Weekly Round-Up

girl_with_lassoTime for this week’s round-up of the best of the blogs 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. Remember, if you have written or read a post recently which you would like me to share with readers, then please leave a comment below.

This was a week for us to remember our beloved Rachel, on the first anniversary of her death. Anne Marie sums up the feelings of many of us on hearing the news of Rachel’s passing from this world.

One year ago, my sense of purpose was overtaken by a sense of urgency.  We are wasting time.  Lives are being stolen. One year ago, that point was driven home in ways I don’t think I have the words to describe.

Renn writes that Rachel’s death “forced me to acknowledge the stark, deeply dark truth of cancer.”

Honoring Rachel’s memory emerged as a theme with many of you. Nancy wrote a review of Rachel’s newly published book The Cancer Culture Chronicles (after her blog of the same name).

Rachel has been called the most influential writer in the metastatic breast cancer realm. Her posts are now part of her legacy. What made her blog so special? In a word, Rachel. Among other things, she was a gifted writer. Sometimes Rachel’s posts made me laugh. Sometimes they made me sad and yes, sometimes they made me angry. But one thing’s for certain, they always made me think.

Nancy has hit the nail on the head here! I felt exactly the same about Rachel’s writing from the first time I read her blog. Sometimes it made for uncomfortable reading, but her words could never be ignored.

In Remembering. Moving On Katie explains how in the year since Rachel’s death, she has moved further from the cancer community.

I do not think that Rachel’s legacy, or mine for that matter, ought to be how affected I am by life’s tragedies. I refuse to squander the very thing that Rachel worked so hard to keep.

Jackie honors Rachel’s memory by writing an exquisite poem for her. The title Sorry Business refers to Rachel’s home of birth, Austrlia. On the islands north of Australia, the mourning period is known as sorry business.

This week reminded us yet again of the ties that bind us, the theme of Stacey’s latest blog.  The standout message for me when reading this piece came towards the end when Stacey wrote “We’ve been forever linked by those words” (you have cancer) – a simple sentence but one that holds a world of meaning.

At the same time, the marvellous blogger, Scorchy who writes at The Scarcastic Boob has a thought-provoking piece on how those ties that bind can weaken as a divide appears between those who are termed “survivors” and those who are stage iv (but that’s a whole other topic!)

..beyond an initial diagnosis of breast cancer there isn’t an anchor that binds us anymore.  I empathize with them, but I can’t fully understand.  They empathize with me, but they can’t fully understand.  It is what it is.

An important point made in this terrific piece is that when you see how people react in the virtual world, it is no different from how they react in the real world. It brought home the point for me that it is more than cancer that connects us. The friends I have made online are not friends because of cancer, but because they are sensitive, caring, compassionate, funny and amazing women who I happened to meet on my cancer journey. (I think I feel a blog post coming on!)

So what else has been happening in the blogosphere?

Elaine is continuing with her pledge to write a haiku a day; Debbie is sharing a pep talk with us; Catherine has a fairy story with a difference;  Lois is decluttering and Lisa is celebrating the first day of the rest of her life.

Beth has an epiphany in Target of all places ( I am a sucker for Target when I visit the States) when she realizes she is enjoying an ordinary day. I really get this – it was the ordinary things I missed being able to do when I was laid low by chemo. It took cancer to teach me the beauty of such ordinary things and I try not to forget it now that I am caught up in the ordinary everyday again.

Ordinary is never a word I associate with Philippa”s everyday life and this week she has been enjoying the delights of Irrawaddy Literary Festival. Asalways she blows me away with an extra-ordinary image – this time it’s the romantically gorgeous picture she posts of a group listening to poetry as the sun sets on Inya Lake.

Terri sets off with her intrepid #Delhi2013 group next week, but she still has halfway to go with her fundraising, so please consider supporting Terri’s audacious adventure. Full details of how you can do this are on her Fresh Chapter blog.

A woman after my own heart, Audrey is advocating for a return to “heartful health and social care, heartful organisations to work in and a heartful society to be part of and contribute to. It’s a whole hearted/ whole system response we need. Now I’m up for making that happen…are you?”

Yvonne is opening up about the feelings of depression she has been ambushed by a year after her cancer treatment.  As cancer survivors, many of us have struggled with that unexpected feeling of depression and loneliness that surprises us after treatment is finished.The physical and emotional fallout of cancer treatment can contribute to feelings of anxiety and depression and I would like to see more awareness and help given to cancer survivors to prepare them to cope with this. I also feel we need to show the real face of cancer. As Eileen writes on her blog:

I went into treatment shaken but with a strong spirit, and came out bent over as one who’d become cancer’s bitch – physically, emotionally and financially battered. While I may be deemed cancer-free, truth be told, cancer kicked my ass. It didn’t kill me, but it whipped me.

While acknowledging the pain, Kari Ann writes that sometimes pain is the only teacher able to speak loudly enough to get our attention and urges us not to waste the lessons it teaches.

The good things in my life keep me going but the bad things bring me to my knees and force me to grow and change in ways beyond my comfort….If you go through something terrible and don’t learn anything from it, you are wasting your own heartache. I believe everything that happens in my life, good or bad, is meant to change and instruct me.

Finally,  let me introduce you to a new blog for the round-up – Jenn in her own words . Born in the USA, raised in New Zealand and now a citizen of Australia, Jenn started her blog a year after her diagnosis with early stage breast cancer. She writes that she feels she has “come late to the party” when it comes to blogging about breast cancer – but I think the “party” never really ends!

If I have missed your blog from the party that is the weekly round-up, then please add it to the comments below.

Until next week.

Yours with love

Marie xxx