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.

As we come close to the finishing line for the WEGO Health Activist Writer’s Month I am sorry to say my commitment has waned, but thankfully others stuck with it and so we have some wonderful writing this week from The Pink Underbelly, Yvonne Watterson, Audrey Birt and Renn.

As Philippa continues to mourn the death of her father in her native Scotland, she writes beautifully of her emotions at this time, in words that really resonated for me.

These are strange days, ones of some kind of unseen transition.  A transition in the emotional sense. I am caught off-guard by unexpected tears, prompted by something unknown yet powerful. I feel an abrupt shift in my foundations.  The psychological rock upon which I stand has been shaken and I find myself stumbling, a little uncertain and unclear of my path.

One of the stumbling blocks that many bloggers writing about cancer come up against is what to do with their blog as they move further away from the cancer experience. Many of us have written about this changing identity and need to refocus in our writing lives. This week it is Andrew‘s turn and Florence also admits to a case of bloggers block. I am really interested in this question of what motivates us to keep on blogging and I think it is something I would like to explore further with you at some point in the future. In the meantime I welcome your thoughts on the topic here.

For me, it is the sense of community which we have created through our blogs that keeps me motivated to keep on blogging –  and this is wonderfully expressed in Jackie’s guest post for #BCSM on community:

Telling stories, offering comfort and advice, sharing the highs and lows, being there for each other, both online and offline. If that’s not a community, I don’t know what is.

Jackie also writes that true communities rejoice and grieve together, and this came home to us this week as Jody Schoger  a driving force in #BCSM revealed her cancer has come back. Our thoughts are with Jody as she faces a second round in the ring with cancer.

We’ve seen how transformational and powerful Twitter communities such as #BCSM are – they have created a new path for others to follow – so I am excited to introduce you to a new Twitter community – Health Care Social Media Buddy Mentoring #hcsmbm.  The idea behind it is to work together as an online community to develop a buddy mentoring system to help those who are in need of  assistance to navigate social media sites for health care information. It is very much in its early stages but if you want to learn more about what it’s all about, head on over to Vanessa Reid’s blog to find out more.

Many of you referred to Peggy Orenstein’s New York Times article “Our Feel Good War on Breast Cancer” in your tweets and blogs this week. It is a topic that elicits a very vocal and passionate response. MBC secretary, Katherine O’Brien has provided a helpful summary of the contents of the article.

When you have read Peggy’s article, head on over to Beth’s blog and read her poem “Sweet Talk”. It provides the perfect poetic accompaniment.

If I die from this disease

Is it because I didn’t appease

your stereotype,

your noble made-for-TV-movie-heroine,

a smiling stereotypical sufferer?

Liza Bernstein has been sharing her experience of Tamoxifen and its unpleasant side-effects – something that isn’t talked about as openly as perhaps it should be. And it seems to have been the week for discussing things more openly – Laura Price writing about survivor guilt; Jan writing movingly and honestly about the true realities of living with stage IV cancer; Dr Ann Becker Schutte on coping with health stigma; Eileen about the strain cancer puts on relationships; Chris sharing the male perspective of changing body image with cancer (read Pasha’s wonderful words on body and self-image) and Debbie on feeling sexy after cancer;  Scorchy about the physical pain of cancer and Nancy about a topic that many of us may think but not speak about – does having cancer actually make you a better person? I don’t think it does makes us necessarily better people – I pretty much think our personalities stay the same – but one thing I do think can change, is that we can find a new way of looking at our lives, and/or exploring new possibilities. Yvonne Newbold writes of this in her blog:

For many of us, new opportunities open up that would never have been possible without a cancer diagnosis…Without cancer, I would never have written this blog, which is now read by people all over the world, many of whom have become really supportive online friends. Without this blog, I wouldn’t ever had the chance virtually dropped into my lap to turn it into a stage play, with me also being able to play the title role. Now how exciting is that?

In the search to find meaning in the cancer experience – check out the video of Wendy Lichtenthal, a clinical psychologist at Memorial Sloan-Kettering shared on The Anti-Cancer Club blog – many of us have turned to the creative arts like Sarah’s oil painting which represents her journey with cancer.

Finally, I often say that while my blog is about cancer, it is also very much about life so I really identify with this quote from Terri Wingham’s blog:

Whether or not you have survived cancer, life is never perfect. There are plenty of reasons each of us struggles to drag our egos or emotions or even our physical bodies off the couch and find a dream that will keep us going.

Until next week, keep on dreaming…

Yours with love

Marie xxx