Finding open, honest conversations with others: Meet @2011panc
Member Spotlights feature interviews with fellow Connect members. Learn more about members you’ve connected with and some you haven’t met yet. Nominate a member you think should share the spotlight.
ROSEMARY: What brought you to Mayo Clinic Connect?
@2011panc: I found Mayo Clinic Connect several years after my pancreas transplant in 2011. I had been looking for input from other transplant patients and was having a hard time finding people willing to talk about their experiences.
Someone referred me to an elementary teacher in our town, and we agreed to meet for coffee. That was not a good experience for me. When I arrived, she was sitting at a table with a group of her friends. After realizing who I was, she joined me at a private table and said, "So what do you want to ask me?"
I was put off by her attitude and because I did not know what to ask. I was trying to gather information about what to expect as a potential transplant patient. How would I know what questions to ask?
My Mayo Clinic patient coordinator had offered to put me in contact with transplant patients willing to visit with other transplant patients, but that appeared to be a difficult and time-consuming process. When I was finally told about Connect, I was very happy to finally get open and honest answers, as well as offer answers and experiences to other transplant patients.
ROSEMARY: What motivates you to take part in the community?
@2011panc: Several things motivate me to continue in the Connect community:
- I had only medical personnel to talk to about my transplant, and I wanted to hear about personal experiences. That was my initial motivation and keeps me coming back for the new transplant patients. I do not want anyone else to feel as alone and lost as I did.
- I appreciate the number of discussion groups available on topics other than transplant. Knowing that I can look for a discussion group on any issues that come up for me or start a new discussion with my own question is comforting to me. I have multiple medical issues, so having one place to go for information on multiple topics makes my life much easier. I have only one password and username to remember.
- I have gotten to know several members on Connect I relate to, and I enjoy their perspectives.
ROSEMARY: What about Connect makes you feel comfortable to share and to be open with the community?
@2011panc: I feel comfortable sharing deeply personal information with the Connect community because I am able to stay anonymous at the level I desire. People can get to know me, my attitudes, my opinions and my perspectives without knowing my personal contact information, and I prefer it that way for now.
ROSEMARY: What groups do you participate in?
@2011panc: I have participated in the following discussion groups:
- Brain & Nervous System
- Bones, Joints & Muscles
- Chronic Pain
- Depression & Anxiety
- Digestive Health
- Healthy Living
- Just Want to Talk
- Loss & Grief
- Intensive Care (ICU)
- Kidney & Bladder
- Smoking & Quitting
- Spine Health
- Women's Health
I do not follow all of them all the time, but I check in from time to time to see if there is something new that may pertain to me.
ROSEMARY: Tell us about a meaningful moment on Connect.
@2011panc: The most meaningful moments on Connect are when someone appreciates something I have shared. No matter how big or small, I love knowing I was a part of making a moment in someone's life better. I am not good about remembering specifics of who or what topics, but I am rewarded by just knowing that someone read and liked what I had to say.
ROSEMARY: What surprised you the most about Connect?
@2011panc: I am surprised at how "busy" and technically savvy Connect has gotten in such a short time. When I first found it there were very few people and no one with my particular issues. It is great to see it grow and become so helpful to so many people.
ROSEMARY: What energizes you, or how do you find balance in your life?
@2011panc: I am energized by positive people who always look for the best outcomes.
I find balance in my life by taking each day as it comes. Some days are wonderful, busy and full of accomplishments. Other days are difficult, lonely and filled with darkness. Each particular day requires me to live in the present and deal with what is in front of me. Acceptance is the key to my balance. When I am having a bad day, I expect fewer accomplishments from myself.
ROSEMARY: Tell us about your favorite pastime or activity.
@2011panc: I have a multitude of pastimes and activities I enjoy. My favorite sports are Olympic gymnastics, baseball and tennis. I also love crafting. I sew for utility and decoration, by hand and with a machine. I once sewed a sail for a boat. I can knit and crochet. I have done beadwork, painting, origami, Christmas decorations, posters and almost anything that came around. Right now I am doing more embroidery and cross-stitch.
I also like scenic drives through the countryside and going places, almost any place. I like half-hour sitcoms, movies and reading. I have a strong faith and enjoy my time in meditation and Bible study. I do quite a lot of online research now that I have a home computer; it has replaced reading the dictionary. I love doing crosswords, solitaire card games and trivia quizzes.
I like cooking from scratch, using ingredients from nature. I have discovered that I really enjoy knife work. Cleaning and cutting vegetables, herbs and meat before combining them into flavorful meals is quite fulfilling for me.
As you can see, I have plenty to hold my interest, and it is easy for me to spend my days at home in comfort doing something I enjoy. I pray this peaceful attitude and environment for everyone.
ROSEMARY: What food can you simply not resist?
@2011panc: I simply cannot resist ice cream, strawberries and watermelon. I know I should moderate my food better than I do, but if it is available, I will eat it.
ROSEMARY: If Hollywood made a movie about your life, whom would you like to see cast as you?
@2011panc: What a funny proposition! I think the best actresses to play me in a movie would be Betty Davis or Angelina Jolie. They play tough, handle-anything type women with deep feelings, loyalty and competent caregiving. That is how I feel and would like to be remembered.
ROSEMARY: What do you love about where you live or vacation?
@2011panc: I absolutely love our house and have loved it since the moment we first toured it. We have multiple bedrooms that have been converted into a craft room, office and exercise room. I love that we have enough room that we do not feel crowded, and everyone has their own personal space. We have a wonderfully large family room with large picture windows where I can watch the activities and scenery in our back yard filled with my favorite plants and a feeder that attracts a variety of birds.
ROSEMARY: Puppies or kittens?
@2011panc: I am a cat person. My mother says I cannot walk past a cat without picking it up.
I remember bringing a kitten into my parents' house when I was visiting and letting it sit on the floor next to my feet. All was fine until it wandered off through the living room where Father caught sight of it. I was amused watching him trying to corral that tiny kitten. I had forgotten about his "no animals in the house" rule. I gathered up the kitten and put it out, and Father relaxed with his baseball game.
Over the years we have had a number of cats, and I am working on a cross-stitch afghan to memorialize them: Streak, Tip, Al, Smokey, Fritz, Jack and Heather. Most of our cats were males and black or mostly black, with the exception of Smokey who had long white and gray hair, Tip who was Siamese, and Heather who is gray and our first girl. So, you might say we run a cat house!