Author Archives: Joe MacDonald

Beyond Diagnosis, We Found Community

I am the first person to insist that a diagnosis does not define my children. In my home, we never call our children hemophiliacs, rather we focus on the fact that they are human beings who have hemophilia. I never want my sons to think that their whole person is…

We Are the Experts of Our Own Stories

At times I struggle with documenting my journey as a caregiver for a loved one with a bleeding disorder. I can’t offer medical advice because I am not an expert. The most I can do is share my experiences and hope that something I write might speak to someone…

The Roles We Play as Caregivers

Two weeks ago, my family moved back to New Mexico. Today, I find myself attempting to bring order to my office. I started matching books with the subject matter and made sure that each volume found its right place on my bookshelves. I held my Doctoral thesis in my…

Managing Chaos as a Family

If there is one word in the English language that drives me batty, it’s “chaos.” It implies a lack of control and an inability to stand on firm ground. It isn’t pleasant to be forced into a world that lacks any sense of stability. I must find a way to…

Answering the Tough Questions

As caregivers of loved ones managing chronic illness, we face questions that, when first heard, knock us to our knees. For my family, it was not so much a question as a statement. When “MacDonald the Older” was 4 years old, we set up to infuse through his port-a-cath…

Advocating Out of the Shadows and Into the Light

It’s essential that we inform the world about struggles in the bleeding disorders community by showing them how to be advocates. We must teach our loved ones how to educate and inform those in leadership about the needs faced by those with hemophilia and other disease states resulting in clotting…

Keeping Museum Fridays Alive

During the summer, my sons and I usually choose a museum to visit on Fridays. It started with “MacDonald the Older” and continues with “MacDonald the Younger.” I look forward to the special times that I get to celebrate with my stinky sons. I call those moments sacred, set apart…

And Then Came Aunt Jessie

Heroes come in all shapes and sizes. Sometimes, it is challenging to recognize the people in our lives who overcame overwhelming odds to remind us that life means more than merely accepting our condition. We must thrive, even when we face uncertain futures, painful treatments, or life-changing issues. Our champions,…

Life May Be Difficult, but We’ve Got This

Families who live with chronic illness have quickly learned to place trust in medical teams to determine the best course of action. If doctors and nurses suggest we quarantine, we may not like it, but we follow the guidelines, believing that the prescribed course of action will deliver the…