I love the blog challenges that Nancy’s Point runs each year! It’s such a fun time to get to know other bloggers, in this cancer space and otherwise. Before I go any farther, please take a moment to follow Nancy’s Point. She talks about so many things, cancer related and otherwise, and everyone should be following her. 😉
2020 Blog Challenge Questions
- Who are you? Tell us whatever you want about you and your blog.
I’m a daughter, a sister, a wife, a mother, and a lawyer living with Stage IV Metastatic Breast Cancer. Advocacy is a way of life for me and cancer advocacy is now my focus. In the beginning of my experience with cancer, I started sharing information on Caring Bridge as a way to keep my family and friends and community up to date. When I knew I wanted to share my voice more widely, I set up this platform as more of a traditional blog, which I’m now expanding a little to include other resources, including linking to other bloggers, listing my favorite remedies for side effects, and highlighting the projects I’m championing. Writing is how I make sense of my feelings and sharing that cathartic process with others has created so many opportunities for connection with others that I would miss otherwise.
I named my blog NoHalfMeasures because I never do anything halfway. I mean that literally. If I’ve decided something is worth my time, then I’m all in. ALL IN. It’s how I know how to do life and I know that my persistence and passion can often be … misunderstood. As I learn more about myself, I’m more accepting of myself and my idiosyncrasies. I’m thankful for the people in my life who see my heart and my intentions and are not put off by my intensity. Because I am intense and rather uncompromising about those those things I deem to be important.
2. What has been your biggest blogging challenge during this pandemic, and how have you been tackling it (or trying to)?
My biggest “problem” during this pandemic is having too many things I want to write about. Not just the pandemic or the racial issues but all of the disparities that are now top of mind for so many in the cancer community and beyond. I’ve started writing for other blogs just to be able to get all of my thoughts out, which is a way of coping/tackling this issue, I suppose.
Being at home with the kiddos has meant that I don’t have as much down time as I used to when they would be gone at school or camp from 8 to 3. We’ve had to get a little more creative about child care and everyone I’ve zoomed with has been treated to two (2) jumping active little boys in the background, but the family time has been precious and I wouldn’t miss it.
3. What is something you’ve accomplished with your blog that you’re most proud of?
The number of people who contact me nearly daily about how something I’ve written that resonates with them just blows me away and that’s a huge accomplishment in my view. Some of these people are perfect strangers, others are people I’ve known for years or represented as a lawyer. While being vulnerable is pretty hard for me (I know, that’s probably not very apparent from my writing), it’s always good to hear that my efforts resonate with others.
The ability to be vulnerable through my writing has often been a bit daunting for me as I’ve worked at my blog for the last year+, but I think that over time, I’ve found the best way for me of sharing what I’m dealing with and how I make sense of it. It’s not going to be everyone’s cup of tea and I’m learning to be ok with that too.
4. Share two of your best blogging tips.
First, stay in your lane. Write about what you know. The genuineness of your knowledge of a subject matter really matters and it’s pretty apparent when someone strays into something that isn’t in their wheelhouse. I think one of the saddest things I hear from people is that they want to start a blog, but they aren’t sure they have anything to say. We all have something to share with the world! We all have a unique voice and perspective. The important thing is to start.
Second, respond to every comment and comment on other blogs. Blogging can be such a solitary endeavor but engaging with your readers and other blogs creates and perpetuates the conversation. I’ve found so many amazing people outside of the cancer community who also blog and those connections have changed me in ways I’m not always aware of. Each person I connect with virtually becomes part of my story, of my experience, and that’s priceless.
5. What is one of your blogging goals this year?
To get back to my intention of writing a substantive piece once a week and a book review once a week. I’ve just had too much to say recently!! I’ve a backlog of books I’ve read or will read to write book reviews, including the books by Nancy and I do want to get to that.
6. When things get hard, what keeps you blogging, even if not regularly?
I always have a bunch of drafts halfway done or otherwise started as well as some that just need to be polished in reserve. In fact, right now, I have 17 drafts and 12 blogs scheduled. This wasn’t what I started out with but over time since I don’t always know how I will feel one day to the next, I’ve found that this method ensures that I have something to publish even when I’m not feeling well. The only drawback to this method is that the blogs aren’t always as relevant when they are published versus when I wrote it. I’m trying to figure out how to account for that. If anyone has suggestions, I’m all ears!!
7. What is a dream you have for your blog? Share a link to a favorite post you’ve written that you want more people to read.
I would love to see my blog syndicated on a larger platform to be able to reach a wider audience. A local support group, Your Bosom Buddies, has included a link on their page already and I’m excited to partner with them to increase their ability to assist those of us in the metastatic community! One of my projects is to train patient mentors through Your Bosom Buddies so that each person at my cancer center diagnosed with Stage IV metastatic breast cancer has a patient mentor from day 1. COVID has delayed the start of that, but I know from personal experience how important it is to have someone in your corner to help you navigating this cancer having thing. It’s also known to decrease the burden on the medical professionals and reduce hospitalizations, a win for everyone.
A past favorite blog post is: Grief.
Ok, I’m sure some of you would like to know why I included a post on grief, something not easy to handle. I chose this blog post because it was a post that just came out of me almost as if I HAD to write it. The entire post literally poured out of me in about 10 minutes and I didn’t edit a word. Each word is heartfelt and genuine and it helped me be more vulnerable than I’d ever been able to be before.
The grief we experience in the metastatic community on a daily basis (116 men and women die each day in the US of Stage IV Metastatic Breast Cancer (MBC)) has become a topic that I’m particularly focused on and a dear friend and I have set out to do something about it. If any of you have suggestions with regard to our project, please see the blog I wrote on Disenfranchised Grief, and please get in touch! 🙂
Thank you, again, Nancy for seeing up this annual challenge for all you do for the MBC community! 🙂