I am, without a shadow of a doubt, a social media addict. As someone who lived a lot of their life keeping certain aspects of their identity hidden, there comes a definite freedom in vulnerability and transparency. Good or bad, I share my thoughts and activities instinctively at a push of a button. Sorry about that.
But what to do with my preliminary diagnosis? Do I turn to the internet with my as-yet-unconfirmed worries and risk making a drama out of nothing? Do I force my parents’ hands into telling our wider family by making my fears public? Or do I wait until I know something for sure, navigating these ‘in-between’ times without my wider digital support network?
In the end, I decided to click ‘post’.
It was the right decision for me. Without the help of other cancer fighters and survivors I wouldn’t have had access to even a modicum of the information I was sent. From top tips about navigating ‘chemotherapy skin’ through to important scientific information on fertility and cancer, I was awed by how instantly supportive the cancer community turned out to be.
One of my next actions on this blog is going to be to create a resources page which I can continuously update with useful links and tips for anyone else starting this slog against cancer. I want to pay forward the kindness and help that the internet sent (and continues to send) my way.
Sure, there might be a few people reading this who think that talking so openly about such a personal issue is somehow crass and unseemly. You might be right – and I warn you that this blog and the rest of my social media profiles will get a lot worse as I head towards the roughest parts of my treatment.
But this isn’t for you. It’s for my friends and family if they want to keep track of how I’m doing without having to feel intrusive. It’s even maybe for that one other person who just got a diagnosis and is looking for a human voice amongst the chaos. Mostly, it’s for me. It’s a space where I can attempt to make sense of something that has completely upended my life and changed it forever.