One year ago this morning, I hit the "publish post" button for the first time, sending details of my breast cancer experience into the ethers of the internet. (Find that first post here.) My story was still unfolding; I was barely six months in, still numb (physically and figuratively), but knew I had to get my feelings out or I was gonna explode.
WHY I WRITE
Words were the electric avenue in which I was (and am) able to process this whole stupid, stupendous journey. Initially I didn't tell anyone (aside from Husband) that I was crafting this blog. I was afraid of people I "knew" knowing the contents of my brain. I wanted anonymity. Scant people in the "real" world know I even do this and of those, many don't seem to care. Fine by me.
MARIA STARTED IT
The idea to start a blog came as I was reading my new online friend Maria's blog. I felt like she was telling my story. Eventually I realized I had to tell my own. I had a plan — to unravel myself in chronological order so that my blog would eventually tell my tale in real time. Ah, but the blog (like life, and like cancer), had other plans.
I raised the white flag and surrendered to the magic of the medium long ago. Now I write whatever bubbles to the surface, and sometimes I manage to fill you in on what I'm actually dealing with. But make no mistake — the blog calls the shots. It has a magical gravitational pull all its own.
WHO'S OUT THERE
I've been rewarded with readers from all corners of the globe (47 countries and counting) — 99% of whom I only know through this delicious online world. You are an amazing, welcoming, embracing, creative, supportive and brilliant bunch. I thank you for spending even a moment of your precious time here with The Big C and Me. Hugs and kisses!
Also populating the blogosphere (besides delightful readers) are delightful bloggers — scores and scores (and scores some more) of the bravest, wittiest, wisest and most wonderful folks I know. Dealing with all manner of life's struggles. Fighting the good fight, writing about it, sharing their darkest moments, uplifting us with their insight, forging a new path through a thick sea of pink, speaking up, speaking out, righting wrongs, making things right. This is the beauty of an online community I never knew existed before I got cancer.
THE DARK SIDE
Don't be mistaken — there is a very dark side to blogging. The deaths of so many I have come to know since I started writing 365 days ago has been nothing short of SHOCK.ING. People like Lynn and Cheryl and Rachel and Susan and Mary and Sofie. (You can read about some of these lovelies here and here and here.) I was not prepared for this aspect of blogging, but have since been shaken out of my blindingly naive and defensive tree. The reality is, by this time next year, the likelihood is high that more bloggers whom I faithfully follow and look up to and gain strength from will be gone. These are the facts, folks. Don't let it scare you away. Please read our journeys! Give us your support. Leave us a comment or two. We are all changed for the better in the process. And never, ever forget those who have gone before us. Instead, allow them to inspire you to speak out for what is right — and what needs to change.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Throughout this past year, I've cobbled together lists of bloggers and organizations that matter to me. Not all are cancer-related (just as my life is not all about cancer). Here's a rundown of what you'll find on the left side of my blog:
- QUOTABLES Every two days I change this up, adding a new saying that is relevant to me. I hope to you too.
- RENN'S STORY Some background on me and my blogging philosophy.
- THE 'BIG C' LIBRARY Where all my posts live in perpetuity.
- POPULAR 'BIG C' POSTS Exactly that... the posts that garner the most views.
- BIG C'S FAVORITE 'BIG C' BLOGS This is where I keep a running list of my favorite blogs under the "cancer" umbrella. It is ever-growing, and covers a variety of cancers (not just breast).
- WANT TO KNOW MORE? This is my Resource Central. Find support, studies and solid information — as well as opportunities to make a difference and have your voice be heard.
- WE REMEMBER My least favorite — but the most important — heading. I hope this section never grows, but I know better. May we never forget them.
- THE 'BIG C' PANTRY My go-to cupboard for all things non-cancer related. Mostly food blogs here, but also a sprinkling of art, garden, farm, photography and decorating blogs too.
- JUST CLICK THE BUTTON BELOW! Follow my blog. That way you won't forget where to find me!
- GET 'BIG C' UPDATES VIA EMAIL Enter your email addy and receive an alert anytime I post an update to my blog. What could be more exciting?
- 'BIG C' CHASERS My personal 'hit' parade.
- I'M A GRUMBLER Created by The Accidental Amazon, this badge is a snarky symbol that I am dedicated to "grumbling for the cure" and working towards change when it comes to raising awareness that donating dollars for breast cancer research directly to the folks doing the research makes infinitely more sense (and cents!) than buying pink anything where only a fraction of what you have just bought goes to an organization (usually Komen) that then only uses a fraction of that for research. And do you really need a pink jar of face cream full of parabens? We can do better. We have to. So spread the word. And don't worry — if you forget, I'll be blogging about this again. And again. And again.
- I'M IN THE ARMY NOW! If you (and all your friends) aren't yet a part of Dr. Susan Love's Army of Women, what are you waiting for? This all-volunteer "army" needs you! You don't even have to leave your computer to be part of the front lines of research. Learn more — sign up today!