Connecting Online

heart-with-frameWhen I was first diagnosed with my latest cancer in July of last year, I was hesitant to blog publicly about it.

Why? Honestly, I was destroyed by the news. Having breast cancer yet again after twelve years just seemed like a cosmic joke. Also, I feared that I faced my mother’s fate, a quick death after the recurrence of her own breast cancer. My heart was raw with the knowledge of what could happen.

My blogs went quiet until I received the results of my genetic test. I had never expected something like the PTEN mutation, a diagnosis that could explain so much of my past medical history as well as my current cancer. I researched the syndrome and decided to begin writing again in the hopes that my words would reach someone else out there.

Not all of my posts have been upbeat. I decided to lay it all out there in black and white, even when my life was covered in the gray of the unknown. My posts have run the gamut of steroid-fueled rants to sincere statements about the pain of breast cancer treatment.

I expected the occasional “like” on my posts, but I found friends as well. I was pleasantly surprised to connect with other PTEN-ers out there. They have made the revelation of my PTEN status as well as my current cancer journey so much easier. That connection has been a blessing that has come out of all of this badness that is my current situation.

Scanning my Facebook feed this morning, I see that another breast cancer awareness “game” is afoot. Apparently a message is sent, encouraging the recipient to “check their boobies” and put a heart on their timeline.

I have seen the hearts on my friends’ timelines and have wondered about their effect. Does the gamification of breast cancer help in any way? Do the hearts express the pain of breast cancer and the loss of loved ones? Will even one person be spurred to examine their own breasts because of these hearts?  If so, then I am glad.

But I doubt this is true. I would rather see women leave these games behind when it comes to breast cancer. For some of us, breast cancer is all too real and may prove to be deadly.

I no longer have “boobies” to check and have been through the maze of breast cancer treatment twice. This time I face a much worse prognosis as my cancer is currently Stage 3.

I could not save my “boobies.” I am now trying to save my life. This is the true reality of breast cancer.

Ladies, go ahead and play Candy Crush, but please leave the games behind when it comes to cancer. I won’t be participating in the game myself. I would rather share facts about breast cancer and my own experiences, making a real connection with others. As Craig Groeschel states in his upcoming book, Divine Direction: 7 Decisions That Will Change Your Life:

“When you decide to connect with people, you change the story you will tell one day.”

As I review my online life, I would like to be able to say that I had honestly connected with one woman than to post hearts to thousands. If even one person becomes an advocate for their own health or for others living with the PTEN mutation and/or cancer, then I am happy.

If you receive the message on Facebook asking you to share a heart on your timeline, maybe take the time instead to share a website that provides facts about breast cancer that might benefit your friends. Dare to make that real connection with others and potentially save a life.

Below are some great websites that you might share on Facebook:

The Underbelly

METAvivor

Nancy’s Point

The Cancer Couch Foundation

The Pink Fund

Male Breast Cancer Coalition

Metup

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