Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Before Breast Cancer Blogging

Often, when pondering a new blog post, I ask myself why it is that I feel the need to write this blog.  It's a good question and one that deserves a little attention.  

When I was first diagnosed with breast cancer in April 2004, I don't think I'd  ever even heard the term "blog".  Or if I had, I'm quite sure I assumed it was another one of those nerdie-techie-type-things that would be of absolutely no interest to me.   But upon receiving my diagnosis,  I did feel the need very early on to communicate my experience in  a way that wasn't overwhelming emotionally, and highlighted all of what I thought was relevant information in a way that would predicate people's questions and avoid all of those wrought, awkward and repetitive one-on-one conversations.  

So I decided to start mass emailing.  I broke the news via an email, and then over the course of that year, sent out regular updates to friends, family and work colleagues describing my treatment and other details of my life as they came to pass. Today I found copies of all of those emails and thought I would publish them here for posterity.  (See "Winding Back the Clock to 2004").

It was strange reading them back over,  but it was interesting to reacquaint myself with that girl so vibrant and full of hope in the face of complete devastation and adversity.  After I read them through I concluded that girl hadn't quite connected emotionally with all that she was faced with, but then when you are in the moment you don't really have time to think too deeply, and adrenalin kicks in kindly allowing your mind to just get through it.  I think writing in quite a mechanical way was more about keeping my thoughts straight, staying relevant to my circle, but most importantly not wanting to cause other people to worry and trying to make them more comfortable with my situation.

My writing has certainly moved on from those dark days in 2004 when it seemed important to share my entire medical file and details of my treatment with everybody. Today I blog  as a way to vent frustrations and fears, to distill the manic thoughts in my brain, put some perspective to my unreal reality and share ironic moments in my life.   I no longer feel the need  to talk in too much gory detail, unless there's a laugh or two to be had, and maybe by writing this blog I'm still trying to comfort other people.

But you know what ?  It doesn't really matter why I write.  And it doesn't really matter whether it's any good or not.  Or whether anybody reads it.  What's important is that I DO write.  It means I still have a brain and a voice, despite it all.


  1. Anna, I just read this post and I love it. I blog for the same reasons, but had I found you a few months ago, I might not have started my own. I would just comment on yours since so much of it hits home. Thank you for so eloquently saying exactly what I was thinking.

  2. Thanks for your comment Stacey. I think we all have a unique perspective when it comes to this experience and the world is certainly big enough for all of us. Like I said in this post, what's important is that we DO write.


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