19 July 2006


Have you ever read something that has humbled you?

I did today, which has prompted me to interrupt my (almost negligible) pictures of the (lack of) knitting I've been doing lately.

I was sent from here to this, about the horrifying process of this blogger finding out if the unidentifiable masses in her breast are cancer or not.

Why am I humbled about this? These women have written about personal information about their families (Keyboard Biologist) and about their bodies (My Only Sunshine). Amanda is talking about her breast on her blog, is getting comfort and peace (through writing about it) and yet I haven't felt like you guys would want to know about me.

That's sad. I view all of you regular readers as my friends, and many of you are not just blog friends, but real ones, too (this includes you lurkers--you know who you are J.M.). Keeping such a huge part of my life these past few months from you guys has started to feel more like a lie as more time passes. Why? It is taking up such a huge part of my thoughts and actions, and coloring my attitude and what I do chose to write about. I feel like writing about my breast is, well, Way Too Much Information. It involves words like nipple, even. Eeek. Who wants to hear about that?

It is just that as the whole testing process was going on, I couldn't bear to have people worrying. Then, once I got the diagnosis, I couldn't bear to think about it. It wasn't until last night when Terry (seen here (a little surprised) with her boy @ the CT S&W festival) sat me down and made a list for me of questions to ask tomorrow about surgery, reconstruction and such that I stopped hiding from what's going on. Then, today, I see others brave enough to face it, and I feel humbled.

The situation is this: (do, please, stop reading if you don't want to know, and skip down to the contest part)

I have a small growth on my right nipple (not too icky looking). After the biopsy in June (hence the painkillers, as it was in a very tricky spot) and many horrible tests and comments from specialts that it must be cancer, it was found to not be cancer. Thank GOD. But, the nipple still has to be removed. The type of thingie it is will cause cancer in about 85% of patients, if it is left to hang around.

Please, tell me how you draw the line about what to post in your blog and what not to. I have been struggling with this for months, and haven't know what other people do--how other people choose. I have been meaning to post a contest about this, but have been avoiding it.

Tell me in the comments or send me an email how you choose what to post in your blog, how much personal information you decide to share, and if you've had any repercussions if you have shared too much. If you don't have a blog, tell me what you would do if you DID have one.

The winner of a random number draw gets a lovely prize of yummy Sock Yarn, or Pretty Roving :)

Thanks for the help, guys. <


At 12:53 PM, Blogger Blue Gal said...

Since I have an anonymous political blog your question really doesn't fit. But I like the question. I'll send this post to a couple diary bloggers who might be interested.

www.ballsandwalnuts.com and www.threadingwater.wordpress.com are good bloggers who do share some personal info...

At 1:08 PM, Blogger Netter said...

First, let me say, I'm glad to hear it's benign, but what you have to go through going forward is still going to be traumatic. I share a lot on my blog (not that you could tell lately), including health issues. It's not an easy line to draw. I think since most of us are women, nipple talk's not TMI, but I guess the way to do it is if you'd talk about it at SnB, if you have one. Personally, I wouldn't worry about being gross but feeling like I was imposing on people. You know, like they come here for pictures of yarn but not to hear about my MRI (have to check if I mentioned that on my blog last year).

At 2:37 PM, Blogger PBnJ said...

Sorry that you've been going thru this, but glad it's benign. I love to read knit blogs. LOVE it. I don't mind if people share what's going on in their lives - makes them seem more like real people than computer/blog characters.
However, on my blog, I've chosen to try to stick to only crafts, knitting, etc. and try not to add too much personal info at this time. (I only recently started my blog)
I'd like my blog to be a happy positive place - I don't want to tell everyone how crummy my day was, or how badly we're going thru a crisis situation, etc. I guess I'm just not ready or willing to share that kind of stuff yet. So I guess my blog is just a "front" so to speak. I just want it to be a sunny place even if the rest of my life might involve rough seas...
So I guess it depends on if YOU want other people to know about those more personal parts of your life or not. Sister bloggers can be a tremendous source of support!
Hope this helps :)

At 2:51 PM, Blogger NeedleTart said...

I try not to share anything about others in the family without their permission. Anything the kids say is fair game. Pictures of them or their names are verbotten. As for personal struggles, whether medical or emotional, I think I might post those, because the people who read my blog are either friends I just haven't met yet, or family. As Elder Son said, the reason I blog is "now you have friends."

At 2:58 PM, Anonymous eskimo said...

Lovely girl,
I love your blog because it is you speaking in your own voice. Maybe I'm the only one who reads it who knows what that voice sounds like when screaming in frustration or fear. I personally would like to see you express more of your life here or in other spots (hint, hint); I usually feel better about getting it out, and I know you do, too. If you wanted to share your personal life,I think you should. If you prefer it private, that's your decision. I count myself very lucky to get many sides of you, and anyone who reads you probably will, too.
To anyone who isn't CygKnit: You can never know what a great woman she is by reading her blog. She is warm and strong and creative; she is the only person in the world who can tell me to shut up (that's the strength). I am loud and obnoxious and uncontrollable, but when in her presence, I want to behave myself so she won't go away. She makes you want to be a better person. Even if she posted her entire life here, it would pale in comparison to how great a girl she is.
Cyn, I know you consider this your knitting/spinning blog, but what you must realize is that the craft is what keeps you sane as you go through your life. It's all connected.

At 3:20 PM, Blogger KnitterBunny said...

It is never forbidden to ask for help and support. I try to forget the petty stuff and stay pretty light, but the occassional "getting to know you" personal stuff does make me, as a reader, want to keep reading. Sometimes sharing is the best catharsis you can have.

At 5:15 PM, Blogger threadingwater said...

Great question, and I'm glad BlueGal directed me to your site. I'll be back, I'm sure.

While I do occasionally share personal aspects of my life, I'm careful about how much. I never use my real name, nor do I reveal my husband's name. We both have high-profile jobs and, while I'm proud of what I write and stand by my political convictions, I prefer to avoid controversy spilling over to my work life.

On the other hand, I think it's important when expressing a political view to be as honest as possible about one's biases. The fact that I'm female, over 50, white and well-educated is important. So is information like my past as a single-parent, or, when I'm writing about reproductive issues, my experience with abortion.

My personal experiences have shaped my political point of view and I believe readers are entitled to know this.

But, they don't need to know everything. And, a lack of personal experience doesn't necessarily diminish the validity of my opinions. I've never served in the military, but I feel entitled on moral grounds to express my criticism of the War in Iraq and our Secretary of Defense.

Your question arose out of a personal medical crisis, and that's a whole 'nuther can of worms. If you're comfortable writing about your experience, I say bring it on! Every woman I know is personally terrified by the idea of breast cancer. But, how many of us have actually SEEN a mastectomy scar? I'm the sort of person who needs tons of information when dealing with a crisis of any kind, and I find that reading about the cancer experiences of other women and even looking at pictures they are brave enough to post, alleviates some of my darkest fears - ones I don't even dare express out loud.

Those women are my heroes, and if I ever find myself in their position, what I've learned from them through their writing will help me as much as the counsel and support of friends and family.

At 6:36 PM, Anonymous Kelly said...

I'm so glad that it was benign and I'm sorry you have to go through all this. As for where I draw the line. I don't talk much about politics or religion. I don't talk about members outside of kids and husband. I too feel like the people I've met through blogging and who comments on my blog are friends so I do feel comfortable sharing personal stuff. Over the almost year that I've been blogging I realized what a supportive group the knit bloggers are. So I say if you feel comfortable sharing what's going on you should. I certainly would like to know how you're doing because I consider you a friend as well and would like to be able to offer my support.

At 9:40 PM, Anonymous Diane E. said...

So glad it's benign. Advancements in the medical field have been so fantastic over the years that I'm sure you'll be fine and heal quickly. The worst part of being probed and not knowing details is over. Sharing personal details is a great way of getting much needed support.

At 12:15 AM, Anonymous Doug Hoffman said...

Blue Gal sent me here. My blog is not anonymous -- one can, with little effort, figure out my full name and office address -- so I'm a good one for this question.

Over the last year, I've revealed a LOT about myself and my family. Where I draw the line: stuff which would be out-and-out hurtful to my family members or friends. There's a lot I could reveal about my childhood (and about my parents in particular) which I hint at but don't delve into any further.

As for stuff which only affects me, the sky's the limit. I would have no problem divulging details of a health problem, for example, nor do I show much shame when it comes to my own stupidities. I try to do it with humor and occasional flashes of insight. Anyway, my readers seem to like it.

At 8:09 PM, Blogger Sarah said...

First of all, hugs, hugs, and more hugs! I'm SO glad that the growth is benign!!!

As for the blog...the general rule I use when deciding what to post is, is this something I would be comfortable sharing with a library patron I don't know well or with a person I'm standing in line next to at the grocery store? If I wouldn't be comfortable sharing it with a stranger, I'm not very likely to post about it on my blog. I do use my own name (first name only, though) occasionally, but I don't use J's full name, I don't post anything specific about where I live, and I generally don't talk about people and definitely don't post their pictures unless I have their permission (although I don't tend to ask other bloggers if I can link to them or whatever -- I figure that if they have a blog of their own, they're comfortable with that sort of thing).

I do, however, have a separate restricted-access online journal where I write about more personal things. I don't share it widely, though, and don't intend to change that.

At 2:09 AM, Anonymous Jo said...

Your blog is your blog, and you have to decide what you are comfortable with. Most of your readers are linked to you in some personal way, either as family, fellow crafters, friends. However, it is a public space, and anybody can read it.

With that in mind, I am careful to not post anything that could have negative ramifications for my family, my coworkers, my career. As others have posted, that means vague info about my job, home address, husband and kids names, and so on. Although I have a fairly high-profile job, I also am pretty open in my workplace about my family and hobbies. I'm not always open about personal political/moral views, because in my work (research) it's important to try to keep personal views out of the data analysis.

If you think discussing a health issues (in your rather anonymous blog) would negatively affect your job or your family, then by all means you should not put it in the blog. Given the nature of your work, and the structure of your blog, I don't think you have much risk. Thus, the only question is what you are comfortable with discussing.

Think of it as talking with a few friends in a coffeeshop. They are there to hear you, but the dude at the nearby table could hear you too. Odds are he won't, nor would he care, but odds are you will watch your words more than if you were with those friends in your living room.

Thank you for sharing your ordeal. I am very very glad to hear it is not cancerous - I am somewhat familiar (clinically speaking, not personally) with the type of lesion and am glad that your doctors are on top of it. Please keep us posted, or if you choose to keep it off the blog, email to those of us who regularly read... Or consider a private blog at LiveJournal to discuss it, where you can limit access to friends.

At 1:35 PM, Anonymous Jess said...

Hi :o) I had to take a day to think about my response...

I talk about lots of stuff on my blog - my teen, my BF, pretty much my life with that part of my 'family'.

I don't speak of my ex-husband 'issues', mother 'issues', or sister 'issues' partly because mom & sis have blogs of their own and partly because I don't want to alienate ppl with my crazy-ass family ;o)

I also don't speak of my depression 'issues'. I guess I go by the rule of if I won't speak of it at the knitting group when everyone is there then I don't blog about it.

Although here I am now mentioning all four things I don't blog about...*sigh*

At 1:36 PM, Anonymous Jess said...

AND I'm very glad to hear that it's benign :o)

At 1:44 PM, Blogger Jane said...

I am so pleased to hear that your "thing" is benign! OK, so there's still some stuff to deal with, but you're a big strong girl, you can cope :o)

I haven't had my blog long, and actually I think I'm probably fairly well-known but I try and keep my family's real names out of it, even though I use my own. It's made a little more difficult if I want to share instances of living with my disability - that's a rare one and instantly reveals who I am.

I'm also an open book and trust people far too easily and have been hurt dreadfully by that. So I determine NOT to be like that again... but I can't help myself! I have experienced so much in life I can't help but want to share it. I like to feel accepted by people, and perhaps go out of my way to make them like me. Then again, I have lost count of the number of times I have spoken to people in real life who tell me how great I am, what an inspiration I am, how fair-minded I am when giving advice, what a great listener I am... I know, it sounds like I'm blowing my own trumpet LOL But people do say that, and often too, so I can't be all bad :o)

I think you should share on your blog exactly what you want to share. I suppose I always try to make it an amusing read, even when I'm writing about something that's been terrible. And I think you achieved that with your post: it wasn't maudlin, "Oh woe is me," even though you would have every right. It was matter-of-fact-this-is-how-it-is-folks. I haven't known you long, but that's excatly what I'd expect from you :o)

Lots of love :o)


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