Those people that follow blogs or tweet or facebook or any other form of social networking often find community. Although I don’t identify myself as a Mommy Blogger – I am a Mom Who Blogs – there is comfort in reading others stories, struggles and victories. A few months ago I wrote a gut-wrenching tale of my child pleading to die. The out-pouring of support from friends and strangers alike was overwhelming. It also made me realize there are limits in sharing online. The mere thought of someone disagreeing with my parenting approach and throwing insults was also overwhelming. I made a decision then that sharing that harrowing tale was cathartic. But unsure if I would ever do it again.
Then in October I had surgery to remove a lump that no medical professional I consulted thought was cancer, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Hm…that reminds me I need to schedule my follow-up ultra-sound. Again, I decided to post about my experience. This one was gentler. I either got the message of “I cannot even imagine” or “I’ve been there, so happy to hear you are OK”.
Back to that social networking thing, I learned about a cancer community site that launched today – Navigating Cancer. What I think is really cool is you can not only connect with others, it also allows you to track treatment and options. Kinda like a WebMD or Mayo Clinic but honed in on just one topic. Maybe another avenue for people to ease themselves into medical records online. Its coming people, it’s just a matter of when. I digress…the important thing for me is the source, a place to go where others can understand your struggles and your success. A friend and I were talking today about how hard it is to be a parent. You can explain it to non-parents until you are blue in the face, but they still aren’t going to get it. It really is true you need to walk in someone else’s shoes to understand their pain, their triumphs, and their happiness.
I hope the social networking continues to grow in a positive manner. Particularly if it stops alienation or misinformation and provides people with more understanding and grace for the rougher patches in life.
Good luck to Navigating Cancer.