Blogging in a post Keller World

24 Jan

So, I am going to call this era – Post Kellerian. Why not, I can do whatever I want, this is MY blog (sorry Mrs. and Mr. Keller) πŸ™‚

It is fascinating to me how much fascination has come of this whole Keller thing – not the least of which is/was the Keller’s joint fascination with Lisa Boncheck Adams – a woman for whom I have so much admiration I could not possibly find words to adequately describe. But, one would need only to read through her blog to understand why so many of us share a deep respect and admiration for Lisa.

She has chosen to write about her experiences as a metastatic breast cancer patient. Sometimes her writing causes me to shed tears because it is so real and so poignant. The window she has provided into her life through her writings has changed mine deeply. She writes about many things, about pain and loss and about life, her life. Whatever her topic, always, her writing – to me – is beautiful. The fact that the Keller’s were bothered by her tweeting and blogging is so strange to me – especially coming from a former New York Times editor. I would think that a journalist would understand (and appreciate) more fully the fact that Lisa chose to write about her experiences and share these experiences online.

We are all entitled to our own opinions. But, something about the Keller’s focus on Lisa seems, well, just really strange and pointless. I had the opportunity to read both Bill Keller’s Op Ed and his wife’s piece (prior to her piece being removed “pending investigation”). My take on all of it is that they were both a bit emotional and reacting without really reading or perhaps even understanding who or what they were writing about. For example, Bill Keller repeatedly referred to Lisa in the context of being a “cancer warrior” – which is language that LisaΒ (if you actually read her writings would know) does not embrace at all.

So much has been written about Β all of this – and by writers who are far more eloquent than I – so I don’t think I have much to add. But, I do feel that something has changed now after the Keller’s wrote about (and in my opinion, attacked) Lisa Boncheck Adams for simply writing about her OWN experiences and choosing to share these experiences online. I personally have benefited greatly and have been enriched by reading Lisa’s blog. No one forces me to follow her or to read her posts. It is my choice to read what I want and when I want. So that – the fact that the Keller’s are offended by something that they don’t have to even face, read, watch, hear about or “follow” – is what I find most ridiculous about all of this.

So, now I am writing again in my own blog and thinking a bit before I decide to write about my most recent experience with breast reconstructive surgery. How much am I now comfortable sharing in this Post Kellerian era? I really am giving that some serious thought now. (Not that Bill or Emma know who I am or care, but it does make me pause just a bit). Bill Keller’s piece was an “op-ed” piece – so it is his opinion. But, if you read his wife’s previous piece in The Guardian – you might see Bill’s op-ed as less op-eddy and more a defense of his wife. Strange uses of publications like the NYT and The Guardian – if you ask me.

I am proud of my blog. Not that it has changed anyone’s life particularly, but it has changed mine. I write mostly for myself. What began simply as a way to keep family and friends around the country informed on my treatment (and thus spare myself and my family the need for time consuming phone calls to say the same thing over and over again – during a time when I needed to reserve as much energy to treatment and healing as possible) turned into something else. It turned into many things actually.

One wonderful and unexpected thing my blog became was a way to connect with others around the world who are either going through, have gone through, or have family members who have had (or are going through) breast cancer. It catapulted me out of my living room and into a shared universe that is #BCSM (breast cancer social media) on twitter and it connected me not only online, but in person, with so many amazing and wonderful people. I was invited to a blogging summit and have been offered speaking opportunities, including a spot on a radio show. None of this was something I looked for or sought. But, I am most grateful for the real, human connections that this blog has enabled and even carved out. I am so grateful for the friendships that I have made. If I had not blogged or tweeted, I would never have made these friendships. Social media before my cancer diagnosis was something I knew very little of and even thought was kind of silly – why would anyone want to “tweet” I thought?

But, I am so glad that I found this space and joined it and I am so grateful for all that I have learned and continue to learn from so many amazing bloggers (and yes, tweeters).


At the risk of causing distress or shock to either of the Keller’s, this is a photo of my IV line right before my recon surgery last week (took the anesthesiologist four attempts to get a vein and place this IV) and he beat me up a bit in the process (I mean that literally – he slapped my arm and wrist and hand repeatedly to get a vein to show up – lazy bastard – heat compress works without inflicting pain) OOPS!!!! Am I not supposed to talk about this post Keller? Sorry, I know, only pretty photos, pink ribbons and happy talk #fucancer and you know what? #fubillandemma #lookaway

Love and peace,


10 Responses to “Blogging in a post Keller World”

  1. Cancer Curmudgeon January 24, 2014 at 9:00 PM #

    Perhaps this whole incident has re-affirmed the need and drive for most bloggers to continue–a good thing.

  2. sally peck January 24, 2014 at 11:11 PM #

    Sorry this stupidity has entered your life, Lisa. You can ignore people who don’t have a clue, now that you have addressed the issue. May you have peace, support and comfort. And joy!

    • cancerfree2b January 24, 2014 at 11:32 PM #

      Hi Aunt Sally!

      They really are stupid πŸ™‚ It was an entertaining couple of weeks πŸ™‚

      Thank you for your message. Much love, peace, joy and comfort to you too!



  3. helensamia January 25, 2014 at 12:23 AM #

    Blogging has given me so much it has changed for the better the way I deal with illness.. Just being able to share and read others posts takes away the isolation.. Sharing just helps ..❀

  4. Alison Graham-Wells January 25, 2014 at 2:46 AM #

    You are wrong – your blog has had a very strong impact on at least one other person, me.

    I stumbled across your blog a few months ago when I hit a particularly low ebb in my own recovery from breast cancer. It’s a second time around for me and it has been a hard ride. Your blog gave me a kick and the courage to get on with my life.

    I’ve missed this Keller thing and I don’t know Lisa Boncheck Adams blog but I think the Kellers should concentrate on the positive contribution that such blogs make to those of us experiencing this disease – and living with the consequences of it.

    There is a huge drive in the UK at the moment by the cancer research and cancer care charities, which is great. But they don’t tell the whole story. The back story as it were.

    It makes me angry, very angry sometimes, that the story of what really happens to individuals and their families when there is a diagnosis of cancer are not listened to. That a very fluffy package tied up with pink ribbon is being presented in mainstream media as the “true” experience of cancer.

    I’ve been diagnosed with PTSD arising from my experience of the disease. My therapist has suggested that I blog about my experience – as a way of helping myself come to terms with it and to educate wider society about the disease, it’s treatment and my experience of the consequences of diagnosis and treatment. I have created a blog, it’s private for now but one day I will publicise it – if only to piss off Mr and Mrs Keller.

    Cancer, in any form, is a devastating disease and those of us on this particular “journey” (I hate that analogy) have as much right as anyone to broadcast our experience of it. It’s a good thing and a positive contribution to wider society.

    Keep up the good work, blog to your hearts content. I will be having breast reconstruction later this year and I need to know what it’s like so you can’t stop now.

    Good luck. X

    • cancerfree2b January 26, 2014 at 10:23 AM #

      Alison, thank you so much for your comment! I really appreciate it. I am sorry that you have been diagnosed with PTSD. I definitely can relate to that, as I think many of us can who have been through cancer. I am glad that you are getting help for it though, I am not sure that doctors here are really on board with the idea of PTSD being something that is a real result of cancer. I have found blogging very helpful in my recovery and I still very much need to do it (I think) today. I am coming up on five years since my diagnosis this March. I wasn’t supposed to survive that long – and while of course I am incredibly grateful that I am still here – I am not sure how I feel about the five year mark coming up. I am sure I will be writing about that πŸ™‚

      I am so glad you connected. Thank you for your comments. I too share your anger at the whole pink ribbon thing – it is so ridiculous here – as if all of the pain, disfigurement, loss, grief etc. can be packaged up in pink bows – that the world isn’t ready for an uglier, more real version of breast cancer – that is a problem. And, it is one of the reasons why blogging is so important I think. That a different, real story is told.

      I will blog about my experience with reconstruction. Wouldn’t let the Kellers or anyone else prevent me from expressing myself.

      I wish you all the best and hope that one day you will make your blog available. But, either way you keep up the good work and keep writing, it is so helpful!



  5. Alison Graham-Wells January 25, 2014 at 3:08 AM #

    Apologies, perhaps I should have read Bill Keller’s piece before I commented.

    I now have.

    It is not the case that patients with terminal cancer in the UK are unplugged from everything save pain relief.

    They can be – if they want to be.

    All options are explored. It is only when all options are exhausted or when a patient chooses not to take the treatment offered that palliative care kicks in.

  6. Catherine January 25, 2014 at 3:28 PM #

    It is a really good space to be in, eh. I recently wrote a raster explicit post on sex after cancer, and thought to myself, ‘is someone going to their this in my face later?’ But even if it did happen, there is a whole community that has our back. That is one side of the Keller stuff that actually came out positive.

    • cancerfree2b January 25, 2014 at 9:08 PM #

      Exactly, the Kellers had no idea what they were stepping into!
      Such a great space with so many wonderful, amazing people!!!


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