15 Reasons Writing a Blog Makes you an Asshole

Last week I jumped on the 15 Random Things About Me blogwagon.  That was fun and I learned some things about many of the bloggers I follow.  Hence the blatant theft of the idea/title.

Today I had a light bulb moment when I was put out with someone and thought darkly “Don’t you KNOW I have a blog?”  I may or may not have offered him some free social media publicity if things were not resolved in my favor.   I thought it was just possible having a blog was making me kind of …. well… an asshole.

About a month ago I was in a snit because someone who should have been the mature person in the conversation, ie. not me, because he held a position of authority out sarcasmed me.  How DARE you, sir? Keep it up and you’ll be in the next blog.

I have blogged about things that bother me with little regard to the person I’m raking over the coals, though I do thinly disguise their identity.

I have taken Walmart, the Susan Komen Foundation, the clerk at the monument store, my doctors and the hospital where I was treated to task just to name a few.   With the exception of Walmart, I never would have said all the things I did in person, given the chance.   It’s easy to hide behind a computer screen (and be an asshole).

I know that’s not 15 things and if you are keeping count, who’s the asshole now?

On a more serious note, two weeks or so ago I had a moment of feeling sorry for myself at the tail end of a block of time I like to refer to as my personal 6 weeks of helliversary.. June 1 through July 10.  The blog post was entitled “My Reality” . I unlinked the post from FB. I  didn’t want my family and friends reading it and feeling guilty. I just really needed to vent.  A good friend did read it (honestly..I was shocked.. I thought family/friends only read this blog when I shoved it down their throats on FB) and commented in a private group.  I got a lot of support and several supportive comments here on the blog as well. But after a good night sleep I felt really uncomfortable.  I realized if I didn’t want the people I loved reading it, I shouldn’t be putting it out there so I deleted it.  I do want to acknowledge the bloggers that offered support.  I read your words and you made me cry. Nice job 😉

How has writing a blog changed how you present yourself to the world?  Does knowing anyone can read your words make you choose them more carefully or do you care if you offend?  Do you feel a responsibility to your readers to be authentic even if that means being an asshole occasionally?

Six month stay of elocution.

How does one end a blog? Do you just stop blogging or make some formal announcement?  I started this blog as a way to wrap my head around my diagnosis/treatment (a sort of self -therapy if you will) as well as to keep friends and family in the know without endless facebook updates. I would post a link to FB and those that wanted to could be informed.  What I didn’t expect to happen was finding a whole cyber community of other cancer patients/survivors/caregivers and genuinely wanting to keep up with them.  I never expected anyone outside my circle of family and friends to find, much less follow this blog.  That was kind of cool 🙂  I could just shift focus and blog about other things, but somehow now that I am done active treatment that just seems self-indulgent. At least on a blog that was specifically started to talk about breast cancer.  

So one final update.. I saw the oncologist yesterday and was given a clean bill of health. My tether has been lengthened to 6 months before my next check and the next time I have anything to report!

I’m going to continue to follow and comment on the blogs of the amazing folks I have met here in the blogosphere and who knows? I may decide I have something to blog about down the road but for now.. thanks for following along and all the support. 

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Happy merry whatever you celebrate.

OReilly-WOX

I get a chuckle out of people that wish Merry Christmas defiantly like a big FU with your holiday cheer. The imaginary “war on Christmas” is silly. For instance, how can a business possibly know what their customers believe/celebrate? It makes good sense to be all inclusive. My wishes for all of you to have a safe, healthy and happy holiday season are sincere and while I won’t go out of my way to offend, I also won’t get too hung up on whether I am giving the “proper” greeting. Likewise, if you extend good wishes to me, I won’t get hung up on your choice of words, but will appreciate the sentiment behind them. I guess if your biggest gripe is someone wishing you Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas when babies are being gunned down in cold blood, people are dying from preventable diseases and folks are homeless and hungry, you are pretty blessed. Mazel Tov.

I had an anniversary of sorts yesterday. One year of blogging. I know this because Word Press sent me a notification. I decided to wait until today to mention it in case the Mayans were right and no one would be alive to read it. I took a quick glance through my oldest posts. I started out so earnest and hopeful but it didn’t take long for the f-bombs to make an appearance. I’m sure certain relatives especially enjoyed that. Who would complain? I had cancer.

I’ve sat down to blog just about every day and instead spent my time reading the blogs that I follow. My morning coffee with the girls. lovecoffee I haven’t had a lot to say. We are kind of just going through the motions this holiday season. Honestly, I’ll be glad to see the back side of 2012.

Grit and Grace


Last night we saw the Glen Campbell Farewell Tour at the beautiful Merrill Auditorium in Portland, Maine.   The show was opened by two of his children who are part of a trio calling themselves Victoria Ghost.  The three of them, along with another son (the drummer) are also part of his band.  Amazing talented offspring.   If you were not aware that Glen was suffering from Alzheimer’s you might think he had had a little too much to drink. It made me sad thinking about how many times he may have humiliated himself and his family before the diagnosis, how many fans may have turned away, at least temporarily. With the help of teleprompters he remembered most of his lyrics. When he got stuck the audience would sing along or he would turn to one of his children.  He mentioned he was in Portland, Maine at the beginning but then kept giving shout outs to Portland, Oregon.  To be fair, I’ve seen other performers make mistakes like that, simple slips of the tongue that can be expected when you wake up in a different city every day.   I have to admit, before I saw him,  my cynical side was wondering exactly who this tour was for. If he was so far gone into his disease, how could it be for him? Would he even remember?  Were his handlers just trying to make a few more bucks off this legend while they could?  Seeing how his family cared for him on stage and how genuinely happy he was to be there dispelled all of that.  His kids and the rest of the band handled his gaffes with humor and grace. They gently brought him back to the moment.  He joked around about his memory, he teased his daughter and was wife who was off stage.  He just beamed with pride at all of them.   He sang all of the favorites; Galveston, Rhinestone Cowboy, By the Time I Get to Phoenix, Wichita Lineman, Gentle on my Mind and some I hadn’t heard in years like Where’s the Playground, Suzie?.   Two that were really powerful were True Grit (he claims he made John Wayne look so good he won him the Oscar!) and It’s Your Amazing Grace.

True Grit

One day, little girl, the sadness will leave your face
As soon as you’ve won the fight to get justice done
Someday little girl you’ll wonder what life’s about
But other’s have known few battles are won alone
So, you’ll look around to find
Someone who’s kind, someone who is fearless like you
The pain of it will ease a bit When you find a man with true grit

One day you will rise and you won’t believe your eyes
You’ll wake up and see, A world that is fine and free
Though summer seems far away
You will find the sun one day

It’s Your Amazing Grace

Everything I have in this world
I give it to you
Everything I see in this world
I see it through you, oh yes I do

You’re all that’s in my heart
You’re all that’s in my head

You know I believe this
That your amazing grace
It’s your amazing grace
Yes it is

I hold my head in my hands and I cry
When I think of you
Amazing grace
Keeps us together

You’re all that’s in my heart
You’re all that’s in my head

You know I believe this
That your amazing grace
It’s your amazing grace
Yes it is

I hold my head in my hands and I cry
When I think of you
Amazing grace
Keeps us together

When I started this blog, the first thing I did was seek out blogs of other women going through breast cancer. There were many. And then I found blogs of caregivers, men with cancer, mothers blogging about their children with cancer, women with cancers that are largely ignored while they are constantly  bombarded with breast cancer awareness.  I cannot start my day until I check in and read what is happening in their lives, how they are doing with treatment or how life is beyond treatment.  They run the gamut from heart wrenching, funny, inspirational,  uplifting, sarcastic and cynical.  One thing they all have in common is true grit and grace and I’m so happy I’ve found them.

A fine line between educating yourself and making yourself crazy.

When I first found a lump, before I even saw my GP, I became a googling fool.  With each progressive test and referral it became a near obsession.  I’m sure I’m not unique in this. In fact, although I never mentioned my nocturnal forays into the darkest reaches of the internet to my doctors, they all said something to the effect of  “don’t spend all your time on the internet” “try to stick with sites that give accurate information” (I was given a pre approved list at this point) and later on.. “don’t listen to well meaning friends who have been through chemo. Their experience won’t necessarily be your’s” (and hasn’t that been the truth?!). But just like when a woman becomes pregnant for the first time and wants to immerse herself in stories of pregnancy, labor and motherhood.. you can’t always filter the information so all  you hear about  are the great experiences, perfect patient/doctor relationships, spouses and family that support without fail and happy endings.  Even while inwardly cringing and wondering at the motives of a person who will share tales of 36 hour labors, nurse Cratchets that took glee in their misery, babies who cried 24 hours a day for 2 years straight.. you still can’t help listening.  And researching. And comparing.  Since my diagnosis, surgery, chemotherapy, and impending radiation I have clocked plenty of google time. I’m not sure why I continue to and what I expect to find today that I didn’t find last Thursday.  

This isn’t new behavior for me.  Even before I had access to the internet.   There was a time that I worked as a medical transcriptionist out of my home. I worked for many different disciplines, including cardiology, family medicine, obstetrics, ENT and later psychology and psychiatry.  When I started out I would recognize myself in the patient’s list of symptoms.  The more unusual and obscure the more likely I was to be experiencing the same thing.  I didn’t bother to see a physician regularly during this time.. I had the power to diagnose myself!  I would type along, anxious to get to the diagnostic part of the report and find out exactly what was wrong with me.  Of course nothing was wrong with me and I knew that, but it was easy at times to “go there”.  Compare yourself to someone else based on a handful of similarities.   If have the same diagnosis and treatment plan as another patient and she terribly sick with the chemo, will I be?  If I’m not does that mean the chemo isn’t working? What if it’s the wrong dose?   If someone with my exact diagnosis who did the same treatment has a recurrence 3 years down the road, is that my future?  Why is my hair coming back while still on chemo while someone else’s has made no appearance 3 months after stopping? I’m sure that means mine is going to fall out again, right?  

It’s honestly crazy making, but on the other hand, comforting in some way or we wouldn’t do it.  Btw.. I stopped trying to diagnose myself about the time I switched from medical to psychiatry.  Now I only diagnose friends and family.

All quiet on the Eastern front.

Haven’t had anything to really blog about.  Life feels nearly “normal” right now. Working on taxes, enjoying some nice weather (even hung out laundry for the first time this season – really.. it’s the little things) .   And in typical Maine fashion the day after it was nice enough to hang laundry it snowed!   The ground is once again white but in March that’s what’s known as sugar snow. The sap will really start to flow now.  We enjoyed a night out with friends over the weekend and spent some time with our girls on Sunday.  Last night I had a glass of wine  and watched the drama on American Idol (total guilty pleasure.. AI and the Voice!)  Though I haven’t had much to say I have continued to check in a few times a day and read. Some of the blogs have brought a smile, some have been informational and one nearly broke my heart.  It’s funny how fast I have become attached to a group of ladies I will probably never meet and I wouldn’t dream of not checking in regularly to see what they are up to, how their latest tests have come out and what’s next for them.   I guess it shouldn’t surprise me… I have forged other cyber friendships over the years…  but it always does.  Keep blogging ladies.  Even if I don’t always comment I’m listening.

50/50

Not the movie, though I did end up seeing that and it was okay. Not the tear jerker I expected. Or maybe I’ve toughened up over the last few months. Could be. What I’m talking about are my odds of finding the write right word when I’m trying to get a thought out. I’ve always had a way with backward talking (I’m the only person I know with myface and spacebook accounts) but I always catch myself as the wrong word is slipping out. Lately who the hell knows what I’ve been babbling about?  Chemo brain?  I’m not sure if that’s even a real thing (as in medically acknowledged – trust me, I know it’s real!)  or an urban legend.   Another good term  is brain fog.  I started another blog and I’m not sure why. I got as far as naming it. Now I have to keep checking to make sure I’m in this one when I post something.  I think I was going to blog about ebay.  It’s becoming a pita to have to keep switching over and that one remains blank.  I could probably combine them, but that would take effort. Bah.  I’ll get to it.  In the meantime it’s taking me all day to accomplish the smallest thing. Like laundry. Reading is nearly impossible and watching a television program sometimes takes more than one time through if I care enough to follow the storyline.   Today I grocery shopped and was quite impressed that I remembered (almost) everything and with no list!  Then I realized I left the house with no eyebrows. FML.