The News

Bumping and screeching, the plane finally lands.  I’m operating on very little sleep. I’m exhausted and hungry. I turn on my phone. I try to text my Aunt letting her know that we have arrived, however, the text keeps failing. I wait rather impatiently as the phone reset and the plane taxis toward the gate. Finally I manage to get the text to send, “We have landed”. She replies with “Meet us near the Tim Hortons. Go out the doors and walk to the right”. I comment to the gentleman sitting next to me how ironic that while waiting at a US airport a Canadian would be getting a coffee at Tim Horton’s—a rather ubiquitous donut and coffee chain in Canada.
We exit the plane and stop at the first restroom. We then follow the signs towards baggage claim. We seem to have landed at the furthest gate from the exit. We have carried-on all our bags, so we don’t need to pick up baggage. We can leave the airport and head directly to the hospital. My Aunt texts “I will meet you in baggage claim”. The change in pickup directions doesn’t register as anything special in my mind.
My left arm is hurting. I mention to my husband that I should put on a compression sleeve so that it doesn’t swell, as it is prone to lymphedema. He suggests that we pause there – still within the secure part of the airport – so that I can put it on now. I agree that it is better that I get it on before any swelling happens. If my arm does swell it can take months to get back to normal. I see a bench, so we stop and I dig out a compression sleeve from my backpack and put it on. I feel like we are keeping my Aunt waiting, and we need to keep moving towards baggage claim.
We exit security to discover we are on the upper departures level of the airport. We follow the signs to the escalator. We hop on with our roller bags behind us. We are both scanning the baggage area looking for my Aunt. My husband spots her first and waves. She waves back and moves to greet us as we step off the escalator.
I step off the escalator and take a few steps towards my Aunt. I reach over to give her a hug of greeting. I give my She whispers in my ear: “I am sorry honey, your father passed 10 minutes ago.”

Recently, I hosted a couple of ePatient conversations about “Making the private public: Why we blog about illness” (see Virtually Connecting ePatients). This last week has me thinking more and more about why I blog – both here and about illness. Last year, when I reflected on why I blog on my Breast Cancer blog, I talked about blogging as a way to communicate to many people, but also blogging as a way to meet my compulsion to write.

Now, I’m reflecting again on why I blog (and why I write). There is more to it that what I had previously written. I used my breast cancer blog as a way to tell my loved ones (and the world) what I wanted done if I died. I wanted it recorded someplace so that everyone knew, and there was no doubt or question – not that I anticipated any, just that it blogging it helped to make things easier for my loved ones in the event of my death.

Another thing that drives me to write, and to blog, is when things keep replaying in my brain (e.g. the story above). Writing them down seems to work well to help stop the replay. It helps me process what happened, but also helps stop the flashbacks and tears associated with the flashbacks. The tears still roll as a read the passage above, but it is no longer repeating itself in my brain over-and-over. Somehow putting it on a page and sharing it, helps me move passed the flashbacks and reduces the intensity of the emotion. I think this is an important reflection on my blogging, as a lot of my breast cancer experience was a trauma, and blogging helped me deal with the trauma.

Feature Images: Dad’s first fish after we moved to BC in 1976.

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