Two Years a Blogger ~ How Blogging Has Helped Me Cope With My Son’s Cancer Diagnosis

Two years ago today I sat and wrote my first blog, ‘And so the story looks like this’.  I can remember it well.  It symbolised the start of my re-engagement with the world following Felix’s diagnosis of Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia.  Whilst this was just a virtual dialogue, the safety of the blogging world gave me control over who I engaged with.

At the time, I was reluctant to be with or speak to people outside of our home because of the unpredictability of who I might see, what might be expected in conversation and how I might respond.  We were submerged in a new world of emotions where my only priority was to keep Felix emotionally and physically strong along with his brother and sister.  I did not have the capacity to think or consider beyond this.  In all honesty, I feel as though I am only just beyond that remit now.

When the children went to bed I would sit in the front room with the TV on for background noise.  My husband went into the other room and lost himself in a different virtual reality of gaming.  This again offered him the emotional security and safety we relished.  We didn’t really have the emotional strength, need or want to talk to anyone, even over the phone.  Our world was so small and confined we had very little to talk about beyond treatment plans and the logistics of family life with a very poorly son.  So I blogged.  My first blog just came out.  No planning, no theme just what I wanted to expel and vocalise. Once I started I couldn’t stop.  I blogged every evening as a way of trying to make sense of what was going on our lives.  I blogged to numb my feelings of utter terror.  I blogged so that something good might come out of this thing we were in.

As I blogged my heart out, my readership grew.  The comments and support I received gave me purpose and a desire to use my blog as a forum to spread awareness of what families in difficult situations including childhood cancer go through and offer support if I could.  People starting contacting me from near and far about all sorts of things.  I was speaking an honest and brutal language which many people understood and had experience of themselves.  This positive response empowered me to continue writing with the hope that each blog would resonate with just one person so that he/she will no longer feel alone or confined to the situation they are in.

I never intended Mrs Brown’s Blogs to be a commercial blog, I still don’t (although if it could pay off our mortgage, that would be quite nice!).  Yet, at the end of the week, I am attending the UK Blog Awards 2018 as a finalist in the Health and Social Care category.  I am so proud to have achieved this; I am so proud that childhood cancer will feature on a mainstream platform.  We must talk about this.  It’s not going away and the stats of 1 in 300 is not rare – 1 in a million maybe.  The more we talk, the more people will listen and the more potential there is for change.

In the meantime, I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for your love and support over the last two years.  It has really made this whole thing easier to bear.  This is just the beginning, I still need you!  We have just over a year of treatment left, please stick with us and encourage others to join the journey.  The tough and difficult times that we go through are hidden within my words, yet by communicating them to you, the intensity reduces enabling me to do what I have to do.  That is, work towards a positive future for all of #TeamBrown and other families who have to walk a similar path.

 

 

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April 2016

 

 

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My Blog’s Honest Truth

My blog has always been a means through which I have tried to make sense of this crazy world we live in.  Whether it is exploring my feelings and experiences of having a child with cancer or a personal view about a current issue or debate.  Whatever it is, I have always blogged when I wanted to about what I want to.

Since hanging out in the virtual blogging world I have become more and more exposed to the commercial world of blogging and quite frankly, it’s just not for me.  There is a professional world of bloggers who, quite simply, have a completely different perspective on the purpose of blogging.  There is the talk of SEO, self-hosting, analytics and brand collaborations which are all far beyond my realm of understanding.  This is not a criticism by any means but by becoming part of this community, I have felt pressured to adopt a more committed and strategic approach to my blog.

This was exacerbated by becoming a #UKBA18 finalist for the second year running.  Once the finalists were announced, I received a number recommendations from a variety of bloggers about what I needed to do to meet the judges’ criteria to win.  From the content of my next few blogs to my website design and the frequency of my blogs.  I listen intently and started to draw up an action plan designed to give me the best chance of winning.

Then I stopped.

I stopped because I realised I wasn’t being true to myself, my blog and my readers.  The reason I started the blog was for me and then I realised that actually, I could help raise awareness of childhood cancer and be a supportive platform for families both nationally and internationally.  Yes, I would love to win the Health and Social Care category I am a finalist in but not as part of a strategy.  I want to win it to help raise the profile of childhood cancer and the families it affects.  I want to win it to be able to stand there and stand there tall and proud in honour of the beautiful children who have endured the pain and suffering that should not be bestowed on a child.  I want to stand there for the siblings who experience living with the harsh reality of childhood cancer on a daily basis.  I want to stand there in honour of the families who lives have changed forever when they heard the words, ‘Your child has cancer’.

I want to win it because it is an honest and frank account of life, family and education. From a parenting and educational perspective, it explores the finer details of daily life with the added dimension of having a child with cancer.

This is my Blog’s Honest Truth and I nearly lost it.

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