Blogging the end of your life?: the rise of terminally ill bloggers
Blogging has recently skyrocketed in popularity as a career path. Recently, there has been a surge in people with terminally illnesses deciding to document their journey through treatment and their day-to-day life. For those whose illnesses have taken over their lifestyle, meaning they cannot work, blogging is absolutely perfect as it is something you can do in your own time, on your own terms and from anywhere. Terminally ill bloggers have also been hailed as extremely valuable, shedding light on what it is like to have one and in helping others going through a similar thing. Communities of people who are suffering a terminal illness have been formed, which extremely heart-warming and important for some many reasons.
Lisa Magill had been blogging about living with terminal cancer ever since she was 30 years old up to the age of 34. Her blog is named Terminally Fabulous and discusses the good, bad and ugly parts of living with the disease, as she put it herself. Lisa tragically passed away, but her blog is still available to read and has been said to help so many people cope with their own experiences of cancer. Lisa posted a video update which was a harrowing insight into her state of health. In the post she is visibly weak and explains how much pain she is in, but despite this, still thanks her followers and supporters who she claims she would not be here without at that time.
Lisa often updated her blog with pictures before, after and during her treatments and spoke about the effect that the treatment had on her body. Despite her being a lot of pain, she managed to keep her followers updated throughout her time battling cancer. She wrote in one post: “I don’t have the strength to hold myself. I’ve now got to have my mum or a nurse of a friend take me to the shower and shower me so that’s a lot of fun. I wanted to let you all know that I love you and without you all I wouldn’t still be here. I truly believe that. You kept me going and you gave me strength. Stay fabulous please, and keep on rocking.”
Inside My Head
Anna Swabey, the blogger behind Inside My Head, dedicated her last few months to document her battle with a terminal brain tumor which she was diagnosed with in 2015. She maintained that it was of such importance to raise awareness of brain tumours, something she said she knew nothing about before her diagnosis, which made her feel alone with it. Her blog certainly did raise awareness, documenting all things positive and negative which she experienced – including the lead up to her wedding! She wrote on her blog “I am determined to leave a mark on the world, and I am desperate to make a difference.” Unfortunately, Alex passed away the day before she could tie the knot.
Mastering the Art of Living Whilst Dying
Canadian Blogger Karin was diagnosed with a rare type of cancer called Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma in 2008. To document her thoughts and feelings and treatment process, she started Mastering the Art of Living Whilst Dying.
She explains on her blog that her type of cancer tends to attack the head and the neck, and she often documented the effect this has on her breathing and general pain levels.
“It took some time for my head to get around the concept (of having the knowledge she was dying), but it did occur to me that none of us are going to get out of here alive and perhaps I’m lucky to know in advance” she writes.
The Importance of Terminally Ill Bloggers
The presence of terminally ill vloggers coupled with the accessibility offered by the world wide web can provide a community for those who feel as though they are alone with a terminal illness or any kind of chronic disease. Not only this, but blogs like those mentioned above can raise much-needed awareness of the realities of living with a life-threatening illness as well as highlighting certain, rarer conditions people may not have prior knowledge of.
Ultimately, it seems as when reading through a blog of someone talking about terminal illness, the stigma is void. They provide a raw, real and authentic perspective to an audience – it is like catching up with a friend, rather than reading about a condition direct from the NHS website. The audience and the blogger build up an over-the-web relationship, which can be comforting for both the reader and the author, with masses of support coming their way.
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