Health Activist Writer’s Month Challenge – #HAWMC by DocMAW


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Health Activist Writer’s Month Challenge



The Health Activist Writer’s Month Challenge Starts November 1st – That woul be HAWMC. Yes, another acronym that I will learn. Thus far, I have said WOMAC more often than the correct acronym, #HAWMC. This may give you some insight into where I am coming from though. The WOMAC* is a self-administered instrument or questionnaire for patients regarding knee and hip osteoarthritis (OA). Since I have spent over 30 years as a physical therapist working with people who have such arthritis and have had this OA myself, it comes naturally to mind & off my lips. However, after a day or so HAWMC will be second nature for me, just as rheumatoid arthritis (RA), inflammatory arthritis, Sjogren’s Syndrome, migraines, collagenous colitis, and all the other diagnoses are as well.


I spent my entire professional life with the chronic pain of OA & several other issues as well. My focus was always on my clients, my children, my family, my students, & if there was anything leftover, maybe me. I did not always take optimal care of myself first because I was too busy taking care of everyone else. You can only do that for so long. I had a plan to change gears once my youngest finished college, but life got in the way or rather, my health had other plans. A number of years ago, after feeling terrible for some time, my body had enough. That’s when the autoimmune diseases started for me. It has been a difficult road with more questions than answers much of the time.

**You can’t pour from an empty cup. Take care of yourself first.


**The mind is not a vessel to be filled but a fire to be kindled. Plutarch



The "Not-so-Highs"
The “Not-so-Highs” during special Infusions. I think I was smiling… because I felt like a ‘fashionista’!!

Since I am a healthcare provider, I know what questions to ask & how to advocate for myself, although it is always difficult when you are not feeling well.

**Try to bring someone with you at your appointments

for support & reinforcement regarding what was communicated.


My plans had been to focus on my private practice Back2BackPT, treating clients, writing books, &doing presentations. However, because my hands, the tools of my trade, were significantly effected, I decided that my focus would be on advocating for all patients with arthritis, chronic illnesses, chronic pain, & those in need of an advocate.

**As both a healthcare provider & a patient with chronic illnesses,

I would be a perfect candidate as an advocate

who could segue the chasm that often exists between the two

with inadequate communication at best.


**You can read more about my condition at




I have always been very active in a variety of organizations and causes. When my children were growing up that meant their schools, sports clubs, especially tennis, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, homeless shelters, food & clothing drives, animal shelters, and more.


I have been & remain involved with the following:


American Physical Therapy Association (APTA)

I am a member of their Media Corps.




Since my new chronic life I have been more specifically focused with the following:

Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA)


The most active 'high' literally & figuratively to date! Paying for it with extra ice etc, but worth it:-)
The most active ‘high’ literally & figuratively to date! Paying for it with extra ice etc, but worth it:-)

Arthritis Foundation


Creaky Joints


#Joint Decisions


Arthritis National Research Foundation

@Cure Arthritis

American College of Rheumatology






…& more

& counting…


I found out about HAWMC last minute, which seems to be the way for me these days.

Welcome to Day 1 of #HAWMC
Welcome to Day 1 of #HAWMC

However, I prefer to see it as

“How fortunate that I have the opportunity to participate!”


I am not one to pass up great opportunities, even when I am the hare of

The Tortoise & The Hare (one of my upcoming Blogs)

especially since being part of the chronic life & for me the chronically late.

Do you know what I mean?


I went from being pretty fast even with chronic OA (I knew how to work around it)

to beeeiiiinnnggg ooohhh ssoooo ssslllooowwww

It is frustrating at best for all involved – Right?!


I was planning to start new renewed writing & blogging on November 1st

& the Law of Attraction brought me to HAWMC. Thus, it is meant to be.

**I look forward to getting to know y’all


vice versa over the next month and longer.


I do have a significant amount of trouble with both hands right now. I was at the doctor’s on Halloween where I had injections in each thumb. In addition, I do need total joint replacements. However, for now I’ll just ‘put it on the list’! We start from the bottom up and my left knee has first dibsJ But what that means is that I will use:

Blog – Twitter – Facebook – Instagram


To communicate for the 30 days since my hands are often in charge of what and when I can do things, even with dictating.

**Onward to a FABULOUS 30-days HAWMC


Health Activist Writer’s Month Challenge



DocMAW / Mary Ann


Dr. Mary Ann Wilmarth



Optimizing function via body balance & exercise.




*WOMAC® 3.1 Index

Knee and Hip Osteoarthritis Index

Since its development in 1982, the WOMAC® Index has undergone several revisions and modifications. The Index is self-administered and assesses the three dimensions of pain, disability and joint stiffness in knee and hip osteoarthritis using a battery of 24 questions. The latest version of the instrument (WOMAC® 3.1) is available in over 100 alternate language forms, and in many languages is available in 5-point Likert, 100mm Visual Analogue and 11-box Numerical Rating Scale formats. The WOMAC® 3.1 has been linguistically validated and is widely used in the evaluation of knee and hip osteoarthritis. It is a valid, reliable and responsive measure of outcome, and has been used in diverse clinical and interventional environments. The index has been subject to numerous validation studies, which have addressed specific clinimetric issues.


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