Wednesday, July 8, 2015

The 3 Things I Learned From Blogging About Breast Cancer

Happy first birthday to The Middle of the Journey - and what a journey it's been.

I started this blog a year ago as a creative outlet. I had been looking for a way to write more, but hesitated about starting a blog. What did I know about setting up a website? It turns out, it's pretty easy to get started. So off I went with my new blog.

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My first posts last July were about parenting and other observations. I didn't worry about finding topics to write about. Inspiration is usually around the next corner. Then, I received a diagnosis of breast cancer. In the last year, I've undergone a double mastectomy and reconstruction and I'm on a course of Tamoxifen for the next five years.

The diagnosis abruptly changed my blog's mission. In those first few days after my doctor's phone call I scoured the internet for information. I came across the blogs of women who have gone before me. They bravely shared their pain, sorrow, and, yes, joys with their readers. I found them a tremendous comfort and from then on, I hoped my blog could "pay it forward" to others who find themselves in the same situation.

Here are three things blogging has done for me in the past year.
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I learned to stay positive

Although I'm known for my sense of humor, I am by nature a bit melancholy. I can quickly assess the downside of any situation I'm in. But I didn't think anyone would want to read sad blog posts on an ongoing basis, and I certainly did not want to paint myself as a victim. In order to fulfill my new blog mission, I had to find the positives. I shared some painful moments, but my ultimate message to readers is "You will get through this." The blog helped me cultivate a positive attitude.

I learned there is power in sharing our stories

Breast cancer treatments are as individual as we are. No two are the same. But I learned from seeing how others got through their treatments and continued on with their lives. Those blogs also helped me in making decisions. By seeing how other women chose their course of treatment, I was better able to choose my own. 

I learned that blogging is a very social activity

At first blush, it would seem that blogging is a solitary activity. In some ways, it is. But writing my blog has put me in touch with a rich and varied community of other bloggers. Unfortunately, in a group centered on breast cancer, sometimes people die. I have mourned for those I never met in real life. I have also admired the courage and stamina of those who are battling the disease. I have also "met" bloggers from all over the world who write about a plethora of subjects - art, photography, parenting, education, religion, running. There are people out there who are willing to mentor new bloggers like me. They are all fascinating people. The blog brought me to them.

I'm still smiling!
If you are considering starting a blog of your own, I highly recommend it. You will find it more rewarding that you thought, and it will probably be more work than you thought. I started this blog with a feeling of trepidation - would it be good enough? Would anyone read it? Today my feeling is triumph!

If you'd like to read more posts about my experience with breast cancer, click on the topics in the sidebar. My journey started with a post titled Schrodinger's Cat. 

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