When I received an email from Jeanne who blogs at the Assertive Cancer Patient that she was suggesting some of her fellow cancer bloggers blog on the same topic, I thought that sounded like a good idea. Her post titled How Many Blogs do you Have? is about the topic and following is my own long winded take on the topic. Warning - I ramble pretty far afield.Before I was diagnosed with stage III melanoma in 2005, the concept of blogging was very foreign to me. I thought blogging was something young people do and I never thought I'd have one much less two blogs. I was born in 1957 so although I'm not exactly old, I'm not a teenager either. My first experience with the internet beyond research, work, and email was when I started participating on an online melanoma support group, the MPIP. The first time I went there, I stumbled across it doing a web search to see if anyone on the face of the planet had a surgical drain in after a groin lymph node dissection for as long as I did.
It was reassuring to discover that although most people were able to get their drains out within 4 weeks, I wasn't the only person to have one in for twice that long. At first I was shy about participating on the bulletin board but before I knew it I was diving in and finding it very helpful to exchange information with people going through what I was going through. Some of the MPIP participants mentioned that they had blogs. My ears/eyes really perked up when I saw people in their 40s and 50s mention that they couldn't believe they were doing it but they had a blog.
When I started visiting some of the melanoma patient's blogs, I thought for the first time that blogging might be something I'd find helpful. This was my first blog and I started it initially as a way to organize some of my research links as well as work through some of the health issues I was going through. I had some funky scans ("worrisome for fdg avid malignancy") as well as lymphedema, myalgia, blah, blah, blah . . .
From the very beginning of my blogging on this site, I found myself using my garden photography as a way to get started. By that I mean that it was easier for me to write if I was writing around pictures that took the bad taste out of my mouth from talking about cancer, fears about recurrent/metastatic disease, the aftermath of surgery, etc. ect. At first the only blogs I visited were blogs which other melanoma patients had. Then I started visited blogs by other cancer patients (not only those whose cancer was melanoma). Then I started finding out about photoblogs and photography themes. Gradually I found that the photographs I posted weren't surrounded with posts which primarily dealt with health care issues but were more and more about gardening or photoblogger themes I started doing. I am still followed by a medical and surgical oncologist, dermatologist, and pain specialist and I get annual full body PET/CT scans so I still have reminders of my lymph node positive melanoma. However, having gone 4 years without a recurrence, I find myself blogging more as a hobby connected to the photography than as a way of dealing with my cancer diagnosis.
I even started to feel self conscious about talking about my health issues on my blog. That's when I came up with the idea of starting a second blog called Carver Cards which would be a photojournal with few or no words and this blog would be where I would feel free to babble about health worries and anything else on my mind. The funny thing is that both of my blogs are really more about gardening, photography, etc. at this point. I do occasionally post about scans or health issues on this blog, but less and less.More and more people are on facebook and I finally set up a facebook page but I don't go there very often. There are a lot of melanoma patients I know with facebook pages as well as other friends but for me, facebook is a habit I don't have yet and I'm kind of glad. There does come a time when online time becomes too much, at least for me. I like being able to check and see how friends with facebook pages are doing but I don't post there very much.
I think my post has been more of one long digression than it has been an answer to the question but I've enjoyed writing on a topic like this one. As I said, Jeanne has posted on the topic in her post titled: How Many Blogs Do You Have? The Cheeky Librarian has posted How Many Blogs Can a Blogger Blog Penelope has a post titled Why Two Blogs? Susan's post Climb over the Balcony is what gave Jeanne the idea of this as a topic. I am looking forward to reading those posts and those of others who, like me, join in after Jeanne's initial round up. I wanted to go ahead and put the links to those who are participating so far. In case I didn't answer the question within my digression, for the record, I have two blogs.