Timehop tells me that a year ago today I made the fairly huge decision to go public about my illness. The family and I had spent the last couple of weeks coming to terms with the blow and trying to decide whether and how to tell people. In the end I decided that there really was only one way for me – and that was all in, fully public. Out and proud. I knew there would be no hiding after publishing that first cancer blog and I have to admit I was far from convinced it was the right thing to do.
I didn’t realise it at the time, but that decision turned out to be one of the best I’ve ever made. I shared my blog with family, friends, colleagues, Facebook and Twitter. That first blog post was read thousands of times across dozens of countries. The outpouring of love, both then and throughout the year, was phenomenal. I was contacted by strangers wanting to offer support. Other breast cancer sufferers reached out to me for advice or to thank me for sharing my story. It turns out just writing it all down could help others – and it helped me too. Putting pen to paper (so to speak) emptied all the thoughts from my head, helped to make some sense of what was happening – cathartic somehow. Comments on my blog and Facebook kept me going, particularly on bad days when I would reread them over and over.
Some posts attracted more comments and messages than others and those were the days that my phone pinged constantly. Replying to everyone kept occupied and distracted. Exactly what I needed.
Some of you would ask me how you could help, frustrated, helpless, feeling that you should be doing something, anything. You never knew that just reaching out was the most precious gift. So to you, my readers, from the bottom of my heart I thank you. To every single one of you that has read some of my posts, commented, sent a private message, please know that you helped me through some of my darkest days. ❤️