Helping others find their new center post-diagnosis: Meet @pmm
TERESA: What brought you to Mayo Clinic Connect?
@pmm: As a former medical and psychiatric social worker, I have always been interested in people’s life stories. I always learn from them. So when I was diagnosed with MGUS (monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance) I first read what Dr. Google had to say about it (Dr Google is a glass half-empty guy). This just increased my anxiety. In the information I read, I eventually found Mayo Clinic Connect. The posts are both clinically relevant, but full of that human contact that I found both reassuring and relatable.
TERESA: What motivates you to take part in the community?
@pmm: I’m about three years out from my original diagnosis. I am not an expert on MGUS by any means, but I finally feel as though I have found my “sea legs.” I live my life in hope and not fear. I hope to help others find their new “center,” post-diagnosis. I receive much more from fellow travelers on this road than I give.
TERESA: What about Mayo Clinic Connect makes you feel comfortable to share and to be open with the community?
@pmm: Connect is moderated, unlike some of the other discussion forums I have read. Connect members are encouraged to share information that is from trusted health websites and evidenced-based. The other plus is that people are kind and genuinely interested in the wellbeing of others. There are wise, sage mentors who are fellow travelers and have knowledge and experience to share.
TERESA: What groups do you participate in?
@pmm: I participate in the Blood Cancers & Disorders support group. MGUS is not cancer, but it can morph into cancer. I don’t let it define me, but I am aware that things could change. I try to maintain a balance between being educated and aware and not letting anxiety control me.
TERESA: Tell us about a meaningful moment on Mayo Clinic Connect.
@pmm: Anytime someone posts about being newly diagnosed with MGUS, it helps me to remember what that was like for me. It’s a scary, anxiety-laden time. It also makes me appreciative of the support I have received through Mayo Clinic Connect. I have learned so much from other members and the information provided by Mayo Clinic.
TERESA: What energizes you, or how do you find balance in your life?
@pmm: I’ve been retired for almost two years now. I worked until 70 because I loved my work. I had a rewarding, but stressful job as a medical social worker in a large pediatric hospital. I supervised other social workers across the hospital including the evening and overnight staff in the emergency department. I had to learn to unwind on my days off, relax, practice self care and accept that I couldn’t bring home the stress about suicidal teens, child abuse and dying children.
So…I still worry about them.
It’s hard to let go of worry and concentrate on the stuff that you CAN do something about, but I’m working on it. I garden, keep up with my friends and former colleagues, and I travel. I also have the best ever husband. Really…he’s a keeper.
TERESA: Do you have a favorite quote, life motto or personal mantra?
@pmm: ”One who gains strength by overcoming obstacles possesses the only strength which can overcome adversity.” Albert Schweitzer
TERESA: Puppies or kittens?
@pmm: Neither. I’ve raised 6 children and am working on helping raise 13 grandchildren and two great grandchildren. Give me a grown up dog that is housebroken!
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