The last few weeks have been very difficult for me and my family as we’ve struggled to find out why our precious 2 year-old son, Michael, is ill. He’s had flu-like symptoms for over five weeks but doesn’t have the flu or any other virus. It’s been baffling and the hardest thing I’ve had to deal with since I beat cancer almost five years ago.
As we wait for one final test to determine if he has Celiac Disease, I decided to turn to all of you – the people I am connected with via social networks to see if anyone else could help with preparing me for the unexpected.
I’ve always been a person who believes in privacy. Although I lead a pretty open life, meaning I share lots of things via Facebook, Twitter, etc., I’ve always believed that things like grieving or dealing with very private issues like we are now should remain private.
As we wait on the Celiac test to come back – and my gut tells me that’s what the final diagnosis will be – I turned to Twitter and asked my followers and others who follow the #celiac hashtag for advice and direction. Also, my new friend David Armano (@armano), from the Dachis Group, retweeted it to his 21,000 followers. I appreciated that and since David is a rock star in the social business world, I heard from so many qualified and informed people, I was overwhelmed. Not only did I get a lot smarter thanks to all of you, but I also found some peace and consolation in realizing so many have dealt with, or are dealing with, Celiac Disease. David recently had his own experience with this, using technology to save his son, which is worth your time
I also found a friend close to home – Curtis Silver, who is a contributor for Wired.com and with me a co-founder and contributor over on the Every Other Thursday Dad’s blog. Both his daughter and wife have Celiac. He has immediately offered to help me navigate through it and understand it. That was also a huge relief to have someone you know and trust who can speak from first-hand experience.
The social media and social business skeptics scream about the impersonal nature of online conversations. They dismiss them as cold interactions that don’t convey emotion or personality. They say online relationships aren’t as valuable as offline ones and they regularly mock those of us who have many online relationships.
But my experience is the opposite. In a time of need and of great overwhelming concern for my son, I turned to and connected with people I could have never met any other way. These technologies and online conversations are linking us together now more than any other time in history. We’re becoming more personal, not less personal.
The power of connecting people is important both personally and professionally to me. It helps me better understand my customers and myself. As we connect to one another, we get smarter and more wise. We find more wisdom and stories of humanity than we every could of before.
Thanks to all of you who have helped me with this. It’s great to have friends I may never meet who care enough to spend their time and effort to look out for my son.
For more information on Celiac Disease, visit the Celiac Disease Foundation.