Weekly Round Up: The Survivors Day Edition

girl_with_lassoTime for this week’s round-up of the best of the blog posts which I’ve read over the past week. These are the posts that have moved me, taught me something, inspired me, and which I’ve wanted to share with you. Don’t forget if you have written a post which you would like readers to see, just leave a comment below.

Today is National Survivors Day and I am in a quandary. I know that the label survivor doesn’t sit well with many of you with its triumphalism undertones and I totally get that (see my post last year on the topic – Reframing Cancer Survivorship).  Knot Telling  contacted me last week to let me know about her latest post on the terminology of cancer (I encourage you to read it as it’s an excellent contribution to the discussion) and she makes the point that the word “survivor” annoys her because “at the moment  I haven’t survived it yet; I still have cancer in my body.”  And yet, I also get that many people want to celebrate this day for their own reasons. So, I am passing you over to Anne Marie‘s blog to put things in context today:

It doesn’t matter what language we use.  Some words get one group in an uproar while another group is comforted.  By the same word.  I think it’s important to really grasp the concept that we are all different and each one of us has a right to “do cancer” in a way that works best for us.

We are all different indeed and we can learn so much from each other, while still respecting each other’s views and experiences. I thought of this as I read Nancy’s latest post on bloggers who stop blogging. I am fascinated by the question of why those of us who keep blogging on the topic of cancer do so. In the four years since I started my own blog I have watched it grow and change as I have watched others do the same. We have all been touched and influenced by each other in some way and our voices all add something precious to the conversation. I also am thrilled when a friend hasn’t blogged in a while and takes to the keyboard again – hello Renn ;-)

One of the ways in which many of us continue to blog is that we alter the focus of our blogs after a time. I’ve been following A Fresh Chapter blog since the beginning and watched how it and its author Terri has grown and developed in ways even she couldn’t have dreamed of. Her latest post on Turning The Page and Starting Fresh illustrates the point perfectly about how our blogs evolve.

Kari Ann makes a great point on one of her latest posts – there is so much more to our lives than the piece we share on our blogs (even if most of us share a lot!)

The Angelina Jolie story rumbles on and Susan shares a link to a post by Tami Boehmer with some strong words about Tami’s anger and frustration.

I bristled at all the attention and admiration bestowed upon Angelina, when in contrast I feel the real heroes are the women facing metastatic (stage IV) cancer who  garner little publicity, and worse, funding. I felt furious that so many wonderful women and men, many of them young and with small children, are dying every day. And they do this quietly as the pink parade goes on celebrating survivorship.

In a similar vein, Lori’s latest post contains an impassioned plea to those who want to “advise” her on metastatic cancer.

For the love of God, if you are not a metastatic breast cancer patient please stop telling me how to be one! If you want to be in dialogue then you need to listen to me as well. You need to hear the voices of metastatic patients, not just the sales pitch from organizations that are looking for your money and your volunteer hours. I respect your choices in where you want to be a, who want to be involved with, but it’s time to respect mine is well.

Laura supports Jolie’s decision and in her latest blog shares her personal experience of  BRCA genetic testing in the UK, and what a BRCA+ diagnosis means.

The Pink Underbelly is sharing some information on Girls Love Mail, a charitable letter writing organization which sends handwritten letters of encouragement to those newly diagnosed and those going through cancer treatment. It is such a simple idea, but I can testify to the healing power of receiving hand-written cards unexpectedly in the mail at times when I needed encouragement and love.

Beautiful post from Philippa on the rituals surrounding her father-in-law’s death. I love the glimpse of another culture and tradition that Philippa shares with us and this particular post really meant a lot to me while reading it and thinking of my mother’s death.

Speaking of encouragement… Eileen provided just the quote I needed to read on her blog this week by Rumi.

Whatever sorrow shakes from your heart, far better things will take their place.

Catherine is celebrating her fourth wedding anniversary – check out the gorgeous picture she shares from her wedding day.

And Flo is celebrating her hair growing back – 17 long months since her cancer treatment ended. And while we are on the subject of hair, check out Victoria’s sassy red do.

Audrey is writing about transitions.

A wonderful post from the über talented writer Yvonne Watterson on her love of books.

Mags Blog shares a comic strip on how her journey with cancer all began and Beth shares in moving words her personal journey to a prophylactic double mastectomy.

Finally this week, I leave you with a moving and beautiful quote from the latest post on the cancer in my thirties blog, written in memory of a fearless friend, Julie:

So, this year I resolve to be more like Julie.  I resolve to check some things off my bucket list (and to make a bucket list).  I resolve to just “go for it” more.  I resolve to work on living my life to the fullest (I’m sure it will take me a while to get there, but I vow to work on it).  And I plan to honor her memory by trying to find and nurture the little light that she saw inside of me when we were just girls on the edge of new beginnings.

Here’s to living life to the fullest while we still can.

Until next week.

Yours with love

Marie xxx