Welcome Members!

Welcome to Living with ADEM Patient Support Community!

Our mission at Ben’s Friends is to ensure that patients living with rare diseases or chronic illnesses, as well as their caregivers, family, and friends, have a safe and supportive place to connect with others like them.

This is an online support group for patients, friends and families affected by ADEM (Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis). The National Institute of Health describes ADEM as being … characterized by a brief but widespread attack of inflammation in the brain and spinal cord that damages myelin – the protective covering of nerve fibers. ADEM often follows viral or bacterial infections, or less often, vaccination for measles, mumps, or rubella. The symptoms of ADEM appear rapidly, beginning with encephalitis-like symptoms such as fever, fatigue, headache, nausea and vomiting, and in the most severe cases, seizures and coma. ADEM typically damages white matter (brain tissue that takes its name from the white color of myelin), leading to neurological symptoms such as visual loss (due to inflammation of the optic nerve) in one or both eyes, weakness even to the point of paralysis, and difficulty coordinating voluntary muscle movements (such as those used in walking).

ADEM is sometimes misdiagnosed as a severe first attack of multiple sclerosis (MS), since the symptoms and the appearance of the white matter injury on brain imaging may be similar. However, ADEM has several features which differentiate it from MS. First, unlike MS patients, persons with ADEM will have rapid onset of fever, a history of recent infection or immunization, and some degree of impairment of consciousness, perhaps even coma; these features are not typically seen in MS. Children are more likely than adults to have ADEM, whereas MS is a rare diagnosis in children. In addition, ADEM usually consists of a single episode or attack of widespread myelin damage, while MS features many attacks over the course of time.

Doctors will often use imaging techniques, such as MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), to search for old and new lesions (areas of damage) on the brain. The presence of older brain lesions on MRI suggest that the condition may be MS rather than ADEM, since MS can cause brain lesions before symptoms become obvious. In rare situations, a brain biopsy may be necessary to differentiate between ADEM and some other diseases that involve inflammation and damage to myelin. (NIH retrieved November 2021.)

AcuteDisseminatedEncephalomyelitis.org is a virtual community intended to be a safe place for patients and family members as young as age 12, to visit for information, discussion, venting and mutual support. Members come from many backgrounds. Some have a strong religious faith, and others no faith; some are children and others adults, rich and poor, graduate educated or taught by life. Our common denominators are that we share a life journey, and we try to help each other.

Though we get occasional visits from medical doctors, the site is not routinely supported by medical professionals. Nobody here can diagnose you or tell you what your treatment choices “should” be. We might inform your choices by sharing individual experiences and information developed by study as lay people. But AcuteDisseminatedEncephalomyelitis.org is not intended to replace the advice or treatment of licensed medical professionals. Readers should validate any information they take away from here, against the experience of a licensed medical doctor. Site owners and moderators are not legally responsible for the accuracy of information shared on the site.

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How is Ben’s Friends Different from Social Media and Other Support Sites?

 

Our mission at Ben’s Friends is to ensure that patients living with rare diseases or chronic illnesses, as well as their caregivers, family, and friends, have a safe and supportive place to connect with others like them.

We’re interested in you as a person, and in your struggles as a rare disease patient.  But we don’t want to know your name or where you live. We won’t even allow you to use your real name when you register for one of our communities. Because when it comes to medical things, anonymity is important in our googly universe.  Your information is never shared, and your activity never tracked by adware.

When Ben’s Friends asks for the country and region you live in, that’s in case your fellow members can recommend local resources and help, and so everyone knows what kind of medical system there is where you live.  That’s important when it comes to giving and getting support. Because we are all about support, and we’re all in this together.. 

Ben’s Friends: Safe and Supportive. 
And anonymous to keep it that way.

 

Why create an account?

 

Posts on the different Ben’s Friends communities can be read by anyone on the internet. You can browse through the different topics and find most of the information you’re looking for but there are many things you won’t be able to do unless you create an account. These include:

Making your own posts. Although you’re able to find useful information just by reading other members’ posts, you might still have a lot of questions in your mind. Either you want to start a new topic to talk about them in detail or you want to reply to a comment on a thread. These won’t be possible unless you create a new user account.

Viewing other members’ profiles. Member profiles include information about the country or region they are from, whether they are a patient or a caregiver, and details about their disease and treatments. Maybe you came across an interesting post and you want to learn more about the member. Or maybe you’re looking for members who are from the same country as you. Having a user account allows you to see other member profiles and find information that may be relevant.  

Sending private messages. Aside from being able to post publicly and commenting on a thread, having a user account also allows you to send private messages both to other members and moderators. In case you want to discuss a topic only with a specific person, this is possible by sending private messages when you have created your account.

Click here to create an account and join.

 

Latest Discussions

  • Spotlight on Our Moderators
    by BF_Writer on August 31, 2022

    Ben Munoz – October 31, 2019 When we recently asked our moderators what they love about their role, we got a variety of reactions. Not surprising: each of our “mods” does their job in their own way! Some are very active in the conversation, and others take a more hands-off approach, intervening only when there might be a problem. We think that’s one of the ways our forty-some community […]

  • “Rare Diseases Doesn’t Have Us” – Foot and Float to Raise Awareness
    by BF_Writer on August 31, 2022

    Ben Munoz – August 15, 2019 We did It! Ten Ben’s Friends members traveled for more than 500 miles on foot and afloat to raise awareness and to raise money to start new Ben’s Friends Communities. This proves that although “WE HAVE RARE DISEASE -RARE DISEASE DOESN’T HAVE US”. We started the night before departing for Glacier National Park. McKenna caught her first West Slope Cutthroat […]

  • When “Rather Rare” Becomes “Done Well”
    by BF_Writer on August 31, 2022

    Ben Munoz – November 1, 2019 I remember talking, not so long ago, with one of our AVM veterans. He has been battling this disease for 41 years now. When it was first discovered no one within 500 miles knew what it even was, let alone how to treat it. He says that it was a very scary time. Not only because of major surgery as an 8th grader but also because that is what I call, “rather […]

  • Our New Ben’s Friends Classroom
    by BF_Writer on August 31, 2022

    Clasina Field – November 1, 2019 You must be wondering what Seenie has been doing these days. Well, I’ve been building our Google Classrooms and library where our Moderators and Interns will be able to learn the skills and tricks of the Moderator Trade. Right now, I’m about to stock our library with reading material and things like Slide Guides. It will all be set up for independent […]

  • Spotlight on Our Board Member: John Stamler
    by BF_Writer on August 31, 2022

    Ben Munoz – November 9, 2019 John Stamler, Ben’s Friends’ treasurer and a rare disease survivor himself, had a conversation with Garry Turner in the Episode 81 of Value through Vulnerability podcast. John shared his inspiring work as a mentor to startups and his admiration for the entrepreneurs he works with who are so passionate about what they believe in. He also talked about his […]

  • Ben’s Friends Members to Benefit from Cutting-edge Health Data Management Tool
    by BF_Writer on August 31, 2022

    Sascha Gallardo – January 14, 2020 Members of Ben’s Friends patient communities can soon take advantage of a state-of-the-art technology that will enable them to manage their medical information in a secure multilingual digital tool, give them access to an online referral service for physicians and clinics, and let them participate in research that will benefit the rare disease community. […]