My blog began in November 2007 following my diagnosis with non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. I spent hours each day answering phone calls and e-mails from family and friends who had just heard the news and while I was grateful for all of the support that I was receiving, I also needed time away from the phone and the computer to learn about my disease and to take care of myself. A blog was a perfect way to share frequent updates with distant family and friends.
As time went on, my audience changed. Friends and family still touch base from time to time but when I started to hear from other cancer patients, my blog took on new meaning for me…and now, I write for them. Over the last three years, I’ve heard from many cancer patients (or their family members) from all over the world, often recently diagnosed, and, through my blog, I’ve been able to communicate with them privately, answering their questions and concerns, sharing my experience in more detail.
When I was battling cancer, I read many blogs and memoirs of other cancer survivors who generously shared all that they had been through in fighting their disease. Those memoirs were comforting to me and I used those memoirs as my model; I held nothing back. If it would help a cancer patient relate to me, if it would help them to understand the path before them or take away some of the fear about a procedure or treatment they might face, I shared what I went through. I have kept just one very important parameter, however. The comments in my blog were to be about me and my experience. I chose to make my experience very public…no one else did. If a story had “a happy ending” or a “positive thought” to share involving someone else, you might find it included here but my posts are primarily about my own experiences…not out of narcissism…but out of a respect for the privacy of others.
Cancer can take a toll on so many aspects of the patient’s life. Not only do they face the obvious physical challenges of the disease that they battle, but the emotional strain can be overwhelming. Not everyone has the kind of support that they need from family and friends to get them through their time of crisis and cancer can often strain relationships. In the United States, the cost of medical care can be overwhelming, too, and trying to navigate the health care system when you should be focused on getting well sometimes seems cruel.
Telling my whole story would be much more involved than simply talking about my battle with cancer and epilepsy. I’ve faced challenges that lie outside the parameters of my blog…things I would freely share if not for the embarrassment that it might cause to those who did not choose to publicly blog about their lives. Sharing the emotional and financial strain that I’ve faced over the past three years might be helpful to those going through a similar fate but, for the sake of those who would have to be named in the telling, that aspect of my story must remain private and I must choose the high road…