Reflections On My Sixth Blogoversary

6thbirthday1

This day six years ago I started Journeying Beyond Breast Cancer with the aim of coming to a greater understanding of the impact of a cancer diagnosis as we journey beyond the treatment phase.  I started out by sharing my own story, and it took me some time to find my voice and my place in this community. At first, I thought I was going to write about how the experience had enriched my life (rather than to admit any other darker truths). My intention at the start was for this blog to be about hope for as a young woman newly diagnosed with cancer, I only wanted to hear that there would be a good outcome to all of this. But over the past six years of writing, as I struggled to come to terms with infertility (a legacy of cancer treatment) and the death of my beloved mother from a brain tumor, I could no longer write that cancer was a life-affirming, positive experience. Cancer robs you of so many precious things, leaves your spirit broken, and your hopes and dreams shattered.

And yet today I firmly believe that we should not stay stuck in this place forever. We need to find a way to journey from our dark places toward the light. How we do this will be different for each of us; but do it we must. 

Over the past few years I’ve come to understand the universality of the themes of grief, loss, gratitude and compassion which unites us – not just because of cancer, but because of all life challenges.  If I was asked to sum up Journeying Beyond Breast Cancer today I would say it’s about sharing our stories in a safe and nurturing space. For me it’s all about community; not being afraid to show our vulnerability and reaching out to each other. To quote writer Sally Brampton:

We get so conditioned not to show our natural frailty that we forget that vulnerability is a precious thing. It’s what makes us human. It is what heals us because it is connection and not separation that makes us whole. Life is about connection. There is nothing else.

And a final quote (you know how much I love my quotes!)

Gravity and sadness yank us down, and hope gives us a nudge to help one another get back up or to sit with the fallen on the ground, in the abyss, in solidarity ~ Anne Lamott

I hope that this continues to be a space for you to find a measure of comfort and support on your own journeys whatever they may be – and my deepest gratitude to all of you who have journeyed with me thus far.