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.

I want to start off this week with a very powerful post by Scorchy who believes it’s time we stopped “romanticizing” cancer through ideas of bravery and survival skill.

Breast cancer patients are no braver, stronger, or aesthetically pleasing than anyone else who must experience this dreadful disease. And remember that many with metastatic disease have no outward signs that they have breast cancer. And we need to stop putting women on pedestals, for as soon as a woman stands there she loses her identity. She is reduced to her being identified with her body parts or how she appears to the senses. She becomes a scar, an implant, a loss. I am much more than that. We are much more than that. It is time that we demanded nothing less.

“I thought I knew everything that could happen to me on this cancer journey”, writes Ismena, but it seems cancer has another surprise for her this week, when she wakes up with paralysis in her face. Please join with me in sending some healing thoughts her way.

Ismena knows the reality of what Jody calls “another rite of passage of the metastatic underworld: familiarity with emergency rooms. Emergencies in metastatic illness can happen quickly.”

Are you confused by the conflicting advice we hear about mammography? I know I am! Perhaps reading this post at Breast Cancer Action may help and also check out  this excellent post  by Lisa DeFerrari which distills the take home message of the latest studies.

How exciting to see a preview of the front cover of Yvonne Newbold’s book on parenting a special needs child. Yvonne is the mother of three young people, all with disabilities, and she also has Stage IV Breast Cancer. She still manages to keep her sense of humour and her head above water and this book is a testament to her indomitable spirit.

And speaking of books.. congratulations Nancy to getting your book, “Getting Past The Fear”  into print. I know this book will of great practical benefit to anyone starting chemotherapy. If you’d like to win a copy of the book, check out Nancy’s blog.

An insightful and thought-provoking blog by Irene Ogrizek on “the cognitive dissonance of operating at cross purposes with a healthcare system that was systematically lying to us”. 

It is distressing to read Knot Telling’s experience of being failed by her doctor. I wish I could say this is an isolated case, but sadly it is not. Beth wrote recently of her upsetting experience with one of her doctors, and I too have had some dreadful experiences with doctors in the past few years. These encounters leave wounds which are invisible to everyone else, but nevertheless scar us for life.

Katie shares some thoughts upon reading David Brooks’ OpEd on suffering,  in the New York Times. Jackie Fox had alerted alerted me to this piece and if you have already read it, it’s certainly worth a read. “Recovering from suffering”, writes Brooks, ” is not like recovering from a disease. Many people don’t come out healed; they come out different.”

Read Philippa’s beautiful poem remembering her father on the first anniversary of his death and Jackie is remembering her friend Pam on her second anniversary with love.

Justine’s latest post, Mourning What Should Have Been,  really touched me on  a deep level; she writes about the pain of infertility, but her observations are relevant to so many of our challenges in life. The legacy of cancer is loss. We mourn the loss of hair, the loss of breasts, the loss of our identity (the Beauty Despite Cancer blog tackles this topic of maintaining your identity through cancer). Our losses are individual as we are, and as Justine writes: ” who are we to judge or question one’s grief around these sufferings or losses? Who are we to judge one for how they mourn their should have beens? Who are we to dare ask, “When are you going to get over it?”

Catherine’s next scan to find out the progress of cancer is looming and she is contemplating putting it off so she can enjoy the excitement of launching her book, and the every-day pleasures of life with her husband.

The wonderful #BCSM chat has been going for three years now and has been an incredible success. To continue serving the needs of the community, they would like you to take part in a short survey. More details here.

Very interesting to read the evaluation of “chemo-brain” on Diane’s blog and for more on the topic check out Anne Marie’s blog too. While not cancer related, Fiona also writes on her blog of her experience with chemo fog as a result of ME.

As someone who is in love with words, I really enjoyed Tric’s post on the topic. If you want to learn two uniquely Irish words for yourself, go read her blog now.

Elsewhere in the blogosphere…

A thoughtful post by the Cancer Geek on the value of time in healthcare and similarly, Medivizor expands on the topic of doctors needing to understand patients’ health beliefs.

Excellent advice from Eileen on maintaining bone health.

Dr Elaine Schnatter reports on the latest research for women with metastatic breast cancer.

Some good tips on coping with sexual dysfunction after cancer on the Facing Cancer website and tips on dealing with the fear of recurrence on the Living Beyond Breast Cancer blog.

Gai Comans shares the story of what led her to create her two-part guide for breast cancer survivors. If you haven’t already done so, download your free copy of Part One and Part Two today.

A powerful plea by Jan to support cancer research.

Advice for those of us who deal with insomnia from Dr Edwin Kruys.

Both stemgirl and Jackie continues to share the lessons they are learning on their journey with cancer.

Helen shares her advice for those dealing with lymphoedema.

Check out these delightful views of Victoria’s Versaille garden in spring-time.

Lisa is writing about the friendships we forge online – and how bittersweet these can be.

A call to action by Audrey to her Scottish compatriots.

I’d like to finish this week with some words from Elizabeth’s blog on putting the pieces of our life back together again after cancer:

Life has pieces that change. Life has pieces that need to be replaced. Life has pieces that are lost and cannot be replaced. But my life is whole and I belong here.

Until next week.

Yours with love

Marie xxx