I am not an exhibitionist. I thought twice and three times before some of my more personal posts, especially before discussing my mastectomy.
Writing for me has always been therapeutic but that doesn't explain why I chose to expose myself so publicly.
I am doing this, in part, as way to keep friends and loved ones updated, as well as to help them better understand how I'm feeling and what this experience is like.
I am doing this because some apects of cancer treatment are so bizarre that they must be shared.
I am doing this because our culture sometimes treats breast cancer like some kind of terrible secret, which in turn makes having cancer seem slightly shameful. Talking openly about my cancer makes people feel less awkward around me, which is much, much easier for me. I have always believed in acknowledging the elephant at the table and while I respect the decision of others to keep their cancer a secret, it's really not the right choice for me. I guess I was pretty much an open book anyway (to mix my metaphors liberally) and don't see why cancer should change that.
I am also writing because people like Margaret Wente (a columnist with the Globe and Mail, one of Canada's "national" newspapers) really piss me off. In a recent column Ms. Wente scoffed at the idea of a cancer epidemic, talked about the cancer bandwagon and said that, of course there is more breast cancer now because there are more older people. She also dismissed the idea of environmental factors and the need for research into prevention.
I want Ms. Wente and others to know that I'm here, 38 years old, with no breast cancer in my family and very few of the risk factors associated with the disease. I really felt that my lump and subsequent diagnosis with stage 2b breast cancer came from out of nowhere. I didn't chose to hop onto this particular bandwagon, nor did the many other women in my circle (including several diagnosed before the age of 40). I don't know if I would use the word 'epidemic' but I do know that our numbers are growing and feel very strongly that 'why' of this must be further explored.
Finally, I am writing because, after my diagnosis, I found a dearth of stories about younger women with breast cancer and I thought that if I appreciate others' stories, then someone might like to read mine.
That's why I blog.