On Sunday, I arrived at a quaint coffee shop in a shopping center in a smallish town on the Eastern side of the country. Even before leaving my car, the person I was there to meet returned my wave. She and I have seen a few photos of each other on the others' blogs, but to have that 2-dimensional image come to life is much cooler indeed. As a bonus, my Sweetie came along as well.
For three individuals with strong introverted tendencies, I think we were a well-matched trio. Of course the topic of MS came into the conversation on more than a few occasions. It was wonderful to hear my Sweetie share some of his observations of life with MS and how it affects him also. I heard him say some things which I had not heard before. This just reinforces my thoughts that it is so very important to be bold enough to open up with others who most understand what it's really like.
I was fortunate during the first year of my diagnosis that the MS specialists at the neurology center held a special monthly session for those newly-diagnosed and their caregivers (mostly spouses). There was ample opportunity to learn about various topics related to MS, to ask questions of the specialists, and to compare notes with other newbie MSers. Of course comparisons were common and ideas for coping were offered freely. And one member even generously experienced another relapse during that year which fueled conversation for at least one meeting. That lucky person, generous soul, was me. What I won't do to help others?
The person I was meeting IRL (in real life) was Merelyme whom many of you already know. We covered things like, "Do you ever get X? Or what do you do when Y happens? What does your doctor say about Z?" For XYZ, you may fill in the blanks with whatever concerns you. I was impressed that Merelyme walked at least 1 mile to our meeting location, on a warm humid day, and for someone who experiences footdrop.
Our allotted time passed by so very quickly that it was hard to say goodbye. I sincerely believe that a friendship has blossomed. Heck, we even spent more than an hour talking on the phone yesterday. When I travel through her area in the future, we will definitely make coffee plans again. Yesterday, we even laughed at how much fun it would be to travel and meet each of our favorite MS Bloggers. With unlimited time and funds that would be so totally doable. I wonder if we could find sponsors........hmmmm......just thinking.
Back to my new IRL friend. When it was time to go, my Sweetie and I dropped her off at her house. I even got a glimpse of her older son as he was walking down the street on the sidewalk. I followed her out of the car and we hugged. We said our goodbyes and we hugged again. Even over the intertubes can a kindred soul be detected. The scene was a little like the one below, cute MSer kittens and all.
Have you ever met a fellow blogger in real life with whom you've conversed online? If so, please do tell. I'd love to hear about it.