In this guest blog post, member Carly Medosch describes Lisa Adams whom she knows from social media. Lisa Adams was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer and documented her journey in social media. In another post below we describe the media firestorm that was caused by two articles that criticized her efforts. A hashtag was created to follow the story on Twitter #IStandwithLisa.
I have a huge amount of respect for Lisa. She strikes a graceful balance between showing a “warts and all” picture of her life with cancer – the reality of uncertainty, chemo, painful tumors, talking to her children about her diagnosis and prognosis, the difficulty of writing while on medication to make her pain bearable – and being a positive and inspirational presence in the world through Twitter and her blog. She is not a self-obsessed navel-gazer. Lisa has created #mondaypleads, a weekly reminder and gentle, loving, motherly nag to make the health appointment that you’ve been putting off. (If you’ll allow a tangent: today is the 17th anniversary of my Grandfather’s death from prostate cancer. It wasn’t caught in time because he refused to be screened.) Lisa also tweets a daily reminder to find beauty in the world, even if it is difficult, or you have to create it yourself. Lately the beauty she finds is in the caring staff during her latest, prolonged hospital stay. Even her ability to merely keep up with Twitter and blogging is impressive.
Gentle reader, I will admit that I didn’t follow Lisa at first. I read a few retweets and some blog posts. The writing was excellent, but I wasn’t sure I could handle that emotional journey. Plus, I reasoned that I already followed so many people documenting their health, maybe that was enough. It didn’t take me long to change my mind, however. Now, I feel that it is a privilege to share these intimate looks into her life.
Lisa’s commitment to writing (for free) is a gift made even more special because so often the impulse is to horde precious time and energy for your family and loved ones. She is educating people about cancer, but also about how to live with hope, grace, and extreme strength. Lessons that connect us across cross disease communities, and reach out farther still into the hearts of all who are brave enough to read her stories.
Carly is a proud 2012 Stanford MedicineX ePatient Scholar. By day she is a program analyst in Washington, DC. By night, she is an IBD support group leader, 20-year chronic illness patient, former designer and MBA. She blogs occasionally at blog.chronicarly.com and tweets about her pet bunnies at @CarlyRM.