I started this blog, partly to share my experience of breast cancer, but largely as a kind of therapy. I felt it would give me something to think about, something to focus on and generally stop me feeling sorry for myself. It's certainly done that. In fact I'd go so far as to say I've enjoyed it so much I don't know how I would've got through everything without it. I do think though that it has fulfilled its function and that there are now no new treatment experiences to describe. I don't imagine that daily arimidex tablets and three weekly herceptin drips will make for rivetting reading! So although I'll miss it dreadfully I've decided to call it a day.
I've written fifty posts, spanning exactly six months, receiving nearly nine thousand page views. In addition to those with experience of breast cancer many people who have no contact atall with cancer have also been reading it, which I hadn't expected. Another unexpected spin-off has been the fantastic feedback and support I've received from friends (by e-mail) and complete strangers (who've commented on the blog itself) who I feel have almost become friends. Somehow being new to the world of blogging I hadn't anticipated that. At the risk of sounding a bit like an Oscar speech (I wish!) I feel I must mention a few people in particular - Peg (from Canada) and Meg (from this country) both of whom have been incredibly supportive and full of useful advice. I hope I won't lose touch with either of them. Then there's Ebren, who did a little detective work and decided from my blog that I must live near her. It turned out we live in neighbouring villages! We've since met up and in fact she has become Purple Wig Friend. And I'd always been so sniffy about meeting people off the internet, imagining it being confined to paedophiles and vulnerable youngsters. I take it all back. Technology is a wonderful thing. On that note I must also thank Literary Friend (Dovegreyreader) who patiently showed me how to set up the blog and my daughter who gave me the idea and encouragement in the first place.
If, along the way, the blog has helped other people coming up behind me, then that's got to be a good thing too. There's always going to be the fear of the unknown but the more things are talked about the easier they'll become. I can't imagine how awful it must have been having cancer back in the 'old days' when the whispered word spelt almost certain death. I'm also well aware that I'm 'lucky' to have such a common type of cancer. Being such an emotive disease it's attracted huge funding for research, which in turn has improved its prognosis beyond all imagining, twenty, even ten years, ago.
On my very first post when I got my diagnosis I talked about 'never getting to Vienna now' and several people commented there and then that they looked forward to hearing one day about a trip there. Wig Advisor Friend has just returned, full of enthusiasm, from a long weekend in Budapest and this set me thinking about taking a three centre holiday to Vienna, Budapest and Prague. So that, along with Madeira, is something to look forward to. And in 2009 when I've finished with the herceptin we're planning a holiday in Australia to make up for the wedding there this year that we couldn't make. Thank heavens for my lump sum!
Is there anyone out there who remembers John Ebdon, who had a little slot on Radio 4 back in the 70's? He used to have a humorous look at the issues of the day, along with his very superior cat, Perseus, whose wry take on life he would relay to the listeners. He always used to sign off with the words, 'If you have been, thanks for listening.' Well, I'm going to pinch his catchphrase and amend it slightly. 'If you have been, thanks for reading.' As for me I'm off to my exercise bike to ride away into the sunset.