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Two smiling animated faces that are high-fiving and sharing their heart story.

Heart to Heart

If you’ve read any of my articles, you know that I’ve spent an insane amount of time researching macular degeneration. What should I eat (or not)? What can I do (or not)? Am I going to go blind (or not)? But…probably the most important searches I’ve ever searched were related to finding a community that understood ME…the ins and outs of my disease, yes, but also my feelings and enormous need to talk to people who were going through the same things that I was going through. Confusion, grief, worry, and fear of blindness.

Joining a community is a part of healing

If you’ve ever gone through this process, then you know it’s a lot easier said than done. There are a lot of groups out there. A lot. But, being a part of an online community is a special kind of relationship, friends. Not all were a good fit for me. Some were just too negative for me. They seem to be mostly a forum for complaining and nothing else. Don’t get me wrong I, too, love a great vent session…but that isn’t all that there is to this disease. There may not be a magic pill for healing my eyes, but a lot of this journey, for me, has been healing my soul.

My macular degeneration community needed to be much more than a negative forum to complain in. I needed knowledge. I needed support. I needed real, actual people who understood me. I knew that these are the things provided by Health Union.

Health Union

I’m not sure if y’all know this or not, but there is an amazing company, called Health Union, behind the scenes of our community page. What we see, on our end, is this gorgeous plethora of information handed to us on a golden platter of knowledge and support, but…there are real, actual people working hard every single day to ensure this happens.

I got to meet these real, actual people in October and it changed my life. Health Union flew their advocates out for a conference called Connexion and the theme was ‘Face to Face and Heart to Heart.’ It couldn’t have been more inspiring.

Because disclaimers are what I do

I have to start by saying my only intention for this article is to offer more help to you all! Nobody is paying me extra to solicit any business or anything like that. This article is simply like…hey, do you all realize how lucky we are to have each other in this group???? And…if you need more help, here’s how you can find it through a reliable source. That’s it, friends (and it’s super important to know).

I had no idea!

Ummm… call me naive but I didn’t know that most other ‘health help’ websites use robotic feedback to answer human questions that are generated from a generic list of responses. I don’t know where I’ve been…but you guys! I didn’t know this! I know that makes me sound waaaay too trusting, but REALLY? I’m not sure about you, but when I ask very personal questions about my health, I do NOT want to be answered generically by a robot! I hope you’re just as glad to know this as I am!

Other websites are also using catchy titles and phrases to get our attention and gain more likes or members. Health Union’s goal is to help those seeking help, not to get attention for the sake of attention.

Real and meaningful conversations

Here, at MacularDegeneration.net we are having real, meaningful conversations with each other. Our conversations are open, honest, clear and respectful. We are making connections with each other and helping each other feel better. Not just throwing out information and hoping it helps.

The theme ‘Face to Face, Heart to Heart’ for the Connexion conference is really just a different version of what we’re doing here in our online community. This is such an important part of our group, here. We aren’t always face-to-face, buuuut…kinda. Here, we are all very real people. I love seeing your profile pictures and hearing your stories, you guys! And, I hope that you know I’m a real person, fighting this disease on the front lines right with you brings you comfort.

If you want to get to know me more, you can read about me here and see my face! Hi, I’m Andrea (not a robot)! And, we are definitely heart to heart…all the time. I think that’s really special.

Behind the scenes teams

Even our illustrators dive deep into our diseases. Seriously! Our whole entire team spends so much time learning the ins and outs of our diseases so they can really produce the best quality illustrations for our health information.

Have you ever noticed the beautiful, perfectly designed illustrations attached to our community’s articles? I watched these amazing and talented people stand up and talk about how much effort they put into making sure their art is right for each and every article AND each and every person’s experience with the article’s topic. You know why? Because they care. It was truly inspiring to see how invested they are in us and take the time to research and learn so that their art is accurate.

This company cares about us. Can you tell yet?

If you’re seeking more help

From the start, I knew that Health Union was great. There was no doubt in my mind that this company’s goal was to simply help people feel heard, understood, validated, encouraged, inspired, and more knowledgeable about their disease. THIS is exactly what we need as humans. With hearts. And feelings. THIS is how we heal and learn to live our best lives with whatever is thrown our way.

Health Union is not just for help with macular degeneration, but so many others. If you are living with more than just macular degeneration, as I know many of us are, and haven’t checked out all of the community pages available through Health Union, you should. Have a friend with advanced breast cancer, prostate cancer, blood cancer, Alzheimer’s, or even ankylosing spondylitis? We have websites for those diseases too, and they’re just as amazing as our macular degeneration community!

Health Union has well over twenty websites helping people through their diseases every day.

All of the amazing things happening right here in our community are happening in the others as well. I think it’s important for us to know that. If you’re looking for more information on something, why look further than a place that you know is safe?

Heart to heart

I’m glad to be here. I’m glad that you’re all here with me. I’m glad we’re helping each other heal our eyes and our souls. I’m glad we are heart to heart each and every day.

Living with macular degeneration is hard. Some days, really hard. But, being a part of Health Union and MacularDegeneration.net helps it to not be so hard. We are not just our disease…we are humans living with the disease. I’m not trusting my health with anyone other than the best. That, my friends, is YOU…it’s US, together!

And, I thank you!

Andrea Junge

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The MacularDegeneration.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Comments

  • Cora Lyn Sears moderator
    1 month ago

    Great article. Wish I had been able to join you.

  • shelby-comito moderator
    1 month ago

    Same!! Hopefully we’ll have the opportunity to meet you soon @CoraLynSears!! ❤️ – Shelby, MacularDegeneration.net Team Member

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