Guest Blog Post “Inspired”

Nancy Stordahl with her golden retriever, Elsie and English springer spaniel, Sophie

In 2008 I lost my mother to breast cancer. I didn’t know how to be a daughter without a mother. I looked for resources and stories like mine, but I couldn’t find many I liked or that seemed helpful. I remembered a quote by author Toni Morrison that said, “If you can’t find the book you want to read, then you must write it,” and that’s what I set out to do; tell the story I longed to read. I wanted to share my intimate story about crossing the bridge between the two parts of my life, the years with a mother and the years without. Writing gave me a sense of purpose. Writing made me feel stronger, more capable and better able to cope. Writing helped me heal.

Earlier this year I was diagnosed with breast cancer myself after a lump was inadvertently discovered in a CT scan while looking for something else. Suddenly my writing was on hold. Even though cancer was clearly in my family, my diagnosis left me stunned. I somehow thought I would at least have more time. I didn’t think cancer could strike so quickly again in the same family. I was wrong.

In the days and weeks that followed my CT scan I had a mammogram, biopsy, BRCA 2 gene test (positive) and a bilateral mastectomy. I also began the reconstruction process, as well as chemotherapy. Needless to say, once again I turned to writing to keep my sanity during all the madness.

About two months ago I decided to take this writing mission of mine a step further and dived into the blogging world with Being quite a private person, this was a gigantic step for me to take. At first I wondered who in the world would care about reading my story and what I have to say. Then I realized it didn’t matter. I just felt this compelling need to write about my journey and hoped to pick up some faithful readers along the way. Like most cancer bloggers, I wanted to make a difference. I didn’t want any other woman to feel alone when diagnosed.

In just a few short weeks I have discovered a lot of women out there of various ages, types and stages of cancer. They all have amazing stories about coping and survival. They are women like me who willingly share their stories with others, people they will probably never meet. I guess that’s what bloggers have in common – this willingness to share, both the good and the bad. Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night thinking about things I need to say or neglected to mention in my blog. I even think about the people who left comments and wonder how they are doing. What an amazingly comforting thing to realize there is this invisible support system out there made up of people I don’t even know.

I am clearly hooked. Maybe the novelty of blogging will wear off, but so far I find myself fascinated by inspiring stories I read and feel even more compelled to continue telling my own. I have things to say! All of us do.

So fellow bloggers keep up the good writing. You inspire me and so many others without even knowing it. You make me want to be a better writer. You make me want to be a better person. You make me want to beat cancer. You make me keep hoping to make a difference.

by Nancy Stordahl

Visit Nancy’s blog:  Nancy’s Point