Breast Cancer 3.0: An Amazing Community

I read something recently that has stayed with me. In her excellent blog Journeying Beyond Breast Cancer, Marie Ennis O’Connor discussed the loneliness of survivors. You may not be able to find a support group locally, or you may not care to join one. Then what?

That got me thinking about how much reaching out to each other online can help. I touched on this to some extent in a post last year called Breast Cancer 2.0, but at the time I was just getting my sea legs online and my frame of reference was  pretty limited to my own blog. I knew of survivor blogs and online communities but hadn’t checked any of them out.

Now that I have, I’m in complete awe of the communal spirit that’s alive and well online, not only in blogs but in Facebook and Twitter as well. Twitter is the one that really surprised me. More than anything, it puts the conversation in social media. ChemoBabe explains it far better than I can in “Over Our Heads.”

As you venture further online, read first, get comfortable and then please feel free to wade in. You may be shy at first; I remember when I was (which seems hard to believe now). But you’ll be amazed at how many people have been through something similar, whether it’s loneliness, fear or noticing just how absurd the cancer experience can be, and how willing they are to lend their support. It can help you more than you know to offer your support online as well.

More of my representative but very uncomprehensive list of favorites follows. Watch for a follow-up post on some of my favorite doctor blogs.

Pink Link. An online community for women with breast cancer and caregivers. Its founder Vicki Tashman saw a resource gap and decided to fill it.

Awesome Cancer Survivor. Alicia Staley came up with the very funny What’s Your Cancer Age calculator, a twisted take on the popular Real Age calculators.

The Breast Cancer Culture Chronicles. Anna Rachnel is scary smart and wicked funny. Check out how she dissects Komen’s finances in her two-part Komen by the Numbers. Someone needs to turn her loose on healthcare reform costs. She recently started a new blog, Can-Do Women.

Bringing Up Goliath. Stacey calls her musings about breast cancer and motherhood mundane. They are anything but, as evidenced by Get It Where You Can.

Debbie’s Life-is-Bigger-Than-Cancer Blog. Her post Blessed Instead of Depressed is a heartfelt look at chasing the demons of depression. 

Uneasy Pink. Another sharp observer of the culture, aptly blended with the personal. Katie’s intelligence is matched only by her taste in poetry. Read Almost Yesterday’s Opposite and you’ll see.

Women With Cancer. Jody Schoger is a wise writer and tireless researcher. Her Dearest Thyroid: I Was Wrong , an unflinching look at thyroid cancer, has been passed around by doctors and “civilians” alike.

I’m barely scratching the surface, but there’s an amazing community of supportive, intelligent, funny women out there, and you’re welcome to join. You don’t have to go through it alone.

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17 thoughts on “Breast Cancer 3.0: An Amazing Community

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Breast Cancer 3.0: An Amazing Community « Dispatch From Second Base -- Topsy.com

  2. Jackie, I’m so touched. I’m constantly amazed at the supportive, caring online community I stumbled upon only a few months ago. I started my blog in hope of connecting with others to save my own sanity. It didn’t occur to me for one second that anything I wrote would resonate with someone else. To think that it does has come to mean everything to me. This blog community and the Twitter pie cowbells are an amazing gift. You are so right, we don’t have to go through it alone and everyone should know that.

    • Stacey, I know exactly what you mean. Knowing that something you said resonated with someone is such a great feeling, and like you said, it doesn’t occur to most of us that what we say can do that for someone. But it does. Thank you for commenting!

  3. Jackie – I think you’ve really hit the nail on the head here. I too continue to be awed and amazed by the wonderful group of women that inhabit this cyber-community. I also felt timid and shy when I first ventured in, but was welcomed with open arms. I finally joined the conversation and I couldn’t be happier. The other dimension that I really enjoy, is that if you look at all of our blogs we all have quite different styles and perspectives, yet we are still able to come together to debate, discuss and respect each other’s points of views. I can’t think of a better way to keep breast cancer in the public consciousness (my kind of “awareness”), but more importantly the camaraderie and joy of friendship with people who know exactly how you are feeling. And by the way thanks much for the compliments, but I don’t think DC is quite ready for me yet. Plus I need to hurry up and fill out my citizenship app……;) The Cancer Culture Chronicles welcomes everyone into the conversation. See you in cyberspace!

    • You too Anna! I’m with you, I love how different everyone’s styles/frames of reference are–yet so much of our experience is universal. And I’m glad I wasn’t the only one who was scared. The first time I posted a comment on the NY Times Well blog my hands practically shook. And then Twitter seemed like something I would never get the hang of. I hope this doesn’t mean we’ll start hanging out on Quora 🙂 Peace.

  4. Jackie, I, too, have been overwhelmed by the online support. Thanks for pointing out these great sources. Like Anna said, everybody has their own unique style and yet we all are “the same.” Pretty amazing.

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