Happy Birthday, Dreaming Panda

Cake

This week marks the one-year anniversary of my blog. To say it’s been an incredible year doesn’t even begin to describe it. I’ve come such a long way since I first started writing about this difficult journey—and so has this blog…

Last June, I’d hit rockbottom. I was in such bad shape and declining so much that I thought I’d die. Although I was otherwise dysfunctional to the point of not being able to walk, not eating, and not being able to speak coherently, I was able to write. In the countless hours my family spent researching PANDAS/PANS on the internet, they’d never found a blog written by a PANS patient. I thought maybe I could change that. I hoped that maybe by sharing my experiences, I could help someone else going through the same thing. So I started a blog.

I’ve been through so much in the last year of blogging… I finally got an official diagnosis of PANS. I had two IVIGs. I spent almost a year on Prednisone (and am still tapering off). I’ve had more horrific flares. I’ve re-started CBT/ERP therapy for my OCD. And next week, I will have a tonsillectomy and andenoidectomy. But I also ran a half-marathon and completed another year of college. Slowly, I’ve been getting my life back and shedding symptoms so gradually that I often barely notice. But yes, I’m getting better.

As I’ve shared every step of my recovery, I’ve had many amazing responses from you all. Some parents have said that what I’ve written has helped them understand what their child must be going through. Some have shared stories that make me cry—sometimes because of how much the person is struggling, other times because of an astounding recovery. Some parents have said my writing makes them cry because their family is going through the same thing. Some people have said things that helped give me the courage to keep fighting. Plus, I’ve had the opportunity to meet other teens with PANS.

The act of publishing my experiences (albeit anonymously) for the world to see has been of tremendous therapeutic value for myself, too.  Sometimes, writing has been the only thing I could make myself do, but being able to look back and see how far I’ve come has given me hope through the bad times.

The Dreaming Panda has been a humbling and unforgettable experience, especially as I’ve watched it turn into something that means something to people. Needless to say, every comment and private message has meant so much to me, because when I find out that my writing has touched someone or helped even in a small way, it helps me feel like something good can come out of this mess. While I’m never glad to hear that someone else is going through the same terrible things, I’m glad to know that maybe I’ve made just a small difference in someone’s life. So thank you for all of your responses!

As I head into this next year, I intend to keep going with The Dreaming Panda for a long time. Eventually, I plan to expand on this blog and make a book. I may be well on my way to recovery now, but sharing my journey has made me realize that there are thousands of other kids, teens, and even adults with a similar story—and some of them are far sicker than I ever was. Tragically, our illness has yet to be recognized by most doctors, hospitals, and even insurance companies. Our story needs to be told so that someday, it won’t take so many years for many of us to find the proper treatment.

So readers, I just wanted to thank all of you for the support, encouragement, and friendship you have shared with me along the way. I’m hoping that this next year brings complete healing and recovery for all of you and for me. 🙂

P.S. I’m looking for new topics to write about. I’d love to hear some ideas from you. Please share in the comments section!

4 thoughts on “Happy Birthday, Dreaming Panda

  1. A happy, joyous First Blogiversary to you, Dreaming Panda! Wow–what an amazing summary! You’ve helped us see things WE have been going through too–like my daughter’s recovering from things in ways that have been subtle, day-to-day, but really GREAT & BIG when we look BACK over a more significant period…and realizing how much extra OOMPH we all need to have in this, particularly given the status of this illness within the (um?) “medical (um#2?) community.”
    As much as we–at least I!–may lament our timing in this thing–how great too it is to notice–we’ve all come into this WHEN THERE’S AN INTERNET that let’s US DISCOVER and SHARE so very much LIFE-saving & QUALITY-OF-LIFE-saving information! And, of course, this includes getting to read the VERY ENCOURAGING and (yes! even) ENJOYABLE tales and insights of one blessedly wise Dreaming Panda! That’s a couple of truly GREAT VICTORIES along this way!
    Congratulations on making this site happen…for having such great talents…and the generosity and heart that has you sharing them with us here so immediately (prior to publishing your first and all of your subsequent BOOKS!). Congratulations–and THANK YOU! A Very Happy Year ONE with this…just one of the many great milestones for you to track with us here! Applause, Applause! J

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    1. Thanks! I wish none of us had ever come into this battle, but you’re right–at least we live in a time when we can share it through the internet. I’m glad you’ve enjoyed my blog so much. That means a lot to me. 🙂 Best to you and yours over this next year of healing.

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