"Steve has a way of taking ordinary experiences and turning them over to reveal a side we had never seen before. Time and time again he has united the IHadCancer community with his work as he writes about the subtle ways cancer affects us years after we're given our NED card.
Best for: finding the strength to push through the physical and emotional challenges of a post-cancer new normal."
Nailed it! That's exactly what my website and all of my writing is about.
This is a huge honor to be chosen as a top cancer blog out of hundreds of submissions. Honestly, I had nearly forgotten about this and just assumed I hadn't won. I'm speechless. A whole lot of time and effort, or more accurately, bottles of wine, boxes of tissue, and lately, scotch and bourbon, goes into my website and all of my writing. ;-)
I started writing a few years ago in 2013 after a friend of mine had died of testicular cancer, I'd had a terrible recurrence scare and thought for sure that my cancer had returned (and that I was going to die), at which point the emotional floodgates just opened on me. I was nearly two years out from my cancer diagnosis and still all clear, but completely lost. I was suffering from full blown "afraid to leave the corner" PTSD, and didn't know what I was supposed to do with myself. I called my oncologist's office to get connected with a therapist, but the best the two people they referred to could do for a first appointment was 6-8 weeks. My mind was on fire. I needed help now, not six weeks from now. I just started writing, and keeping a journal of my daily thoughts trying to sort everything out, among other things. Writing stuck as a coping mechanism, proved to be an invaluable tool in my mental and spiritual healing and recovery from cancer, and that's how all of this started.
My writing was private and just for me at first, but a number of friends encouraged me to go fully public with my writing and to put myself out there, knowing it could really help others. The closest thing I had to a website at the time was my old CaringBridge blog (which is still up and public), and posting Notes on Facebook, where I published one of my first essays on young adult cancer survivorship, didn't seem like the proper place for it either. I'm eternally grateful to Kim Jones at the Testicular Cancer Awareness Foundation, who graciously granted me the helm of the TCAF blog in 2014, and completely free reign to write whatever I wanted. This was the more formal start to my cancer writing, and I finally launched my own website on October 27th, 2015. Today, my blogs appear at TCAF, the IHadCancer.com website, and select blogs also appear at CURE magazine, and the Cancer Knowledge Network. My website is a one-stop shop for everything that I've ever written, including some exclusive content that has never been published outside of my website, such as my essays about PTSD After Cancer, with some additional sections for Daily Inspiration, life updates, and a bit of photography.
It's impossible fully track traffic when cross-publishing, but annual readership of my blogs across platforms is somewhere in the neighborhood of 10-100k unique readers, and 100-500k+ total page hits annually. From bottles of wine and entire boxes of tissue paper all over the floor night after night at 2am because I was such a wreck a few years ago, to an award-winning website. Well worth the effort, and not a bad way to start 2017. :-) Didn't I just say that 2017 was going to be a great year? Our attitudes and beliefs are self-fulfilling prophecies. As much as I've already written, there's still so much more to write and do, and I'm looking forward to it.
THANK YOU, to all who read and comment on my blogs, and follow me on social media. This is all for you. One of the biggest things I've learned from blogging at IHadCancer in particular, from reading through hundreds or even thousands of comments in response to my blogs, is that our humanity binds us. Despite such different backgrounds, different ages, gender, and cancer types, fighting and recovering from cancer is very much a shared journey. We think and feel so many of the same things, have so many of the same struggles inside, and we're never alone in this. It's a great honor to be a recognized voice not just for young adult cancer survivors on which I focus, but for all cancer fighters and survivors, and to have been named a Top Cancer Blog of 2016 by IHadCancer.com. Thank you!!!
God Bless and Happy 2017!