This entry was written by Jackie Roth, PhD. Jackie is a Postdoctoral Fellow at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia who was diagnosed with Stage III A breast cancer at the age of 28. Every other Friday, throughout the entire year of 2011, Jackie will share a blog entry about her breast cancer experience. This year-long blog series is in honor of LBBC’s 20th anniversary.
To read Jackie’s previous entries, enter “ Jackie Roth” in the search box on this site.
As the holidays roll in this year, I can’t believe that it is time for me to write my last blog! It has been wonderful sharing the past year of my life with you, my readers. Over this year, I was surprised to discover that writing and sharing my story has been a large part of my healing process.
When writing my blogs, sometimes the words would flow very easily, and other times I would find myself in a pile of tears unable to muddle through a page of text. I also found myself alternating between light stories and then more serious issues. This really demonstrates how the cancer journey is a rollercoaster, with ups and downs along the way. I learned that to write a powerful and moving blog, you should write when you are “feeling” it, whether it’s the middle of the night or you’re on the bus ride home. At the very least you should jot down notes so that you can really capture how you were feeling in that exact moment. I also found that I would let my stories marinate on paper for at least 1 day, and then I would go back and revise. They always just sounded better when I did that.
Over this past year, one of the best feelings for me is when someone that I didn’t know is reading my blog comments on it. I am always surprised and thrilled to know they are taking time to read my story. Additionally I am also very happy when I get messages out of the blue from people that I haven’t talked to in a while and they are writing to check on me. These messages always make me smile. I even smile when I just see people “Like” my posts on Facebook!
Thank you to the readers, you inspire me just as much as you say that I inspire you. Thank you for taking the time out of your day to read my story, some of you reading a year’s worth of blogs in one afternoon! I’m convinced that some good has to come out of being diagnosed with breast cancer and I think my blog is part of that good. It has been good to help other women, show them that they are not alone and that their issues are relevant. It has been good to bond over something, to make new friends, new sisters.
For me, blogging has given me independence and the courage to put it all out there and not base my writing on what other people may think. I am a new person, more alive than ever. You feel alive when you are fighting and, over the past year and a half, I fought for my life. Within that time, I think I’ve learned lessons that some people take a life-time to figure out and I hope I’ve been able to share them with you in my blogs.
So as I close this chapter of blogging, I am focusing on new ways to become involved in LBBC and other breast cancer organizations. I am getting very involved in my job and just trying to find my new normal, if it exists out there somewhere! With the major part of my reconstructive surgery now complete (as of last week!), I feel like I am ready to move on and see what’s next in store for me out there.
How have Jackie’s blogs been inspiring to you?