social connections

Courtship with a chronic condition: How “20 Questions” led to a 20+ year relationship

What’s it like dating and starting a relationship when one of you has a chronic condition? Just ask our blog partners Karl and Angela Robb, who’ve been together for 22 years and married for 21 years. Karl has been living with young-onset Parkinson’s disease (PD) for more than 30 years. He and Angela are the couple behind the PD blog, “A Soft Voice in a Noisy World: Dealing and Healing with Parkinson’s Disease,” and authors of two books. Here’s their take on dating and relationships. From Karl’s perspective… Imagine dating in the early dawn of the internet along with a diagnosis of a neurological disorder. As if I didn’t have enough obstacles in my life, now I had to explain to my dates that I had early-onset Parkinson’s disease. Now, I came with a “warning label.” The challenges of dating, connecting, and finding someone who could look beyond my illness would take a miracle — or so I thought. Admittedly, in my late 20s and showing signs of Parkinson’s disease (mild shaking, involuntary movement, stiffness, gait issues, and mild speech impairment), I didn’t see myself as a gem, but I still felt that I could be a loving and compatible mate. I knew that finding …

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“It just makes sense to give back”: How PatientsLikeMe employees volunteered their time this year

Volunteering is a big part of the culture at PatientsLikeMe. Inspired by PatientsLikeMe members, who have made our online community a place to find support and answers about health, we do our best to give something back to our local community, too. This year, many of our staff members pitched in and gave their time to organizations all over the greater Boston area. Here’s what we’ve been up to this year… 50 PLMers (that’s what we like to call ourselves) volunteered during PatientsLikeMe’s service month in November Those individuals volunteered a total of 260 hours …and supported 18 different organizations in the greater Boston area Check out some of the places we volunteered our time this year, and see these PLMers in action… PatientsLikeMe staff members volunteer at Rosie’s Rosie’s Place Rosie’s Place is a women’s shelter in Boston that was created to service poor and homeless women. They not only provide shelter, but also support 12,000 women a year with a wide range of services including housing and education. Tori, Katie, Kim and Rebecca volunteer at Community Servings Community Servings is a not-for-profit food and nutrition program whose mission is to provide services throughout Massachusetts to individuals and families living with critical and chronic illnesses. …

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75k [virtual] hugs on PatientsLikeMe – and how social connections are good for your health

Newsflash: “Social Interaction Is Critical for Mental and Physical Health,” as The New York Times recently reported. Decades of research support the theory that social connections can have a positive effect on your health. Having social ties may help prevent illness and is still a boon to your health when you’re sick or living with a health condition. Check out some of the research and see how members are supporting each other socially on PatientsLikeMe. What’s the science behind social connections? As the Times reports, a 2001 study found that people with coronary artery disease who’ve had a heart attack have a lower risk of another cardiac arrest if they’re more socially connected. Other studies have shown that social interactions and support may help with everything from wound healing and physical pain to mood and psychological symptoms. Researchers who’ve studied the benefits of social interactions for women with breast cancer have found that receiving social-emotional support may reduce stress and affect the body’s “HPA” axis (or hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis – that’s a mouthful). Basically, the HPA axis uses glands, hormones and nerves to help regulate several processes in the body: stress response, immune and digestive systems, mood and emotions, sexuality and …

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