Blogs that inspire me: Not Just About Cancer

22Dec09

In 2005, I was overseas and got word from my mother that my aunt’s breast cancer had metastasized after being in remission for several years. My aunt made it clear that she didn’t want to talk about it and she didn’t want people to treat her differently. She wanted dignity, not pity. Although I felt close to her, we didn’t have very regular contact. Her family spent several years overseas when I was younger. We only saw each other at the occasional family get-togethers. But we shared a lot of laughs and happy memories (she had a great sense of humour). So even though I wanted to pick up the phone after getting the news, I didn’t. I felt that it would go against her wishes. So I felt helpless to her, although—at the same time—I felt it wasn’t my place to help her. (I still have regrets about how I handled it though.) Instead, I found that my place was to be there for my mother when she needed to talk. It was difficult time for the whole family.

In the next few months, not knowing what else to do but with cancer frequently on my mind, I looked for some resources on the Internet. I ran across the blog Not Just About Cancer by Laurie Kingston. I found it right in the middle of Laurie’s initial diagnosis. She wrote about the experience with great honesty, sprinkled with gems of humour and inspiration. Consider one of her tips for “what (not) to say“:

If you want to tell me a story about your friend/cousin/neighbour who had breast cancer, think ahead for a second. How does the story end? Unless your friend is now healthy and cancer free, I don’t want to hear it.

I initially read her blog in short bursts when the mood struck. But over time, I became more and more pulled in by her story. Her initial reflections on diagnosis and treatment faded away to getting back to everyday life and having made it through the “worst.” Then, her turning point came with the news of metastasis. My heart sank for her. I dreaded the news when she would say she was going to stop the blog. But she didn’t. She kept looking forward and doing whatever she could. And a miraculous thing happened: she got better. She is currently “no evidence of disease”—continuing regular treatments of course—but living a full life. Her posts these days are mostly celebrations of everyday life. It has been a great source of inspiration to read Laurie’s blog. And her story has provided me some comfort as I tried to make sense of the senseless facts of life we must face.

Laurie’s story has become even more relevant since my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer earlier this year and the discovery of a BRCA2 mutation in my family. Cancer is becoming much more near and dear to me than I ever thought it would be (or wanted!). But it’s reading stories like Laurie’s that helps me see how one can prevail through even the most terrible circumstances. This line from one of her recent posts has stuck in my mind and keeps me looking forward:Book cover

Three years ago, at almost exactly this time of year, I learned that my cancer had become metastatic. I don’t think I could have imagined this day, when I’d be riding my bike up Smythe Rd. and thinking about how healthy I am.

Being a bit of shy person, I never thought to tell Laurie how great her blog is. Well, I hope this post makes up for that. Great work, Laurie! And congratulations on publishing your own book as well. I look forward to reading many more posts.

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3 Responses to “Blogs that inspire me: Not Just About Cancer

  1. What a great story – I hope that she sees your blog post, I’m sure it would make her feel great to know that her words are inspiring others. 🙂

  2. Thanks so much for this. I am touched beyond words. You have no idea how much this post means to me – and excellent timing, too.

    I wish you, your mom and everyone you love good health for a long time to come.

    Laurie


  1. 1 inspired « the-digg

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