Weekly Round Up: The Independence Day 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’s been a really hectic time for me recently travelling for work, and I’ve missed putting the round-up together. I am looking forward to catching up on what’s been happening in your world.

Tami‘s latest post on expressing her vulnerability was one of the first posts on my catch-up list

It is not weak to not feel strong. In fact, it allows others to recognize their own vulnerabilities and compassion. It’s what makes us human.

I agree with Tami, but this week also showed the risks we face when we openly express our vulnerability. I  was so disheartened to read the reaction to Justine’s Huffington Post article on dealing with infertility – it demonstrated a lack of awareness and compassion for another’s pain and loss.  I am so sad that whenever we have the courage to share our truth honestly, we risk a barrage of ignorant and hurtful comments – the ugly side of communicating online. I am proud of Justine for how she handled the criticism and she continues to be a shining light for me in an online world that can hurt as much as it can heal. Do also read Chelseys beautiful post on writing a new script for her life and a new way to fulfil her dreams of motherhood.

And it’s not just online that we encounter ignorance, as Beth’s excellent post Seeking Independence From Ignorance demonstrates.   Thank you both for speaking out so eloquently.

Part of the time over the past few weeks’ travel was spent working with some pharmaceutical companies on their patient outreach initiatives, so it was interesting to discover Jen was engaged with similar activities. I also recognized some other patient advocates in her pictures, and I have to say how lucky the company were to have  such committed and passionate advocates to learn from.

I always seem to find myself reflected in Elizabeth’s writing. The Bittersweet Spot brought me back to my own teenage angst and a realization that a longing to belong is still a strong urge even now I am all grown-up. I also had a moment reading it, of heart-stopping pain, when I realized that since my mother’s death, my sense of belonging to my family is not as strong as it was.

Kaz has written a post on cancer fundraising which had my nodding my head vigorously in agreement. She writes of the constant barrage to support fundraisers, some of which are insensitive to the very people they aim to help. It’s an excellent piece and well-worth reading.

I was once more shocked and deeply saddened to learn of the death of another young woman from breast cancer. Just a short time after the death of JoJo, Rosie has passed away. Her husband Elliot has written an eloquent and searingly beautiful tribute to her here.  Sarah  and Rebecca both write of her death – the second friend they have lost in less than a month to this horrible disease.  Susanne also writes of the death of Sarah Merchant, and while I hadn’t come across her online, my heart is heavy to hear of her passing too.

Elsewhere in the blogosphere…

Renee writes of survivor guilt.

The Cancer Curmudgeon tackles the blame game in her latest post – as an interesting companion piece, do read Rebecca‘s take on this from a cultural perspective.

Debra raises awareness of the late effects of cancer treatment in the journal Evidence-Based Oncology.

Thoughts go out to Knot  and Susan as they face turbulent times ahead.

“We cancer patients are a study in contradictions. No simple answers are ripe for the picking.” I love these two lines written by Jan, as she compares her experience at two different cancer facilities.

Lisa explores the link between breast cancer and environmental toxins in her latest post.

Jess reflects on two-years after her breast cancer diagnosis at 27 years of age.

So sad to hear about Nancy‘s dog Elsie’s cancer. I know how much Elsie, your loyal grief and cancer witness and secret keeper means to you Nancy, and how hard this must be.  Similarly, Lulu has written of the pain of losing her beloved pet.

Bending Time – poignant poetry by Anna.

Thanks to Sarah for sharing this article on breast reconstruction Why ‘Living Flat’ Is an Acceptable Option.

Advice from Barbara on caring for hair during and after cancer treatment.

What’s in a name? Jackie writes poetically of her three different names.

Caroline touches on an issue that affects many of us. Cancer impacts on our ability to work, but we still need to make money. What can we do about this?

Happy times for Audrey as she celebrated the recent wedding of her son, and her political nomination both in her beloved city of Edinburgh.

Kate is celebrating her last chemo infusion and Chloe her first cancerversary.

I tried and failed to summarize Katy’s latest post, ostensibly about burns, but oh so much more about how life marks us all indelibly. Go read.

Catherine is such a wonderful story-teller that I always find myself transported by her stories. I loved catching up with her latest visit to her grandmother-in-law and the stories weaved around that visit.

Jenny eloquently captures the roller-coaster of living in post-cancer world; a theme also touched on by Carrie:

I thought when it was over, it would be over.  That life would go back to normal and slowly I would forget about the nightmare I have lived for the last eleven months.  I didn’t realize that is not the way it goes.  No one told me that when you book a trip to Cancerland, you stay for a very long time.  No one told me that it keeps going.

Meanwhile Becky‘s latest post on scanxiety is also a reminder of the fear that walks beside us all the time.

Dr Elaine Schattner writes of the rise of breast cancer in younger (and older) women.

Excellent post by Debbie on the role of therapy in “facing our demons”.

Uzma writes movingly of those who inspire her through their living courageously with metastatic breast cancer.

Some beautiful reminders in the blogosphere this week. First up, a reminder from Ann that there is no time-limit on our feelings;  next Jackie’s advice to celebrate our progress, no matter how small; followed by Ciel‘s reminder that Life doesn’t have to be perfect to be wonderful. Finally this week, I leave you with this reminder from Tracy to round-up this week’s musings.

The slate is never entirely blank, every cancer patient knows that, but it is clean enough to support the odd daydream and make little plans for the future. In a world where miracles are increasingly rare that is miracle enough for me.

Until next week,

Happy Independence Day wherever you are and whatever you are seeking liberation from,

Yours with love

Marie xxx