Day 7 why I started blogging..
Day 7 What made you decide to advocate for your condition
I was an advocate before I started my blogging journey. Indeed I was the Director of a breast cancer charity, Breakthrough Breast Cancer, having set it up in Scotland. My days were spent advocating for greater understanding of the condition, more research into the condition to prevent breast cancer and to prevent relapse or spread and for early diagnosis too. I had been diagnosed for the first time over ten years previously so I did use my knowledge of how it feels in my work but it was in the past for me at that stage.
I started blogging when I was diagnosed for the second time whilst working as the director of a breast cancer charity. Oh the irony! My role was a very public one as campaigning was a key part of it and i had the choice of trying to keep my new diagnosis secret or to somehow use my experience to further understanding of the lived experience of cancer and why our work was so important. And so I stared to blog.
The blog was my boundary for the experience. I was honest but I didn't tell every detail of my life. But it did let me be more fully myself and although my intention was that it might help others, I know it helped me too. It helped me process the expereince, helped me face my fears and look into the shadows and it allowed the people close to me to understand how to support me. My tendency to say "I'm fine" even when I was struggling meant that people didn't know when or if to help. My blog went beyond I'm fine to exposing a deeper truth.
My experience has really shaped my thinking as an advocate. I firmly believe that listening and responding to the voice of lived experience can help to transform the way services are run and to shape priorities for organisations like cancer charities too. Through my blog I've been able to shine a light where I can on services by telling my story. There's a long way to go to bridge the gap between policy and practice and the more we hear the real stories of experience the more we can understand how to make true partnership in care-which I believe is essential- a reality.