My name is Andrea Fairbairn and I was diagnosed with breast cancer in April 2011. I decided to keep a blog to keep my friends and family informed about my cancer journey. I find verbally telling people about my diagnosis quite difficult, as well as retelling it many times. Also there are so many appointments, details and updates along the cancer journey; it gets emotionally tiring telling people about all the twists and turns. I thought writing down my experiences would be a good way for family and friends to catch up on my news as and when they choose to. The Mayo clinic has an interesting article here on cancer blogging.
9 Benefits of Keeping a Cancer Blog:
- Communication. You can communicate with a number of people at once without the energy required to physically talk to those people. You are also keeping people up with the latest cancer events.
- Support and inspiration. People also communicate back with you via the blog so that is an additional support mechanism.
- Learning about cancer. Caring friends or family with no experience of cancer can start to feel familiar with your story and learn about cancer in a safe, non-threatening way.
- It’s safe and private. You can set your privacy settings so only some people can look at your blog or you can go public if you like.
- It’s therapeutic. It is writing therapy; go ahead and express your feelings as that’s an important part of your cancer journey.
- It’s fun and creative. In creative ventures, there is an element of the unknown and a bit of magic. You don’t know where this will take you.
- A positive ritual or anchor. It can be an anchor, a touchstone and something positive while going through a roller coaster cancer ride.
- A journal or record. It will be something you can look back on in the future as it is a physical creation, like a journal.
- Personal development. It’s always good to learn something new and to start a new hobby during cancer treatment.
7 Tips on Setting Up a Blog:
- Choose your blog site. Set up a free blog: a CaringBridge site can be created by you or a family member. Private blog sites and websites can also be started at WordPress, Weebly or Blogger. Not to worry if you’re not very tech savvy, the sites are practical and easy to set up.
- Access. Change the settings to make it personal or public. You can control your settings and safety by being as private or public as you like.
- Style. Play around with the theme, colours, fonts and title. Make it something that suits you.
- Just write something – maybe a test at first, a description of your latest appointment, thanks to people who’ve been supportive or a joke. Have fun with it and express yourself.
- Post photos as it really adds colour and vibrancy to the text.
- Write regularly and as freely as you can. You won’t be able to access how you felt about today in two months’ time so it’s good to jot it down today.
- Share your site. As you gain your confidence, promote the site a bit wider.
My blog had a life of its own and eventually turned into this website Breast Cancer Nirvana.