Notes on October: Tough Stuff Month

When it comes to enjoyable topics – we’ve run the gamut this month. With Inspiration Month – we have really tried to highlight what makes Health Activists tick – all leading up to the announcement of our 2012 WEGO Health Activist Awards. Now that those are launched and will continue going strong until the deadline of December, 31st — we can look at other, more intense topics.


Health Activism, like life, isn’t all sunshine and celebration. Being a patient, caregiver, healthcare professional – or person – isn’t easy. We don’t have to list all of the challenges, struggles, and painful experiences that make life hard. You know what they are. And we hope that we can delve into these topics this month.


If we’ve learned anything from Health Activists – it is that it is through darkness, hardship, pain, and hurt – strength and the power of the human spirit is most radiant. Without the “tough stuff,” the sweet, amazing, wonderful stuff wouldn’t be quite as triumphant. Without the stories of overcoming challenges and perserving – we wouldn’t have this “hope” that so many of us need to keep going. For the most part, Health Activists are absolutely fearless – and, even when they aren’t, they are honest. They call out that fear and address it in whatever way they can. This process helps us all feel less alone and less isolated in fear – and brings us a little closer to feeling better.


So, on to October. We’ve named our Editorial theme: Tough Stuff Month – because there is really no better way to categorize all of the topics we are looking at. In true facilitator-of-conversation-fashion, I’m planning on letting you dictate where we go this month. What are the toughest topics, to you and your community members?


With the help of the WEGO Health team, we’ve collected topics that we think Tough Stuff Month will encompass – but you always surprise us. And since we’re here for you – we want you to take this month where you want to go with it. What topics are the most challenging you’ve face in your community, your healthcare journey, and in your life?


Because we love encouraging the writers in all of you (and giving you ideas to help you out), we’ve created a collection of topics to write about. All of which are “tough.” Most of them are really serious, painful, and intense. But maybe that’s why you should write about them. We’ve labeled this collection of blog topics a “Catharsis Carnival” and hope it will serve as a way to gather your thoughts and release them. That why, for the first time, we’re really encouraging anonymity.


We hope you’ll check out all the topics – and consider writing about some of them. We’d like to share excerpts from your submissions throughout October – bringing your strength to others and bringing light to these topics that so often go un-discussed. It is only through talking about these things can we feel less alone – and start to heal.


If you’ve like to write about a topic at length – and have it featured here as a Guest Post – we’d love to have you. Leave a comment here or send an email to with your idea. If you’ve already written about a “tough” topic – and would like to repost it here, we’d also love to be able to share that as well.


We’ll also be kicking off “Tough Stuff Month” with a Health Activist Tweetchat (#HAchat) on Tuesday, October 2nd at 3pm ET: we hope you’ll come brainstorm tough stuff with us and share some moments that really moved you in your journey.


Looking forward to opening up about these tough topics with you. We know that this month will be, in its own visceral way, just as inspirational as “Inspiration Month” – because any time we talk about what’s real, we get to the heart of why we’re all here.




  • I am looking forward to seeing what comes from “Tough Stuff” month. Particular to breast cancer, and ironically this month…the toughest thing for me is to see the celebration of breast cancer – a Party in Pink – on every aisle of every store, in every set of commercials, in the media and on the field. 

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  • My Dad, a retired coach & Phys Ed teacher had PD.  When no Parkinson’s specific exercises were availabable, we developed our own, using his decades of teaching and my background as a fitness leader.  After he passed away, I began writing and using Facebook as a resource to put these moves out to help others in his position.

    My biggest difficulty in advocacy?

    The medical communities’ (principally physicians) dismissal of something not of their own discovery or credit.  One gentleman who regained use of his dominant hand through muscle-balanced exercise, had his neurologist toss the exercises in the trash bin (literally!) saying that it wasn’t from a PT or medically accredited person.

    If it works, it works.  Period.  Doesn’t matter how much it’s studied, the average Jane or Joe just wants some help, something they can try to make their lives easier.

    The ONLY thing that keeps me going is the acceptance and excitement of PD people who try different moves from other non-med advocates or myself and found that it worked for them!  

  • Caroline R

     I find the hardest thing is getting on top of all your current ailments and then being diagnosed with another one which means its another life long journey in itself to learn about and take control of.

  • By far the worst thing is that associations that have your disability name in their title  don’t have any way for patients to get involved in their organization except as pitiable objects used to pull in donations.
    Mine is stroke. 

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  • I just wrote a blog post on struggling with facing the reality of a degenerative illness and only being 30. I feel like i have really struggled with finding that place where you can choose to keep looking for other answers or opinions or you can choose to accept the reality of your condition. It was struggle to put into words but I wanted to share. Here is the link:

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