Sell By…

The hard truth about blogging…
Specifically, blogging in our breast cancer community, is facing we have an expiration date.  Or rather our “sell by” date.  The date we’re forced to realize, from here on out, we’re not so fresh or at our best anymore. 

We learn we’re mortal.    

I suppose there’s lots of ways to learn that, if we look hard enough, but in this blogosphere, we get it without trying.  I don’t need to ascend Everest or jump out of a plane to grasp that life is short.  All I have to do is check Facebook and follow some Breast Cancer bloggers.

We are aware.

We know better than anyone, breast cancer lives.  We know that once it latches on, it stays for the whole ride– Whether actively riding shotgun or sitting dormant in the backseat.  We know we won’t travel solo ever again.

I’m just thankful these days, leaving it in the backseat is an option.  I can close the door and ignore it for a while.  I’m lucky that way.

The thing is– on any given day that can change.  We all aren’t lucky all the time and by following our community, that’s a lesson learned over and over.

Recently, we lost a blogger named, Carolyn Frayn.  I didn’t know Carolyn.  She started blogging after I had stopped, but last year Nancy’s Point shared a post Carolyn had written for a blog called Get Up Swinging, which caught my eye and chilled my bones.

Carolyn and I were diagnosed on the exact same day. 

May 1, 2009

It wasn’t mammogram day.  It wasn’t biopsy day.  Diagnosis…Breast Cancer.  Those words, said to us on the very same day.

In my mind, that day had been all about me.  That’s my day.  If ever there’s a day to be selfish, being told you have breast cancer is the one.  I still see myself front and center on that terrible day and now, learning someone else shared it feels like getting doused with icy water and told to wake up.  

It wasn’t just me.  Someone else had the same crappy day.
That fact sinks heavily in my brain and lays there, as that date does.

Of course, it’s possible.  Big world and all, but that day was never about others.  It was all mine…until it wasn’t.  

It was the day that changed everything.  The day that ultimately brought me here to blog.

That day brought Carolyn here.

Only she’s no longer here.

One day, two paths.  

So many “what ifs.”   She must have wondered.  As I still do.

And, I face my mortality once again.

May 1, 2009 must have been my Sell By date.  The day I got off the shelf, forced to deal with my new reality called breast cancer.   As it was Carolyn’s.  Without our community here, I never would have known about her.  I never would have known the date that changed my life would eventually take hers– And I am so sorry for her loss and the shattering of yet, one more family.

Maybe this is why we blog.  Amidst the most difficult of life’s moments…to learn about others like us.  To share our stories and work for change.  Maybe that’s why we do it. So, we’ll realize despite the sad stories, there are amazing women out there we never would have met.  We’re not alone.  If nothing else, blogging about breast cancer teaches us that.  

It has to be for something.

Please take a minute and check out Carolyn’s blog, Art of Breast Cancer.  She was one hell of a writer and photographer.

To Write or Not to Write

Why would a person revive an old blog?  

Many reasons, actually.  Some sad, but not in this case.  Things are good here, six and a half years after diagnosis, though I’ll save a future post for how I probably just jinxed myself.  I’m convinced that’s how it works.
Well, anyway, the idea of blogging should seem crazy.  I hadn’t wanted anything to do with it for quite a while, but the thing I can’t let go…it feels really right.  It feels strangely familiar.

There’s a brand new notebook, an array of pens, and a slew of ideas all fighting to be first in line.  First to be the words I write after my self-imposed hiatus.

There’s a head full of topics I probably shouldn’t share publicly and strong hesitation as my pen hovers over paper.  But, then it comes, fast and furious, onto the page.  Like last time.  The time when I started blogging.  When so many thoughts, questions, and unbelievable experiences all came tumbling out.  I didn’t know that day in October 2010, if I could write about it.  If I would continue.  I had no idea what waited for me, if anything, in the vast void of the internet.  I just knew I had to try because writing was my way out of the black hole cancer had dropped me in.
My only way out was to scratch, sort through and pull apart every fear, every painful twinge and all those memories.  To write, was to accept it.  To share, was my salvation.  I would learn sharing was synonymous with dropping my load.  I would find an amazingly, supportive community of others like me.  Not exactly like me, since our stories are all different, but close enough.  We’ve all known the same terrifying words.
I kept the blog going longer than I could have imagined.  Along the way, as I unburdened myself, I learned more about the disease I thought I knew.  I made friends with cyber sisters I never met in person and when I lost some, grief made me feel as if I had.    
I wrote for more than two years, until I couldn’t write anymore.  Until I didn’t want to be reminded everyday of the one thing I wished I could forget.  I wanted to spend time with my family and live my life.  
I did and I am.  
In the past, I wrote why I chose to name the blog after my dog, Goliath.  Because like him, I had a sad tale to tell, a rough road to walk and he persevered, overcame adversity and lived a good, peaceful life.  Why couldn’t I?
Two years passed after Goliath died before my family and I felt ready to bring another German Shepherd into our lives.  Another handsome male, with beautiful, amber eyes.  We named him Krypto, after Superman’s boyhood dog.  The Hound of Steel.  Unlike Goliath, he never experienced the ugly side of life.  He’s only known the good.
Krypto, our Hound of Steel

Maybe it’s okay to restart my blog that way.  With good in mind, very little drama.  Like Krypto, a clean slate.  Excited just knowing there are places to go, sights to see, ideas to pursue.  Maybe it doesn’t always need to be bad or scary or sad, though it’s fine to write those things, too.

Very often, in the past couple of years, I’d come across something I felt compelled to write about and thought…if only I was blogging.  

So, I guess it’s time.  I’m not exactly sure yet the path this renewed blog will follow, but I’m thankful for anyone that wants to come along.  I’ve missed you.

If you’re a blogger, does your ability to write ever change with your mood or situation?  Would you give it up?