‘You know what you should do,’ the consultant haematologist smiled, ‘you should write a Blog.’ He looked very proud.
Of course I nodded gamely. No point arguing. The sun was shining, the registrars and nurses poised with their clipboards on the daily round, everyone beaming in my direction. The cheeriest chemo patient on the ward. (Or so I’ve been told. Unless they tell everyone that).
‘You could talk about your experiences with the treatment – you’d have so much to say.’ The registrars and nurses seemed to nod as one.
‘Great – I’ll do it,’ I probably said. I can’t remember. This was a couple of weeks ago. All I know is that I hadn’t the least intention of following his advice.
I couldn’t think of a worse idea.
I knew exactly what he was after – the confessional tone, the grimly ‘gritty’ subheadings. Losing my hair, losing my strength, my fertility – all the delicious side-effects which accompany a cocktail of drugs pumped through your veins.
Basically, the kind of self-aggrandising narrative that friends and relatives would dutifully read and comment and re-tweet, out of a dogged sympathy for my Resolute Bravery in the Face of Adversity.
Writing about leukaemia just seems like a cheap shot. Inevitably self-pitying, introspective – and somehow insufficient. Is a serious disease enough to turn you into a scintillating object of interest? Are you blog-worthy just because your bone marrow is misbehaving and your chromosomes are really messed up?
On top of that, my reservation with blogs has always been that it’s too late now and the only ones people actually read were all sparked off around a mythical golden age of the blogosphere explosion circa 2007.
On the other hand though, blog success is probably worse than failure. I’ve already received one or two saccharine messages praising my Inner Strength – and suddenly an email addressed ‘Dear Beautiful Hannah’ from a usually austere family friend got me a little bit scared. What next, a card from the Duchess of Cambridge telling me I’m an inspiration? (A teddy from Pippa?*)
But I’m getting ahead of myself. This is all specious, because here I am with my first blog entry. After splotting out all these doubts and misgivings, why am I still writing?
*This bit is disingenuous. Nothing would make me happier.