Before I started this blog I knew little about blogging. I had followed a couple of travel blogs from friends and occasionally had picked up a blog from a link in Facebook or elsewhere, but otherwise I tended to avoid blogs. Now I find I am following several! My own writings had often had fairly controlled readership (even to the extent of being limited to named individuals in some cases) unlike blogs where you have no idea who might read them. The closest I had come to uncontrolled readership was posting photographs on Flickr where I have received comments and ‘likes/faves’ from friends and strangers alike.
When I started this blog (at Liz’s suggestion) it was partly because even before I started chemotherapy whenever anyone saw me they asked how I was doing. At that point the response was a bit of an explanation of what had happened and what was about to happen (including the time when I would be in ‘purdah’ because my white blood cells would be hiding behind the sofa and that I might cease to be my usual hirsute self) . So I thought that I could make life easier for all if I wrote a blog to keep those who wanted to know up to date with what was happening.
Once I had created a couple of posts I told friends and family that I was writing this blog and left them to read it or ignore it as they wished. It has been reassuring to receive comments and likes and encouragement from them although I was a little disappointed with the response to my request in “Missing cake and nearly familiar faces”. I was discussing the time when “How are you?” really means “Who are you?” and I asked “If this resonates with you why not click ‘Like’ otherwise I will think it is just me!”. No-one clicked ‘Like’ so I am clearly out on my own! (Actually I don’t believe that).
What I didn’t expect was that the blog would be found and followed by complete strangers. That has introduced me to their blogs. I had never heard of Shulman’s Syndrome nor had I realised what fun (heavy sarcasm here) a prostatectomy would be. (Glad I avoided that one) It has also set me new challenges – San Diego Dan wonders how I might include ‘Schmetterling’ in a post, and now I have done it. But more importantly it has put my position into perspective. I have used the analogy of some peoples cancers being an Everest (or Chomolungma to Tibetans and Sagarmāthā to the Nepalese) and others just a Ben Nevis with some being faced in fair weather and others in raging storms. I now realise that some are also facing not just Chomolungma but the whole of the Himalaya.
When I was diagnosed a friend said that “It will take over your life” and she is both right and wrong.
Yes, we now have to keep an eye on the calendar with the three week cycle of blood test, chemo and immunosuppression. Yes, we have had to adjust our life and stop taking the granddaughters to school. Yes, people do remark that I look as if I have had a close shave (oddly enough my moustache and most of my hair has survived) and say they nearly didn’t recognise me – which leaves me with the quandary do I say it’s the chemo or do I just say it was time for a change – well it depends on who they are and where it is.
But no we haven’t become a slave to it. The other day I started a post with “Today’s musings have nothing to do with chemotherapy or prostate cancer but are in the parallel universe of ‘life goes on’.” Which is why I have changed the emphasis in my tagline from “Prostate cancer, chemotherapy and life in general” to “Life in general, prostate cancer and chemotherapy”. Let’s make that parallel universe the important one.
- Oh and if you had wondered why San Diego Dan was wondering how I might include ‘Schmetterling’ in a post, he had written “As I reclined onto the table [for a bone scan], I couldn’t help but notice this colourful butterfly painted on the ceiling directly above the scanner. For some crazy reason, the German word for butterfly, Schmetterling, popped into my head and just stayed there.” to which I had commented “So my next challenge is to use “Schmetterling” in a blog!” Now I have used it four times with hardly any effort at all (and not much inventiveness either)!