The chemotherapy treatments left Dan feeling weak and ill and unable to work. In 2004, Dan received a bone marrow transplant which became a big factor in his recovery process. However, as with all medical treatments, the side effects were pretty impactive; short term memory loss, convulsions and pneumonia added to the burden that the family was already feeling. During this time they came across a medical blog called “Caringbridge”.
Caringbridge is a blog for patients and family with serious medical conditions. The website is dedicated to providing patients and family a place to post about the illness and treatments and a mechanism for other family and friends to provide support.
Sonia Mehring started Caringbridge after a experiencing an ongoing medical issue in her own circle. A close friend had delivered a 7 month child and both of them remained is medical distress afterwards. Mehring worked for a web-designer and realized that a website would be just the thing to keep friends and family up-dated on the progress and needs of the family.
Friends, relatives and co-workers of Dan Omara were able to check on him and keep up to date without bothering Dan. When the Omaras’ were in Boston at the Brigham and Women’s hospital, they used the site to keep their families and friends in touch with what was going on with Dan.They updated the site daily & read all the words of encouragement from family and friends.
Melissa found the site to be very therapeutic because it allowed them the ability to involve family in the process and to move past each milestone of the disease process and put it behind them. Dan says that seeing all the support on the web gave him hope. He said seeing all those comments and questions let him know that there were a lot of people wanting to see him do well.
Caringbridge was started in 1977. Since then it has hosted about 75,000 unique sites to help people stay in touch with their community during their sickness. To date 11 million messages have been exchanged between patients, friends and family, proving that you can interact with the world even from a hospital bed.