My name is Candace Ross. I was initially a member of the WG Support Group since 1988, which then became the Wegener’s Granulomatosis Association, and then the Vasculitis Foundation.
I currently have three Facebook pages. One is called “Working with Vasculitis” (a page for those of us who deal with challenges unique to fatigue and chronic autoimmune in the work place) and the other is called Mental Health and Wellness with Vasculitis and Autoimmune Disorders”. I make it clear that although I am a mental health professional (I have a master’s degree in social work, am clinically licensed, and have worked as a psychotherapist for 21 years, have a master in addiction counseling credential, am a generalist mental health profession, am a certified intervention professional, and hold several other certifications), I cannot provide treatment, but I can provide education, and support for those with WG and other vasculitis illnesses, and multiple autoimmune conditions due to my firsthand experience as well as my professional expertise.
The third page is that started as a “plug” for the book that I wrote (The book is called Eye On The Prize: Fighting Past Wegener’s Granulomatosis, by Candace Ross, available on Amazon.com or BarnesandNoble.com. As many of you know, I wrote the first “first person account” of an individual with Wegener’s granulomatosis (now GPA) back in 2009. When this was first published, I was touched by the emails that I received by people who have read the book. I wrote it with the mission of helping just one person to not feel isolated. I have accomplished this, as the page has about 350 or so “likes” and I get about one heartfelt email per month. The page has now morphed into an inspirational place, where I try to post uplifting memes, and so forth to keep people hopeful.
I was diagnosed back in 1987. I was lucky, after having been gravely ill (lung, kidney, skin, joint, eyes) for three years to achieve a drug-free remission beginning in 1990 that lasted for 23 years. I have had health challenges, but I try to always look at the most positive outcome. I fell out of remission again last year, but am still plugging along. I am back at work, full-time, am on medication, and will not stop. I am still going to beat this, even though I realize I am not a young pup anymore. I think the newly diagnosed have so much more support with social media than back in the 80’s. My pages function as support groups, more or less.
Candace Ross, MSW, LCSW, MAC, CIP