As Thanksgiving weekend ends, it’s a perfect time for me to express my gratitude to Brenda Ray Coffee, founder of Breast Cancer Sisterhood, for including my blog on her recently compiled list of the Top Ten Breast Cancer Blogs for blogs.com. I am pleased and honored to be included on such a list compiled by someone as renowned and respected as Brenda.
My breast cancer journey began with my mother’s. Following her death in 2008, I was surprised by the intensity of my reaction to this loss. I was also surprised and unsatisfied by the available resources for grieving daughters. Oh sure, various handbooks were available, most written by medical experts offering advice on how to move on. But where were the stories about what it’s like to walk along with a parent through their cancer journey? Where were the stories about sitting by their bedside? Where were the stories about the unspeakable heartache? Where were the stories about transitioning to being motherless?
That’s what I wanted to read about. I wanted to read about the raw experience of loss itself. I found few such stories. (The ones I did find I will include in a grief/loss resource list I am working on.)
I absolutely love the quote by author Toni Morrison that says, “If there is a book you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must be the one to write it.” I hope it doesn’t sound presumptuous on my part, or give the wrong impression, but that’s what I decided to attempt. I believe in that quote and always tried to instill the idea behind it in my students as well. To me it means we are all capable writers. We all have worthwhile stories to tell. One night I literally sat up in bed and decided I would start writing about my experience. And that’s what I did. I wrote primarily for my own healing and hoped, perhaps, to some day help others in theirs as well.
Then my own breast cancer diagnosis came unexpectedly and everything was put on hold, everything except my writing. Just like after my loss, writing also helped me cope with my own breast cancer. After considerable deliberation, I decided to take the additional plunge and began Nancy’s Point. Putting myself “out there” was a huge step for me to take, but I somehow knew it was one worth taking.
Before beginning Nancy’s Point I looked at numerous other breast cancer blogs and they inspired me to go ahead a give blogging a try. The very first one I went to was Brenda’s Blog. I was impressed with Brenda’s candor, honesty and wit. I was also impressed with the comprehensiveness of her website. I discovered many other inspirational blogs as well. There are so many others on similar journeys openly sharing their personal stories about coping and survival. I hoped to do the same.
After one of my first posts, I decided to leave a comment on Brenda’s Blog. I even boldly invited her to visit mine. And she did! I was surprised, motivated, grateful and also a little worried because I didn’t know what she would think of it. I didn’t know what anyone would think of it. I didn’t know if anyone would be interested in my story or opinions.
Almost immediately I realized I had been welcomed into this sisterhood of breast cancer bloggers, a sisterhood that none of us ever intended to belong to. Brenda welcomed this newcomer. Other bloggers did as well and not just breast cancer ones. I am grateful to all of them. We are all part of something bigger. We are all trying to make a difference. We are all trying to continue healing. We are all bound together by this thing called cancer.
So, I want to thank fellow bloggers. Your writing inspires others, even if you don’t know that it does. Thank you, Brenda, for welcoming me, encouraging me and for placing Nancy’s Point on your list!
I encourage others who are interested in blogging, or any kind of writing, to give it a try. It doesn’t have to be about cancer. Do it for others or do it for yourself. Writing is a powerful tool. Writing heals. Writing has potential to help the reader and the writer grow. An added plus is that connections and friendships are out there waiting to be made.
So I say, “Go for it!”
How has your writing, or someone else’s, influenced you?