When I was first diagnosed with chronic myelogenous leukemia, I did not have the foggiest idea how living the rest of my life with cancer would affect me, my husband, my family and friends, and so many others, to boot! I was scared, confused, angry, frustrated, and needless to say; very sick. At that time, I knew little about leukemia, my prognosis and where my journey would lead.
I found that there was very little information readily available about my type of cancer and quickly realized that I must educate myself in order to understand my disease, my treatment and my options. In the meantime, my family and friends were just as eager to understand exactly what CML is and how it was going to affect not only the length of my life, but the quality of my life, as well.
Due to my limited amount of energy, I created a blog for my family and friends, so that they could follow my journey without my having to repeat the same information over and over; I was simply too exhausted to talk to everyone. My blog became a great way to keep everyone abreast of my progress, educate others as I was educating myself, and give them a snapshot of what I was going through and how I was feeling. I did not sugar coat the bad stuff and made sure to revel in the good stuff. I shared what I was doing, how I was feeling and how I was learning to accept the fact that I would have cancer, for the rest of my life.
What I did not realize was that my blog not only impacted my family and friends, it also began to impact many others, too. Complete strangers began to find my blog and cheer me along. They wrote words of encouragement and empathy; they gave me strength and hope. Some days they laughed with me and some days we cried. They shared their stories and begged me to keep writing.
Others with CML, newly diagnosed and veterans alike, also began to find my blog; apparently I was filling a void. I have been poked and prodded, begged and pleaded with, to turn my blog into a book. I have laughed at the suggestion and poo-pooed the idea for three years; all the while, my blog’s audience has continued to expand. It has been picked up by various publications and has gained me some pretty interesting opportunities. At one point I said, “If I ever reach one million page views, I will consider it.”
Well, that day has become a reality; my silly little blog has reached 1,062,321 page views, as of this very moment. What started out as a way to communicate with my closest family and friends has turned into a place where people with CML, other cancers and chronic conditions can go to find answers to some of their questions, and more importantly a place where they can share someone else’s journey, while relating it to their own.
Being an inspiration to others was never my plan; sometimes God has his own plan, and sometimes it takes a sledgehammer to get one to follow; I am thinking that I had better consider that this is God’s plan and to start listening.
My husband truly believes that I contracted CML in order to help others along their own difficult journeys; this is difficult for me to believe, as I feel as though my feet could never begin to fill those shoes, but if hearing my words help even one person, then I am happy to have given back.
Thanks to all of you who have followed my blog, supported my efforts and have joined me on my journey in learning to “Dance My Way Through Leukemia!”