Weekly Round Up

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.

The Christmas dinner has been eaten, the presents unwrapped and we are on the brink of a new year. So what thoughts have been recorded in the blogosphere since we last met? Reading your blogs, there has been a mixture of happiness, sadness, gratitude and a sense of anticipation for the year ahead.

Yvonne‘s Christmas memories will forever be changed by the recent death of her husband and she continues to write eloquently and movingly at this sad time on her blog; Chris has been reflecting on a very different kind of Christmas six years ago when he underwent a stem cell transplant and feeling gratitude for the gift of life he received at that time; Lisa is also celebrating her third cancer-free Christmas;  there are lovely heartfelt holiday wishes from Nancy; a wonderfully captivating story of how Elizabeth finally got her Christmas tree wish; more gratitude and a looking forward to the New Year at Dr Ann Becker-Schutte’s blog; a sense of the scales being balanced on Anne Marie’s blog; and after all that,  if you are still in the mood for a Christmas sing-a-long, Fiona has some suggestions for you.

Audrey is reflecting on what she has learned on the WEL course which she has recently completed, and particularly how her belief in the “fix it” model of health we currently embrace cannot survive has been strengthened. It makes for a very interesting discussion.

Two parenting posts moved me very deeply this week. The first by Yvonne Newbold who has had to face a hard truth about coping with her son’s special needs while she is dealing with the legacy of cancer; the second by Florence who has written a very moving post on her son Ben’s autism:

Before getting cancer, I was obsessed with fixing Ben’s autism.  I figured that with enough therapy and prayers, he would someday be “normal.”   After facing my own mortality, I realized that my purpose in life is not to “fix” Ben, since he was never broken.  He is perfect just the way he is.  It is my job as his mother, to help him reach his greatest potential, whatever that may be.  Isn’t that the job of all parents?

I don’t have children but I can still relate to Florence’s post. What is it in our ourselves and our own lives that we feel we must fix? Can we learn to live and love our own perceived imperfections (on this point, check out Imperfect is the new perfect on the Facing Cancer website)  and what can we do to help ourselves reach our full potential?  It is certainly a question I would like to explore some more in the new year.

Have you heard about the  The Collateral Damage  Project?  The goal of the project is to ask breast cancer survivors about the collateral damage they experienced from their breast cancer treatments and to compare their experiences to those without a history of breast cancer so we can better document the side effects attributable to various treatments. You will find full details on Dr Susan Love’s blog.

A very thoughtful post by Catherine this week, which has defied categorizing – see for yourself by reading her post The Flash; and another must-read from Philippa on feeling overwhelmed and needing to step back for a while.

Lisa Jenni continues her story of lymph node transplant on Helensamia’s blog.

My thanks to Sharon Greene for pointing me in the direction of the Katy Did Cancer blog, a cancer blog by a young mother and wife which is now on my list of must-read blogs; and to Justine who introduced me to her blog Ever Upward. Her beautiful post on what it is like to endure the heartbreak of infertility at Christmas time put into words what I also feel.

Ending IVF and living a childfree life means lifelong losses. The Christmas season seems to highlight these losses so much at times that it can feel like I am a gaping, oozing wound

Through a comment on Justine’s blog, I also discovered Busy Nothing – a blog on coming to terms with childlessness by Fiona. I was struck by Fiona’s About Page

I am dealing with infertility and trying to imagine my future and be happy. At this stage I need to make sense of my experience and figure out my identity. If a blog can’t fix it, what can?

Oh how I wish a blog could magically fix all our heartaches, no matter what the cause, but sadly it can’t. What it can do though is help you toward a deeper understanding of who you are and connect you with others who understand what you are going through, because it is their experience too – which leads me nicely into my final blog this week - Victoria’s blog.  While she celebrates an increase in the numbers of readers coming to her blog, she knows that blogging is about so much more than numbers.

 The unexpected kindness, support and generosity that comes from strangers who become friends is something I never imagined would come my way (especially in very dark times).

Words which will find a resonance with many of us. So here’s to friendship and support as we blog our way into a new year.

Yours with love

Marie xxx