Truth is, this ISN’T the first time I’ve had a blog. When I was diagnosed with breast cancer back in 2001, I kept a weekly journal about what I was going through, rather than talk about it (much) on tv. Back then, there was no such thing as a blog… it was a diary. I wrote just about every Thursday for nearly two years, and my columns were on the WESH-TV website. I think they gave people pretty good insight into what it was like for a 39-year-old woman, a fit and competitive athlete, to be thrust into a world of blood tests and surgery and chemotherapy. Cancer.
The first thing that crossed through my mind when I was diagnosed was, “There goes my triathlon season.” Then, I had to think about more practical, life-saving issues. I was lucky, blessed with the network of friends, family, doctors, excellent insurance, and frankly, celebrity in Orlando when I heard the words, “You have cancer.” At that time, I was the main anchor and had been at my tv station for a dozen years. My first phone call was to our tv doctor, Todd Husty, who helped me find a surgeon, told me about sentinel node biopsy (which is now common, but was new 12 years ago), and more. I had the best doctors who took impeccable care of me. It’s like one of my docs told me, “Who wants to be the doctor who kills Wendy Chioji?”
I still went through what most breast cancer patients go through: Learning about the disease and the health care system; indescribable, violent nausea from chemo; surgery that changes how you look forever; changes in how you see yourself, your life, your future.
I just found my cancer diaries on floppy disk (!) and had them converted to CD. I read all of them and believe they are still pertinent and relevant to cancer patients and their families. I’m going to post them all under the heading The Cancer Diaries, so they are always accessible. Fear comes from what you don’t know, and I’m hoping that this “as live” documenting of my cancer experience will take away some of the fear of the unknown… maybe answer some questions or create some. So now even though my “diary” is now a “blog,” I think you still might get something out of it.
Just as I did in 2001 and 2002, I will post new (old) entries every Thursday, beginning this week. This time around, I’ll post a month’s worth of entries at a time. I never wanted to be a poster girl for cancer survivorship, but you can only say it ain’t so so many times. Now, I’m hoping that my experience makes someone else’s a little more bearable, a little less scary, and sometimes, actually funny. Like they say in the Livestrong manifesto: Cancer leaves your body, but it never leaves your life.