New York Times Motherlode Blogroll

March 2nd, 2013 § 7 comments

IMG_4566By now many of you have heard the news that my blog was chosen to be included in the New York Times Motherlode Blogroll. I’m so thrilled that editor KJ Dell’Antonia chose to share my writing with a wider audience. The original web announcement appears here, and the text appears below.

It’s exciting to see the readership grow. I’ve been busy reading the emails, tweets, and comments from readers who connect with what I’ve written. The notes of suppport and appeals to “keep doing what I’m doing” cheer me. When someone writes, “you’ve expressed what I’m feeling” or “I’m learning from you” I know that what I’m doing is right. I try to answer emails, even if it’s just a sentence or two, but sometimes I just cannot. Please know I read EVERY word you write to me, if I can’t respond individually all the time, I ask your forgiveness.

If you haven’t read my essay The mentor I never met about my own introduction to a blogger with cancer, please do. It’s one of the most important things I’ve written. It explores the connection between a reader and a blogger. I know there are thousands of you reading these words that don’t know me personally. But that doesn’t matter. I understand how reading a diary of the innermost thoughts of someone facing stage 4 cancer brings us together. My readers here and followers on Twitter understand me in a way that even my close friends cannot. It’s one reason I love social media. There is a connection that can be made (at least the way that I use social media).

I welcome new readers who’ve come here after seeing KJ’s announcement. I treasure the readers who have been with me, encouraging me from the start.

A bit of housekeeping before I turn you over to the Times profile: my bloodwork this week showed stable tumor marker (CA 15-3) numbers. This is good. Side effects from the chemo have varied from annoying/challenging/painful to quite tolerable. This is as much as I can hope for. IMG_4571I was able to spend a lot of time with my family this week and enjoyed being at school for conferences and a reading celebration of Dr. Seuss’s birthday.

I will continue with the dosing that I have done for the last two rounds (I’m on round 11). I take 27,000 mg (54 pills) of Xeloda over the course of a week and then have one week off. Before starting the next round I do bloodwork, make any adjustments to the dose based on tolerability of side effects, and repeat the process. I will do this as long as the cancer responds to the drug and does not spread further. I will be on some form of chemotherapy for the rest of my life. IMG_4595

I received my monthly Xgeva injection for my bones which I’ve tolerated much better this month than the Zometa intravenous infusions I was getting since October. Those treatments were giving me difficult side effects.

Thanks to you all for reading. I appreciate all of the warm greetings I’ve had so far.


Blogging Her Life With Cancer

by KJ Dell/Antonia

When I called on readers to submit the blogs they loved for the Motherlode blogroll, one name came up more than any other: Lisa B. Adams. And I can understand why. The best personal blogs come from people on a journey through something that is as intense as anything they’ve ever experienced, and Lisa is on a journey none of us want to be on. She has breast cancer, and last fall she learned that the cancer had metastasized to her bones, becoming Stage 4 breast cancer.

It’s hard for me not to resort to clichés in talking about Lisa’s blog — to say things like “she’s taking it one day at a time” and “she’s playing the hand she was dealt.” I suspect that those clichés are an excellent way to distance myself from her experience. But it is Lisa’s gift that she does not allow that distance between herself and the reader. She has a directness that draws you in, and she tells her story in a way that is never maudlin. It’s just … her story. It could be anyone’s, but it’s hers, and she’s willing to simply tell us how it is to be her.

I wrote Lisa, and asked her to tell us how her blog began and what it means to her, and to describe a few of her favorite posts.

From Lisa:

I probably started blogging in the reverse order many people do. Rather than it mattering intensely to me and then later realizing it mattered to others, I started by doing it for others and then realized how much it was part of me.

I’ll explain a bit. When you have had cancer and are one of the first ones to have it, you become the reference point as others are diagnosed. “Oh, Lisa had breast cancer… you should talk to her. Do you know her?” This is a natural branching out of social circles based on disease.

As a person who gets asked for advice all the time (most frequently about medical information), I was asked repeatedly for advice about cancer and how to help people who had friends or relatives who were diagnosed. Once I started writing informative pieces to share with them and saw their reactions, I realized I filled a void in the cancer blogging community at that time. As a result, my interactions with readers and the writing process itself became fulfilling in a way that my prior academic work never had.

I strive in my writing not to always focus on cancer per se. A few of my posts are, in fact, technical updates on my condition. These are the posts I like writing the least. I focus on the emotions of cancer … the disease itself is not usually what’s important. Instead, what I try to focus on are the emotions that accompany these hardships: fear, anger, despair, hope, grief, love.

A few of my favorite posts: 

These Things Are Not Tied With a Pink Ribbon” is an emotional reaction to Breast Cancer Awareness Month and details why I think those campaigns don’t relate to me.

If You Knew Suzy, If You Knew Me” is a reaction piece to the Wall Street Journal reporter Katie Rosman’s book about her mother’s life, “If You Knew Suzy.” This piece is special because it really explores the very reasons why I write. If you want to know why I do what I do, you need only read this piece. I write to be known. I write to be understood. I fear others won’t be able to do that for me, I must do it for myself. In the process, I’ve found that others can learn and grow. I am glad that we all can do that together, even if the circumstances are not the ones I want.

The Hardest Conversation” (published in The Huffington Post) details a long talk I had with my oldest child (age 14) shortly after I received the news that my cancer had metastasized. I think one of the reasons people like to read my blog is that they want a window into a family where difficult topics are discussed openly and honestly. We are a society which often does not treat children as if they can handle illness, death and tragedy. I believe teaching children coping skills is one of the most important things I can do as a parent. This piece has been one of the most personal and important ones I’ve written.

Some parents feel their job is to protect their children. I believe protection should not equate with hiding information. To me, protecting means educating them how to deal with what the difficult things life hands them.

To My Dearest Children” talks about some of the joys of parenting and explains to them that being their mom is the best thing I’ve ever done. It’s the one job I haven’t quit, and the role I think I do best.

You can find Lisa’s blog here, and soon on the Motherlode blogroll, which will appear in the sidebar just as soon as I’ve welcomed a few more blogs. That main blogroll will be short, strong and as broad as I can make it. We’ll also be adding a page of resources — blogs and other sites you can look to for specific topics or to find some new reads. I’ll keep that as current as possible — so if you ever click through to a dead or abandoned blog, let me know.


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§ 7 Responses to New York Times Motherlode Blogroll"

  • Lisa says:

    Dear Lisa,
    I am lousy with words but I want to tell you how very sorry I am or you and or your family that you must deal with this cancer. Tonight is the first time I’ve read your blog. Wow- you are an amazing thinker & writer. My heart breaks for you all but I am so relieved that your recent chemo plan is working.
    My mom had stage IV breast cancer in her sternum, liver, etc for many, many years. It seems silly to state the obvious, but I truly hope you get a decade+. Have you considered massage therapy & naturopathy? My mom combined these with her chemo and we all believe it prolonged her life and increased the quality of her life.
    Best wishes to you all.

  • jeanne says:

    “When I called on readers to submit the blogs they loved for the Motherlode blogroll, one name came up more than any other: Lisa B. Adams.”.

    We submitted in gratitude.
    We submitted in love.
    We submitted in the hope of you expanding your readership.

    It was the least we could do for you, Lisa.

  • Kim C says:

    Wonderful news to be included on the NYTimes Motherload Blogrole. To widen your readership will most certainly help more and more people.
    Your picture is beautiful! Thank you for the update on the housekeeping
    & for sharing your gift of profound self expression.

  • Congratulations! I hadn’t heard this yet. What an accomplishment. So happy for you and for the many who will be able to meet you through this wider exposure.

  • Anonymous says:

    Lisa, I came to your blog through the NYTimes Motherload Blogrole as well. I have now spent hours pouring over the things you have written about your cancer, your family and the struggles you all have shared throughout. My mother died in her 40s from skin cancer and lived for three short months after her diagnosis. I was an 8 year old when she died, and 21 years have passed since then. I can only say that you are doing your children a great service in recording your thoughts, emotions and struggles in this blog. I often think about what my mother experienced while she was sick – what she felt and thought, what fortified her and made her scared. The words you have shared in this blog will stand the test of time and will surely be a resource and comfort to your children especially as they grow and wonder what kind of person they are to become. Being able to know their mother in the way they can here – to hear her words and what was in her heart – it will be a comfort and a strength to them. And it will help them find the things in themselves that this your writing so exemplifies – among other things – courage, honesty, tenacity, warmth, clarity and integrity. My heart goes out to you, and to your family.
    You have a lot to be proud of, and so do your children and husband.
    Sincerely, Natalie

  • jenna says:

    so excited for you…so deserved! yay you! xoxo

  • Susan says:

    Dearest Lisa,

    I too have three children and bone metastasis from breast cancer. I found your blog today, in loneliness, surfing the web for answers that don’t exist. Then I found you. I read and read and read, your posts and articles.
    My heart is full and tears are falling, joy and pain all mixed together. And love. Your beautiful, authentic words say what my soul needs to hear. I consider you my dear friend.
    Blessings to you and your family.

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