I have been out and proud for some time (well, since July) and I am floored by the amount of people on my blog, reading about my breast cancer plot twist and reaching out to me and sharing how my story has helped them with their story. It is humbling, it is awesome and it helps me feel that I am doing some good out of bad. I am big about that - I want to take this crappy thing and make it into something more.
I know the lessons I am learning and the things I am doing about helping those behind me on this never ending (seeming) cancer trian and I also have an idea ofhow I want to move forward but it is still not an ideal situation to have been diagnosed at breast cancer at 39 years old.
During my treatment, when I was bald and tired and just doing all I could to keep putting one foot in front of the other and one sticky note down at a time on my chemo wall I deactivated my Facebook account.
I already was no longer blogging on my business website (I had stopped that in August 2016 when I was hired for a full time teaching gig) and I was not really using Twitter or Instagram (and definitely not Instagram - why would I want to document myself at my “ugliest” - do not worry, I see the beauty in those photos now and have been sharing them so jokes on you Cancer, I do not care anymore!).
Why did I close out Facebook? Truthfully, it was so hard seeing people go about their regular lives. Nothing was “regular” about my life. To be totally honest, my life really has never been about being “regular”, though. I have always been unapologetically ME - weird, an oddball, the person that can make you laugh until you cry but then will kind of shut down and do something awkward that just shows how bad I am at being social and “on” all of the time.
I was very inward focused from about 2005 - I had my marriage and then my children to consume me. I did not look at me anymore as a person - I was just a mom and focused on doing all I could to keep my little family afloat over some very choppy waters in the ship that is not my story to tell.
Watching Facebook posts, which we all know are curated to show the “best” but still just looking at people having regular sh*t to worry about, going about their lives with hair and eyebrows was too painful for me. Also painful was the ShoeBox App on my phone - I could not look at the memories of photos taken on that day in the past because for most of those days I was just trying to survive.
I just recently reactivated Facebook again and for a selfish reason. I want to raise money for my Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk and/or go about making people walk with me. It is also to do more about keeping myself social and “out there”. I learned with breast cancer that the people who surprised me the most were not those who walked away but those who went above and beyond, those who stayed by my side and just in being there, made my life more “normal”. Here is to the normalcy - let us all recognize what we have when we have it and appreciate it every day.
Please consider donating to my walk at http://main.acsevents.org/goto/LisaNielsen or even better join up and walk with me, I am around and looking forward to being awkwardly hilarious for many, many years to come…
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