Weekly Round Up: The Crowning Glory Edition

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.

It seems like hair has been very much on your minds this week in the blogosphere.  Beth Caldwell has written a brilliant piece on chemo-induced hair loss, while Jackie shows off her new elfin hair-look complemented by some snazzy hats and there’s more fab headgear modelled by Dawn.  Meanwhile Jen shows off her hair growth and some gorgeous family portraits. And another hair-related post by Elizabeth which ends with this important reminder:

So please, please, please when one of your loved ones or even yourself loses hair as a result of chemo and is feeling sad about it, think twice before saying, “This shouldn’t bother you.” If it bothers you, it bothers you. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t. What should be is not relevant to this particular situation.

And a celebration of hair by Teresa with these words:

Now at age 59, all vestiges of past colors, the highlights and lowlights are gone. My hair is silver, like a precious metal with a bold white stripe right in front. Since that day I found my first clump of hair, more like a dust bunny than something human, I decided that as long as I had hair, any color or style, I would not have a “Bad hair” day. Now I allow the strands to rebel finding their own direction, as I have also learned to do.

I’ve been thinking, talking, and writing a lot lately about the role of story in medicine. One of the points I’ve made is how our blogs are a place to tell our story even if that story doesn’t fit a conventional narrative of breast cancer. Reading a recent post by the Cancer Curmudgeon reinforced that point so well for me:

I’ve been doing some soul searching, thinking about why I blog, what I hope to achieve, etc., lately. I know I cannot offer counsel or advice, only a testimony of cancer as I see it, with the idea that if anyone sees cancer in some of the same way, they are comforted they are not alone in their views that are not exactly the “norm”. Because during and after treatment, I often thought, “am I the only one that thinks…”

And then I read this by Katy:

I didn’t tell the story I was supposed to tell. I didn’t tell the story of triumph over adversity–I never told that story, not even before my recurrence. I never told the story about how cancer changed my life and made me a better person and gave me a wake up call….The breast cancer narrative that our society believes in is not the same as the one that is true. The cancer I’ve written about, all the different difficult things I’ve talked about that aren’t related to cancer, none of it is the story I was supposed to tell.

Powerful stuff!

Picking up the theme of cancer as a gift Nancy tackles the question on her blog this week and makes it clear where she stands on it.

Elsewhere in the blogosphere…

An interesting report by Medivizor on a study into using mindfulness to combat the psychological distress of infertility.

Sometimes we just need a vacation from cancer – and that’s just what Eileen has done.

Philippa is in a reflective mood as the year moves towards a close.

Very helpful post by Stacey on coping with anxiety after cancer.

The annual San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium is taking place and for the latest news do won’t want to miss Dr Elaine Schattner in Forbes.

Tammy shares sad news about the death of Terri. It’s always so damned awful when we lose another virtual friend to this dreadful disease.

So interesting to read about a cancer diagnosis from the doctor’s point of view shared by Uzma on her blog.

Rachel is recovering from her latest surgery.

Some sobering thoughts on alcohol from both Caroline Lee and Sarah.

Have you heard of #bccww? It’s a breast cancer information and support chat primarily based in the UK, but open to everyone with an interest in breast cancer. Alice, one of its founders, shares the story behind the community in her blog this week.

I love how Beth took a recent question I posed on our illness styles and took it a step further into the realm of survivorship style – it’s a great piece well worth reading today. And as companion pieces, check out Debbie’s podcast on cancer surviorship and Caroline’s call for more research into the long term effects of cancer.

Living not waiting? An incredibly moving poem by Audrey this week. And Sometimes – another touching poem by Anna.

Fiona’s post on brain fog will resonate with the chemo-brained among us.

Renn rejoins the blogosphere on the fourth anniversary of her breast cancer diagnosis. Even at this remove the shock of that day is palpable.

And another warm welcome back to the blogosphere to Laura Price and an update on where she’s at.

Read the Breast Cancer Consortium Quarterly.

An interesting read on the BRCA Responder about Amy’s tireless advocacy work.

Claudia ponders breast reconstruction decisions.

Finally this week, many of you are getting in the festive spirit. Catherine has been hand-making some cute Christmas stockings for herself and her beloved; Flo asks readers to share their favorite Holiday memory; the appropriately named Holly shows us how to decorate a Christmas table; Advocates For Breast Cancer have some restful holiday images displayed on their blog;  Nicole shares her holiday playlist; Yvonne, a picture of her fabulous Christmas tree; both Tami and Barbara urges us to embrace the season, and not take its blessings for granted; and finally for those who find Christmas stressful or difficult in any way Sharon offers some sound advice.

Until next week,

Yours with love

Marie xxx