Blogging Your Way Through Cancer

Blogs about personal experiences, such as cancer, can be therapeutic for both writers and readers.
JEN SOTHAM
PUBLISHED: JANUARY 03, 2017
Talk about this article with other patients, caregivers, and advocates in the Skin cancer CURE discussion group.
WHEN 39-YEAR-OLD STEVEN RICK was diagnosed with metastatic melanoma earlier this year, he decided to “go public” with his diagnosis on Facebook. While the outpouring of love and support was bolstering, Rick says, it was also overwhelming.

“As an educator and coach, I had 16 years of relationships that all came back to me in an instant,” he says. “Despite my best attempts to keep up with private messages, I didn’t have the time or energy to individualize my responses to people that genuinely cared about me.”

Thus, Steven’s blog, Declaring War on Metastatic Melanoma, was born.

One of the most difficult aspects of navigating a cancer diagnosis is learning how to manage your time. Cancer is a full-time job. When you add a “cancer to-do list” to your pre-existing “just plain life to-do list,” every minute counts and is accounted for. Whether you tell your inner circle of friends and family or the whole of your social media community, once you’ve shared your diagnosis, the onslaught of messages commences.

This is a good thing, as the support of friends and family is critical for someone living with cancer. However, the very last thing a patient with cancer wants to do after a long day of scans or radiation, or if in the throes of chemotherapy side effects, is answer 20 messages or have 20 different versions of the same conversation. Communicating about your cancer properly is not only time consuming, but is emotionally exhausting, especially on days when the news isn’t good.

Through blogging, Rick has found, “I’m much more in control of when, how and why I update people on my journey. I was receiving text messages and Facebook posts daily ...‘How are you feeling today? How did your appointment go? Are you having any side effects?’ Those requests have subsided since I started my blog ... most people just wait for a new post and have respected the fact that I may only update my blog once a week.”

Keeping people updated is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to a blog’s benefit. In fact, maintaining a blog can have a profound effect on the dialogue between a patient and the individuals in his or her support system. When people have cancer, it is the tendency of those around them to make all conversation about “the cancer.” This deprives the person living with the illness of the chance to have normal conversations. If caregivers or close friends have already read the latest blog post to answer their questions and alleviate some of their concerns, their loved one can have the opportunity to not talk about cancer for a change. Or, perhaps even more importantly, the door will be open for discussion of the illness on a deeper level.



Talk about this article with other patients, caregivers, and advocates in the Skin cancer CURE discussion group.
x-button
 
CURE wants to hear from you! We are inviting you to Share Your Story with the readers of CURE. Submit your personal experience with cancer by visiting Share Your Story
 
Not yet receiving CURE in your mailbox? Sign up to receive CURE Magazine by visiting GetCureNow.com