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Story Tip Sheet

You can help raise awareness of scleroderma or related illnesses and provide support to others by sharing your patient, caregiver, or survivor story.
Attitude Session
Getting Started
Continuing the Story

Attitude Session

The stories that have touched me the most deeply have always been the simple stories, told from the heart of "real" people. Forget everything you ever learned in English class. Few of us are professional writers, but all of us care about you and the story you have to tell.
So assume that we'll all be reading your story through the eyes of love, and simply write as though this was a letter to a dear friend. Your paper won't be graded, and please remember that our most favorite stories are those which are real, not perfect.

Getting Started

Often it is the first sentence which is the hardest, and after that the story starts flowing. So here are some "starter" sentence ideas. But the rule of thumb for writer's block is to just start writing anything at all to start engaging the brain in story-writing.
1. Hello, my name is __________, and I was diagnosed with _________ about _______ weeks/months/years ago. The first symptom I was aware of was ___________.
2. I'll never forget the moment when I was first diagnosed with _______________.
3. I am newly diagnosed with __________, and have so many questions still. I would love to find a pen pal who shares some similar interests. Let me tell you a bit about myself....
4. Life has never been the same since my (wife/spouse/daughter/aunt) was diagnosed with _______________,
5. _____________ is the hardest time of the year for me, because that's when my (spouse, child, daughter, friend) passed away from ___________,

Continuing the Story

Whenever you are stumped, just dive into these questions for an idea of more things to cover. You certainly do not have to answer all these questions in your story; just use these for jump-starting your story if it starts to dwindle before you feel its done to your satisfaction. (Caregivers, please adapt the question ideas as needed.)
Where were you born?
What have you done for a living?
Where do you live now?
What are your hobbies?
What is your main diagnosis? And your other ones?
What was your first symptom or flare like?
What are your symptoms, and how do they affect you on a daily basis?
How long did it take you to get properly diagnosed?
Did you have any "interesting" experiences being non- or mis- diagnosed?
Have you had trouble finding doctors knowledgeable about your illness?
How have your friends and family reacted to your illness?
What's the most idiotic, uncaring thing someone has told you about your illness?
Have you had to quit work or go on disability? What was that like?
Are there things you can no longer do because of your illness?
Do you go to support groups? If so, how have they benefited you?
What feelings have you gone through since your illness began?
Tell us about your family members, and how they have coped with this.
What things have helped you adapt to the illness?
Do you feel sad, or angry, or frustrated with the illness? If so, please share it.
How do you feel about the future? Hopeful? Apprehensive? Scared witless?
Do you do any volunteer activities?
Have you had any treatments which were helpful, or harmful?
Have you had any surgeries?
Which symptoms trouble you the most?
Do you have a favorite quote, or slogan, which you would like to share?

2014 New Personal Stories

Sheri M: CREST Syndrome (Update) It has been three years since I've posted and I am happy to say I am still doing well...
More New Stories
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We will edit your story, create original artwork to decorate it, prepare it for the web, and post it on this site. Just fill out our simple Story Submission Form for your story, updates, or email address changes.
Go to Story Submission or Revision Form

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