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Decision Point Associated with Non-Small Cell, Lung Cancer. Posted on June 5, 2013 View this journey (10 Experiences)

Why I Built a Blog to Take on My Cancer Expedition
Cancer is a journey, but you walk the road alone. There are many places to stop along the way and get nourishment – you just have to be willing to take it. Emily Hollenberg Being diagnosed with cancer is similar to being socked in the face flat with a very large and brutal hammer. When I received my diagnosis, I actually experienced a partial seizure, sometimes known as a silent migraine- I saw lights, and felt as if I had been physically struck. Of course, the idiot general oncologist who delivered the news was not too experienced. He was new at the clinic and apparently new at the whole concept of working with cancer patients. I found out later that he had just been retained at that clinic. Nice try, son- but you could have done better. As I walked out of the building that cold November day, I remember snowflakes falling as I waited for my son, Chris to go get the car, and oddly I felt numb. After a couple of days of numbness I began to try to figure this whole situation out. I reached out for support from the professional community for lung cancer in this city. I had lots of support from my family and friends, but they had their own lives, and I was damned if I was going to burden them with all of it if I could handle this on my own. I did find that the Northeast Indiana Cancer Services organization offered some help along the lines of hair coverings (I wasn’t there yet) a patient advocate ( who could help you by listening- and that’s a lot!) and a wonderful library of books, CDs, and other materials to help you understand what was happening. However, there was no lung cancer support group in this city and I knew I not only needed support for my specific type of lung cancer. I also knew I needed a lung cancer specialist. I became very frustrated and angry that I could not find anyone to share my woes with..;-) Eventually, I found a lung cancer specialist in Indianapolis at the IU Simon Cancer Care Center, and I found support online at and these types of sites are ok if you want to read worst case scenarios. Sometimes you don’t. Sometimes, just to get through the day, denial works. So, I began my blog and here’s why I did so. 1) Kept me on an even keel - When I began to blog daily, I found that I could work out my feelings, and keep note of the things that were happening around me. I am a professional writer, so the idea of writing these events were in some ways second nature. I began the blog around the same time as I had started treatment and so it helped me work through some of the worst effects of that experience. On the other hand, being a professional business writer, who often has to assume the voice of others (ghostwriting) sometimes made it difficult to find my own voice. 2) Helped me find support - It appeared that people read the blog, and I found old friends who offered up support, and new friends who were in the same boat who said they could relate to my experiences. 3) Kept my friends and family up to date. - When a person is going through chemotherapy it doesn’t ever seem to be a priority to let everyone know about their pains, aches, and victories, so keeping the blog and posting it let those who wanted to know keep up to date and it lifted that burden from me. 4) Helped others - During the time that I wrote most often –at 3am in the morning, (insomnia was a big challenge for me during chemo) or when I was experiencing other problems that got in the way of chemo (after my first chemo treatment I ended up having a urinary infection and later had to have a root canal). None of these events were what I would call a party, but other people wrote to me and told me that it helped them to see someone writing the truth of their experience. 5) Kept me engaged in life - Cancer is the biggest mind game that you will ever encounter and unless you find a way to keep in the game of life, it can suck you into its web with negative feelings, worst case scenarios, and SWAGS (Scientific Wild XXX Guesses) so writing my blog kept me in the game of life and forced me to continue to do what I had always done as a participant in life, rather than just a survivor of life. After I went into remission, I stopped writing in my blog for a while. It felt strange, and as if I had lost part of the challenge-even though I knew that the battle was not over. Now, I am on maintenance Avastin every 21 days and have found there are challenges still. There are also leftover problems from the chemotherapy. I still have neuropathy, I have gained weight from the steroids that was prescribed during the chemo, and I am working towards getting myself active again. I am still writing, and I am still taking care of my grandsons. Once, I asked a group on LinkedIn that discussed keeping a journal if they thought there was much difference between that and keeping a blog and of course they had their opinions. Most felt that keeping a journal (since it is for your eyes only) can help a person get out the more gritty parts of an experience whatever it may be. I agree. But, this blog has saved me in all the ways I mentioned and more. It made me realize that even when times are dark and I am filled with pain and anger, there are still my words to tie me to the world. And a joke now and then doesn’t hurt either!

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  • swinginpoet's Avatar

    I am glad to hear that blogging has been helpful for you. My best friend was diagnosed with Lymphoma two months ago, and he also started a blog to chronicle his journey. I would argue that you don't have to travel that path alone - your readers, your friends and family, and everyone who supported you are on that same path, as am I and my friend and his support group. I'm about to go check out your blog, and I encourage you to read Joey's blog if you feel up to it. He's pretty good on getting a joke in there now and then to liven the mood (because what's not funny about cancer, right? haha). Check it out:

    over 7 years ago

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