Perk # 67: Cancer Made A Blogger Out Of Me

I can hardly believe that nearly a year has passed since I was diagnosed with breast cancer; a year which I can only describe as an emotional roller coaster.  Like most people when diagnosed with a life threatening illness, I underwent the typical stages of grieving: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.   I can almost pinpoint the exact moment that I transitioned from depression to acceptance.  It was a beautiful day in October, six months after my initial diagnosis, and my body was under assault from a difficult round of chemotherapy.   I was lying in bed, looking through the window as my mother collected the last of the summer tomatoes from my greenhouse.  It saddened me that I was not out there with her, enjoying the sunshine and harvesting the fruits of my labour.  While wallowing in self pity, I came to an important realization.  It suddenly dawned on me that feeling sorry for myself was not going to help me to get well.   As a Psychologist, I knew that positive emotions such as happiness and love, help to boost the immune system and enhance healing.  Negative emotions, such as anger and depression on the other hand, have been proven to suppress the immune system.  Since I needed a healthy immune system to fight cancer, a positive attitude was vital to my recovery!

I convinced myself that cancer wasn’t THAT bad, hey it even had its perks.  For example, since getting cancer, not once did I have to help with the dishes at big family dinners.  The thought of that made me smile, and instantly I felt a little better.   I then issued myself a challenge:  I would find 100 perks of having cancer, and so a blogger was born.

Flo the Blogger

Had I not gotten cancer, I would probably never have discovered the blogosphere and all of its hidden treasures.   Since I have always enjoyed writing, blogging became a creative outlet for me.  It also gave me a sense of purpose.  After spending nearly twenty years in the helping profession, a big part of my life was missing when I came off work.   Through my blog and the response from my readers, I know that I am still helping people, if only by making them smile.  Blogging has also connected me to so many kindred spirits.  Seeing new posts from Susan, AnneMarie, Jen, Marie, Shanna, Rachel, Nancy,  and others is like getting an email from an old friend.  I love to grab a cuppa and find out what my cyber friends are up to: how did Rachel’s scan turn out?   What is Shanna’s latest juicing concoction?  Is Jen’s hair coming in?  These people have become part of my support network as we share our highs and lows (okay, I only share my highs, but I do have my lows).   And so, today I give thanks to my blogging friends, and honour the art of blogging as one of my perks of having cancer.

Tip:  It is good to have a creative outlet when you are dealing with cancer.  Try blogging, journaling, painting, gardening, or whatever it is that lets your creative juices flow.

 

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14 thoughts on “Perk # 67: Cancer Made A Blogger Out Of Me

  1. thank you for that thought today as I am not battling cancer I do suffer from a mental illness and have alot of low days but reading your blog helps me stay afloat and think of others who are less fortunate love and peace

  2. Flo,
    Your work is a gift that shows that each of us is a special colour in God’s creative palate.
    I am saddened that I came to ‘know’ you because if cancer – At the same time I am overjoyed to ‘know’ you because of cancer. Sound odd? Tis odd! I am saddened because I wish you could be spared the suffering that comes with that diagnosis. I am overjoyed because you, in the most creative and lifegivng way, have refused to let cancer or it’s resultant sickness define you. You keep reminding the world that YOU are behind the keyboard and not a cancer victim. You are indeed a warrior.
    So many colours in God’s painting – you are a vibrant colour indeed. Thank you for sharing yourself and your journey with the world!

  3. I love this post! I’ve walked in those shoes, too, and am so very thankful that we are the kind of people who can find the good and focus on the positive. I’m also thankful that you started blogging and that I found your blog. I always enjoy seeing a new post from you!

  4. I love that photo! Cracks me up. I hope your 2nd week of radiation gets off to good start and that you stay strong and hopeful throughout it. I’m cheering for you today!

  5. i so am glad you became a blogger. LOVE your blog; I really hope you turn it into a book. You are a wonderful, empowered, beautiful, spirit. If you feel comfortable, email me your address; I’d love to send you something 🙂

  6. Yay for blogging! I have found it to be very therapeutic for me and am also blessed with other blogging friends including yourself. Love the pic 🙂

  7. Blogging eases my stress and helps me connect with other people affected by cancer.
    Reading blogs like yours fills my day too. I look forward to each perk.

  8. Your blog couldn’t have been more perfectly timed! I spent the day holding back tears, feeling sorry for myself and angry about my new diagnosis. I was stuck in the fear and sadness of it all. You are so right! I need to give my body all the best I can to help it heal. I have just started my journey, but your lead is what I will follow. Thank you.

  9. Victoria…..it is important that you allow yourself to feel these emotions as they arise. This is a period of mourning for you. Your diagnosis represents a loss, the loss of your health (for now). Don’t feel that you have to rush it. Cry when you need to. Swear when you need to. Process these feelings and sit with them. The time will come when you can put these feelings behind you and kick into action mode. It took six months or longer before I was ready to “Accept” my cancer.

    Grieving only becomes dysfunctional when one gets STUCK in one of the stages, such as denial, anger or depression. Moving through these stages is healthy and normal. So don’t hold back, sweetie. A positive attitude will take you a long way on the road to recovery, but that does not mean that you cannot allow yourself to grieve this loss. God Bless.

  10. Writing my own Journeying Beyond Breast Cancer blog over the past three years and linking into a community of fellow bloggers has been the single most empowering thing that I have done in my journey with cancer. It has enriched my experience, brought new friendships into my life and expanded my horizons like nothing else. Cancer can be a frightening and lonely experience. Being able to write about it honestly and unsparingly and connect with others is a powerful release mechanism. Continued blogging success and good healing to you – so glad you are part of the blogosphere!

  11. Amen, Florence. Blogging certainly has been a beautiful stress reliever and creative outlet for me also. I don’t know what I would have done had I not had this tool to keep my thoughts focused in a positive direction. And, to think before last year, I didn’t even know what a blog was! Lol Keep writing, my friend!

    Linda

  12. Pingback: Weekly Round-Up « Journeying Beyond Breast Cancer

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