TLM written this year, which makes me happy. I hope to crank out as much of it as possible over the next few weeks before the new semester, and maybe 2017 will be the year I finally finish the first draft and start editing. Regardless, though, it is a wonderful feeling to move forward with your book idea. I have a couple new ideas hanging out in my head right now (or, rather, a couple new characters who are begging to have their stories told), so I hope that I can move on to outlining them in the new year.

Blogging: While my traffic didn’t grow significantly over the year, it did grow consistently. Plus, I bounced back from the damage done by not having nofollow links, which was a major win. I think that, more than anything, I’m glad that I have this creative outlet. It’s something that gets me writing 3+ days a week, and it’s an outlet during the school year when I don’t have time to do my fiction writing.

Advocating in Washington, D. C.

Advocacy: In 2016, I used my platform to advocate for other chronic pain patients, and I also had the opportunity to advocate in person through attending the Arthritis Foundation Advocacy Summit in D.C. This is another great thing about blogging; I have been able to positively change other patients’ lives by using my platform to advocate for them. I’ve heard from readers who have thanked me for writing posts because the post spoke for an issue they faced and I’ve heard from readers who didn’t get the chronic pain patient position on a specific issue until they read the post. Plus, my perspective has made a contributor to the Huffington Post, among other things.

What’s ahead in 2017? I can share some hopes, but resolutions have never been my thing. I hope that I finish my MA strong. I hope that my health remains manageable, if not that it gets better. I hope that I finish TLM and start editing it. I hope that my mental health remains good.

What was a major win for you in 2016?

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