Searching for answers
“It’s pretty scary when you go to five doctors and none of them knows what’s wrong with your kid,” says Linda Rozell–Shannon.
Over a period of a few months, Linda’s healthy 14–year–old daughter, Christine, had become unable to complete even simple tasks. “She couldn’t get dressed, couldn’t hold a pencil, sometimes she couldn’t even speak,” recalls Linda.
Christine was finally diagnosed with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), a neurological disorder characterized by intrusive thoughts and repetitive behaviors.
Linda sought out the specialists at the Rogers Memorial Hospital in Wisconsin, one of only three clinics in the country that treats OCD patients under the age of 16. Treatment required Linda and Christine to spend more than two months in Wisconsin.
Linda had used CaringBridge sites before, but assumed they were hard to create. “They look so professional, I thought you had to learn HTML,” she recalls.
“When I set up the site, I couldn’t believe how easy it was.”
CaringBridge not only provided a crucial communication link. The website also offered a way to educate Christine’s friends about her condition.
“If you educate people, there’s no mystery. Right away, I put up a lot of information about OCD,” says Linda.
Linda says Christine’s father was skeptical about this approach. “Then he saw how positive the responses were. He started posting almost every day.”
Each morning, Christine read the encouraging messages from her friends, teachers, and even her doctors. “The support made such a difference, especially on the tough days,” says Linda.
Returning to normal life
Linda believes that CaringBridge helped make Christine’s return to school much easier than it would have been otherwise.
“Everybody knew. She didn’t have to explain anything to anybody.” Linda says. “By the third day, she was totally integrated.”
“Can you imagine how exhausting it would have been to have to explain what happened over and over to everyone in our lives?”
“When you’re hit with something like this, you can isolate yourself, or you can choose to embrace the world,” Linda continues. “CaringBridge helps you do that.”
“I could not have set up this website on my own,” she says. “I am so grateful for CaringBridge.”