Thank you for the great points you all make. There are different reasons that make sense to us at different time of our life/illness as far as how much we gain from spending time on these forums. As far as suggestions from close loved ones, I still feel a little ambiguous about that, because at the one hand, I don't argue with the fact that they want what's best for us but, at the other hand, do they really know? They see us at our worse and feel our pain but, deep down, they do not experience what we experience. Do they really understand what an understanding post of a forum member can mean to us? Do they know how it feels to see others writing about the same experiences we feel? There is a connection here that we can't get anywhere else. Conversely, I do believe though that I, in the midst of my own illness, probably am not the best judge always as to what is good for me. I am too deeply involved. Sometimes, observations from "outsiders" can be beneficial.