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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No more pink ribbons for me.

My new gravatar depicts perfectly how I felt when I read the following blog last night http://ihavebreastcancerblog.wordpress.com/2012/01/31/shame-shame-shame-on-susan-g-komen/  and how angry I still feel with the Susan G Komen foundation.  While I’ve never been a fan of the ribbon, I have been a fan of any organization that works hard to raise money for cancer research and supports early detection screenings. Not just breast cancer, but for all cancer.  However, no cancer seems to get as much press as breast cancer.  Not even children’s cancer and that has always troubled me.  When October rolls around and the whole world turns pink I wonder if people affected by other types of cancer feel any resentment? I think I would in their shoes.  But I digress.. the reason for this rant is the fact that the foundation, who has been providing funding to Planned Parenthood, has pulled that funding based on the personal ideology of their new VP of public policy, a one Karen Handel who actually once ran for Governor of Georgia on a platform of defunding Planned Parenthood. I have to wonder if she took this job soley to fulfill her own twisted agenda.  And I also have to wonder why the rest of the organization is going along with it. The monies given to Planned Parenthood by SGK were for early breast cancer detection. Not for abortions. Not for birth control. But to provide women who might otherwise have no way to get it,  breast cancer screening.  I don’t care what your political or religious views are and I won’t bore you with mine, but I am sick to death of women’s healthcare being held hostage by the rantings of extremists. Conservatives don’t want the government to pay for healthcare, yet they want to dictate how nonprofits handle their funding?   It’s crazy making.   In the future when asked to sponsor someone in the “walk for a cure” I will politely decline and make a donation to Planned Parenthood instead.  Join me?

And now I am putting to rest my ribbon. I can support breast cancer research without festooning myself and my house in pink ribbons.  You can too.

Look good, feel better? Not so much.

Today I went to the Cancer Center to participate in the Look Good, Feel Better program. First, let me start by praising the program and the volunteers.  The volunteers give freely and generously of their time and were so friendly and upbeat.  They gave skin care and make up demonstrations.  (Apparently I have been doing it wrong for 35 + years). They even cut and styled two wigs.  We all left with make up and skin care products worth well over $200.00, donated by top brands. So what’s the problem you ask?  I went into this feeling pretty good.  When I looked around my heart kind of sank. Many of the other women looked like.. well… cancer patients.  Maybe I’m delusional and I do, too, but I really don’t think so.  And then, as women do, everyone started chatting.  There were the usual pleasantries, but a lot of talk of diagnoses, treatment and prognosis.  Not much of it was very positive. One lady asked me how I dealt with depression and I answered honestly that I haven’t experienced any (yet?).  She looked kind of skeptical.   Before we left one woman asked if I attended the support groups at the center.  They are held one Wednesday evening a month and I had thought about maybe going in the spring.  I’m not fond of driving all that way in the winter, at night.  Now, I’m rethinking that. Maybe I’m the world’s most selfish breast cancer patient but if today was any indication of what those meetings would be like, I cannot see myself voluntarily sitting through them.  I just can’t surround myself with cancer and sadness, depression and anger.  I was told if I ever have blood drawn or go to the ER to be sure to identify myself as a cancer patient and I kind of bristled at that.  Yes. I have cancer. I also have green eyes, a tendency to migraines and an irreverent sense of humor. None of those things on their own define me.  I refuse to be defined by a temporary medical condition and I don’t want to be around people who define themselves that way.  On the other hand.. as soon as I started this blog, I immediately searched for other blogs about breast cancer, chemotherapy, women with cancer.. and I follow several.  Not all are cheerful every day, but all make me smile or comment. Most of the bloggers that I follow are hopeful and see the humor in the same things I do.  Some are very spiritual and I find comfort in reading their words.  Some are brutally honest about not so great medical results, but not one has ever left me feeling so dark and sad as that meeting today. I can’t explain it but then I’ve never claimed to make sense.

I don’t know what I expected to get out of today. It seemed kind of rude to turn down such a generous offer and I thought it might be fun. Some of it was, but I left carrying the little red makeup bag that identified me as a cancer patient in case anyone needed clarification, a headache and a lump in my throat. And my wig was choking me.

Words Matter

Words of support and encouragement from friends and family mean so much and I’ve been blessed with so much support from family and friends and even casual acquaintances.  Emails, cards, phone calls, message board posts and Facebook messages that seem to come just when you need a lift.

But the words from your health care providers are the ones you hang onto and I have been as blessed with my medical team as I am with family and friends. Being referred to as healthy when you are being treated for cancer, being told you did nothing to cause this, reminded of your (relative) youth, not being talked down to, feeling like  you are in control of your own healthcare all help you to feel like a person with cancer instead of a cancer patient.  That might seem like a small distinction, but to me it’s huge. And it matters.