Monday, November 1, 2010

I've Been Outed

Thinking about cancer takes up a lot of my time.  So does talking about it.  I love to talk about it.  Probably, because it is on my mind so much.  Regular stuff that makes up a normal day doesn’t stand a chance of grabbing brain space. Call it therapeutic, call it cathartic, whatever, talking about it feels right and even laughing about it, because sometimes, it is pretty ridiculous.  Nipple reconstruction?  Seriously??  I can barely type the words much less speak them. It’s just funny.  I could write for days on this glorious topic, and I will, just not now.
The thing is, I can’t talk about it with just anyone.  It has to be the right someone and that’s tricky.  My husband?  He’s very good with this, but he’s sad for me.  I can’t dump on him 24-7.  He deserves to escape it for a while.  Girlfriends??  Maybe, again, to a certain extent.  They can’t relate, don’t know what to say and ultimately, isn’t everyone happier just hearing that you’re doing fine?  Just super. 
In my quest to find people I could talk to, I decided to write this blog, and not tell anyone. Just my lucky husband.  I do know the whole idea of blogging is to share, but it seemed like a good idea at the time.  Who would read it anyway?  I was having trouble finding others on the internet like me, but that’s exactly the population I was trying to reach.  I wanted time to find them.  To discover other cancer bloggers (cloggers), read their words, comment and hopefully one of them might read mine.  I could have linked the blog to my hundred or so Facebook “friends.”  That would have generated some traffic, but they don’t have cancer.  They aren’t the right fit for this. 
There’s something to be said for writing your most personal thoughts and sending them out into an endless void where, seemingly, no one would ever find them.  I found it easy to write intensely personal things and hit publish.  Maybe it’s because I knew so few would find it.  Eventually, I picked up a couple of readers:  Thank you to Nancy, Sarah and Alethea.  
Then a funny thing happened last Friday afternoon.  I blabbed.  I blabbed about this blog to my brother in a moment of boredom and later that night, without notice, he outed me to his 370 Facebook friends.  It was a strange moment for me when I saw the blog link on his page.  I wasn’t mad.  I knew it was time to be open with everyone.  Why have a blog otherwise? Here was my story for all to read.  And many did.  The blog got more views in a couple of hours then it had since I started it.  The power of Facebook.  
I waited for the comments to pour in.  I waited a long time and when they didn’t come, I realized this wasn’t the right crowd for me and that’s okay. They’re not the ones I’m writing for.  I’m writing for myself and those that unfortunately understand what it’s like to live with cancer. Although, I'm happy so many read it and hope it can be passed on.
In the end, even though the blog was outed to several hundred people, it didn’t really matter. It’s still tricky finding the right one to talk to about this stuff.
Who do you turn to when you need to let it all out?  Who’ll listen unconditionally whenever you need them?

5 comments:

  1. Stacey, Wow this post sums up how I feel! Starting a blog was a huge step for me, just putting it all out there. Some in my family think I'm nuts, but I feel this need to share. Cancer people like sharing I guess. Anyway, this post really spoke to me. Maybe someday I'll even join Facebook!

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  2. Stacey - this post is spot on. Couldn't have said it better myself. I started blogging for exactly the same reasons. Even though I like to believe that old cliche' "cancer doesn't define me", the fact is it's just a HUGE part of my life, in fact it is my full-time job, so of course I want to talk about because it takes up so much of my darn time ! But of course no one wants to hear about it because it all sounds so shocking to anyone who isn't dealing with it. For me, it is what it is. It's what I do. I too didn't overly publicize my blog to my friends, only a select few, and I'm pretty happy with that decision. What I discovered in the clogging (LMAO about that term !!!") world is that cloggers read other cloggers, and what an amazingly supportive and wonderful world it is. I recently read this article, which you might find interesting. (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/nancy-f-koehn/the-mental-game-of-breast_b_776060.html) It talks about the "underground railroad" of support that exists amongst women dealing with cancer and I thought that's exactly what it feels like. Thank goodness for the Internet !! Doesn't feel so lonely does it. I wonder what women did before the Internet age ? Nice to have found you. I'm following you now.

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  3. P.S. I love how your dog is your blog mascot......mine too...I wonder how many blog dogs there are out there ? ;)

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  4. Nancy, your comment came at the perfect time. Just when I was lamenting the lack of comments you wrote one that reaffirmed why I'm doing this. Yes, we love to share and thank for sharing with me. You made my day.

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  5. Anna, you get it. Thank you. I feel very fortunate to have found this community of cloggers. It was hard to find at first, but once I did I wasn't surprised at the genuine concern we all have for each other. No one else can ever know what it's like to be us. Yes, who would have known the internet would bring so many together, even when we're sitting alone.

    Thank you for following. I follow you as well and look forward to reading more.

    PS: Dogs get it too. They'll listen for hours. At least mine will since he doesn't like to get up anymore.

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