I’ve been writing online content for years, and now and then I’ll stumble across something of mine that I don’t even recognize, until the byline catches my eye. And while I’ve had comments and even a few emails here and there from random internet strangers offering their feedback or thanks (or asking to hire me, yay!), something happened recently that was a first for me.

Over the last couple of weeks, I got four separate messages from my site here and that irritating-because-I-always-forget-about-it “Message Request” thing on Facebook, and they were all about varicose veins and my article about them. Say… what?

I read these messages, blanked for a good thirty seconds, Googled “varicose veins fourth pregnancy,” and lo: a Healthline article from a few years ago.

now here’s the thing

I’m writing for Healthline again and I love it, but the site does have a strict style guide that includes writing around an eighth or ninth-grade level (it’s something like that, I swear), and they can be pretty heavy-handed when it comes to editing. So here’s what I was thinking as I quickly scanned that article:

“omg, there’s no way I wrote that title.”

“This thing is … not good. Did I really write this?”

I found my original draft and breathed a sigh of relief, because yes, they did edit the $&#! out of it, turning my stream of consciousness tendencies into a lot of short, choppy sentences and sucking out any semblance of personality.

but guess what?

The sentiment was still there, and that’s what mattered. Because those four women who wrote to me all shared a version of the same thing. They’re all living through the exact same misery, and reading that article made them feel like they weren’t the only ones.

How about that?!

I deliberated over my reply, typing and deleting and staring into space before starting again. I had no words of wisdom to share, beyond my thigh-high compression stocking brand of choice and my own experience of pretty much instant relief in my leg the minute my fourth baby was born.

I was honest and frank, sharing details about my ablation procedure when my body had done all it could and my only option was surgical. But the fact that this article showed up when these women needed it is just more proof to me that no thoughtful content is ever wasted.

On the down side, I’m not so thrilled that I’ll be forever associated with bulging veins and an eighth-grade writing ability to those four ladies. But at least they know someone else has lived to tell about it.