A busy blog on infant surgery

writer-thumb2012 was a great 2nd year for this blogsite.  Traffic more than doubled, and feedback even more so.  There is clearly a need for accurate, well-researched, responsible and comprehensive information about my subject, infant pyloric stenosis and its treatment.  I pay particular attention to the surgery for this condition and the possible after-effects of the condition and its treatment, which although far from universal are far from exceptional.

An American friend and co-blogger has posted about this subject since early 2009, giving special attention to how she has experienced PTSD after her infant surgery (also for pyloric stenosis), and to the therapies that she has found helped her towards healing.

WordPress hosts this blog, and it’s the most popular and I believe the best host in the business!  WordPress gives me (the blogger) lots of information about how I’m going and can do better, and every year it provides a summary of results.  Here are some of the details.

I started to post to my blogsite SurvivingInfantSurgery after retiring from full-time work late 2010, having started to research my subject quite thoroughly since I gained access to the web in 1997.  During the first 13 months (from December 2010) I posted 106 times and WordPress recorded almost 8,000 visits, a daily average of 22.

blog-writing01During 2012 I posted 54 times, and the visits rose to almost 18,000 with a daily average of 49.  The rate of visits fluctuated, however: the monthly average of “hits” ranged from 26 to a whopping 73.  The average daily for the first week of 2013 was 70.

On one day last October, the blog recorded 339 visits, the great majority being from Pakistan and looking at a post that sought to create a better understanding between pediatricians and the parents of sick babies.  I can only conjecture that a medical school was advised to read it… any better (or whackier) ideas?

I was interested to note that the five most-read posts last year were all written in 2011.  In order they were –

  1. one of the posts on adhesions following infant and other abdominal surgery;
  2. The first of 3 posts on the effect of post-surgery adhesions and scars on a pregnancy;
  3. healthy doctors and patients (referred to above);
  4. the long-term effects of pyloric stenosis and its surgery; and
  5. a post on the way pyloric stenosis was treated in the 1940s and ’50s (of strong interest to my generation) – one of two on this period and part of a series reviewing the 100 years of this surgery.

I try to include several images with each post, if possible to illustrate or further explain the text, and otherwise to break up the print that results from my verbose information-giving.  Many of the visits are from people looking for illustrative material on the subjects I write about.

Understandably, the great majority of readers were from the USA, followed by the UK, Canada, Australia, India and (yes) Pakistan.  But our 2012 readers live in 133 countries, most of them without English as their first language.  Thanks to modern communications, our world is fast becoming a global village!

My blog has become noticeably more evident and traceable on the web, as any search for its subject matter will quickly show.  The number of visits also means it gets a good rating with search engines, and including links to other subjects on which I have posted has also served to increase traffic.

Fred blogging01wThe success of my blogsite has been most gratifying to me personally.  I find writing satisfying: it prompts me to continue researching my subjects, helps clarify my thinking, and has therapeutic value, as I enjoy writing and especially when I know that I have at very long last overcome most of my deep-seated embarrassment and inner pain and struggle about what was for so long a closed chapter.

But just as much, it gives me enormous satisfaction that my research and blog have occasioned networking with others who have also experienced post-traumatic stress after infant surgery.  Some of these contacts have been brief, others extended and a very few have resulted in ongoing friendship that comes with continuing interaction.  Many of those who write to me have feelings of relief and being understood that are mutual.  Hooray and I thank God.

A third area of great satisfaction is that during the past year I and others have increasingly interacted with health professionals: we are becoming more visible and widely heard, and others are entering the areas of our concern.  In most cases these surgeons, paediatricians, and therapists are in compatible work.

It remains my hope that SurvivingInfantSurgery will continue to flourish, informing, encouraging and strengthening the community of those who as parents or survivors (and sometimes as both) recognise and support the need to raise parents’, patients’ and doctors’ awareness of aspects of pyloric stenosis and other conditions of infancy that have been denied or ignored for far too long.

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