I Think My Story Can Help People. Please Read!Hi Everyone
This post is for anyone who thinks that disease can only make your life worse. I want you to know that the good days are not all behind you. I was diagnosed with Psoriatic Arthritis in March 2010, twelve months after the first symptoms appeared. I was 36, happily married, employed, and the father of three children aged under 10. My diagnosis came so late that I had lost the ability to walk before a rheumatologist noticed the psoriasis in my scalp and made the connection.
After a year of methotrexate and other stomach-churning delights, I qualified for the biological drug infliximab. I've improved to the point that I can walk with a single crutch, can drive once or twice a week, and can sit up in a chair for about one hour at a time. My rheumatologist advises I may get a little better over time, but I am now on the strongest drugs and only time will tell. My employer had no real option but to replace me, so I found myself at home, unemployable, mostly unable to leave my house, and feeling like I had been unfairly robbed of my body and identity. A pretty big cloud was hanging over me, but I couldn't see my silver lining.
I began writing fiction again as a distraction. I started with a thriller. I'd always enjoyed writing short stories, and I could write lying down on my side (minimal stress on my damaged joints). My old work friends visited me monthly for two years. They encouraged me to have my book professionally edited, proof-read, given a proper cover and then sold on Amazon as an eBook. I was uncertain, but they assured me that lots of people were reading books on Kindles and iPads and iPhones and all kinds of devices.
Well, I did. I had nothing to lose. And to my amazement the books started selling. I have received a paycheck (small, but a start) from Amazon every month since I started selling online.
I am now a published novelist. More importantly, however, I've found a network of people who read my book and left comments. At the time of this writing, forty-six people had taken the time to post me a message online saying they enjoyed the book and wanted more. Here’s the proof – http://tiny.cc/ibuucw
I look on this as a new chance. A new career path. FINALLY - something that I can do. Something the disease can't stop. In fact, it was the disease that gave me the time to explore this dream. When family and friends ask me, 'How are you now, Shane?', I don't talk about my illness anymore, I talk about my writing. My silver lining is quickly turning into my new identity. I'm looking forward to the future again now. I think that some of my best days are ahead of me.
If this has helped anyone at all, let me know. I'd like to think I gave someone some encouragement.