October 1, 2009. 10:14am
As those of you who have read the blurb that appears with my photo above may have noticed, I was originally asked to write this blog for the month of October 2008 as part of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Well, the website people never actually got around to amending that ”throughout the month of October” line, and I just kept posting, and here I am still blogging away one year later. As Churchill says, I just seem to “keep buggering on.”
I was wondering what to do for my one-year anniversary post… it doesn’t quite feel appropriate to put together a list of “best of” links to the most popular posts, since most of the ones that generated dialogue and comments don’t exactly commemorate the high points of my past year. A round-up of my darkest moments or most tormented rants might be a bit of a downer, to put it mildly. Could be what my friends Chris & Nat would call a TBK (total buzz kill.)
But then again, that’s kind of the point of this blog: all this stuff happened in my life, and keeps happening, and a lot of it has been incredibly hard, but I’ve stuck it up on the internet for anyone to see – and somehow it hasn’t been a TBK. Just posting about what is going on has been cathartic, helping me to process so much of my experience. As my mom’s best friend Mary Sue (a 14-year survivor of breast cancer) once said on the subject of talking about fears: once you put it out there it’s not bigger than you. So I put it out there, and then to my surprise and amazement, what I got back was wave after wave of insight, commiseration, empathy and encouragement. Not to mention witty jokes and heart-wrenching tales to help me keep perspective.
That there are a whole bunch of people out there reading this thing still amazes me, but that there’s a community of people who post comments and support each other (and me) is the part that really knocks my socks off.
To think I didn’t even want to blog about breast cancer when the idea was first suggested to me. I hated the thought of linking my identity to this disease, of becoming “Cancergirl.” And maybe on a more primal, superstitious level, I feared that if I blogged about it, I might be somehow inviting the cancer to stick around; I might be giving it more permanence than it warrants.
Now, a year later, I wonder what I would have done without this blog sometimes. I know my family, scattered all over the world as they are, feel like they can keep in touch with what I’m going through every step of this long road. I know that my friends tend to know what’s going on and can feel connected to me, just picking up the conversation from the last post, so I don’t find myself telling the same tale over and over again. And I know that a good chunk of the fear I faced was cut down to a much more manageable size just by the act of putting it out there. Getting it out of my head and into the blogosphere – the psychological equivalent of taking that stinky bag of garbage out the curb, where readers can take a few kicks at it themselves just for good measure – has made a huge difference.
So, thanks blog readers and blog commenters. Thanks family & friends. And thanks, Chatelaine.
Now how about updating that blurb…?