Sunday, November 13, 2005

Neophyte in Blog-o-sphere

My first post. Yikes. Seems like another venture into the unknown. Yet I've seen others' blogs, and they really seem fairly benign. My real reason for starting this blog is to introduce the world to my newest project, one which has been remarkably rewarding: a small project called

It all started on a plane to our national meeting for cardiac electrophysiologists (heart "electricians" or cardiologists that treat heart rhythm disturbances) in May of 2005. There was an article in the Wall Street Journal about a website called "" that used t-shirt sales to support the site. It got me thinking....

I see and treat one patient at a time, and have a limited number of clinical appointment slots, relative to the number of patients out there with heart problems.... Maybe there was was a way I could reach more people to help them with their questions and concerns.... perhaps I could get a website to use humor and community to provide a break for some of my patients with the tough job of living with a new foreign medical device. Perhaps t-shirt sales could help support such a site.....

So I started designing t-shirts for patients I knew best: patients with pacemakers and defibrillators. The ideas came fast and furious: "Careful, I'm Wired, " "I've got big joules," "Keeping the beat," "Death, been there, done that, got the t-shirt," and so on. We shared the concept with friends. They thought, "You might have something there, but I know a girl down the street undergoing chemo for a brain tumor... could you make a shirt for her?" So "Bald is Beautiful" and the cancer section was born.

My wife told a former bridesmaid of hers (and dear friend) about the site, not realizing the site would strike a cord with her. You see she lost her leg to a malignant bone tumor at the age of 34, and had three daughers and a wonderful husband. "What about a section for amputees?" So that section was born.

Ideas were submitted from friends and cyber-friends. It grew rapidly. Diabetes, neurology, psychology (like a.d.d. and o.c.d. disorders, arthritis, and so on. And the cool thing is... it's still growing, and growing. The internet is like that ... an almost amoebic growth pattern. We also feel that we need to help others as well by contributing to research and advocacy groups that support folks with the ailments within each section. And contributors of t-shirt designs can specify to whom they'd like the proceeds contributed.

We also thought there should be a forum so folks could communicate with others about how they have managed to cope with the tough things life has thrown at them. Small things, like what tool to help with ambulation, where to find support groups, and so on. It's small right now, but hopefully will grow. I encourage all to contribute your questions, and check it out here.

So if you feel inclined, take a look, post a comment on the forum, and help someone out. After all, we'll ALL be sick someday and I dare say, probably know someone who already is. Perhaps a humorous t-shirt might make their day... you never know. It certainly beats bringing another pot of flowers.



Helen said...

Dr. Wes,

I love the t-shirt I ordered because of my heart defibrillator! I passed your link on to my cardiac class and some went on line to check it out. Thanks for making us smile instead of thinking about our illness just for a little while.

DrWes said...

Thanks for your nice note. That's what it's all about! Spread the word. You never know who might be re-energized!