There are various kinds of leukaemia and cancer blogs and websites. Obviously we all have our personal preferences to what we read and my cup of tea won't be the same as other leukaemia/cancer sufferers/carers (or anyone else for that matter).
First, on blogs in general – in normal circumstances I haven't got the time to go through all your archives to read the story from the beginning. And you haven't got the time to go through mine – so you're a new visitor and you will say “that's interesting“ to the current post and “can't be bothered” to everything else. We are selective in our reading.
Additionally, too long a list of links is a waste of time (to my thinking, I know John, Alex, Kathryn linked on right will disagree!) – I haven't got the time to visit every site you've listed. I'm much more likely to visit a link in a short list because I know you really go back to these sites again and again so they must be interesting. Equally there are lots of sites about cancer but since alot of the information out there is the same, there's not much point in linking to it. I'm keeping my link list short.
I'm also beginning to feel that perhaps the chronological format is somewhat limiting. For example, the posts I've written on drugs are educational to both myself and I hope other carers/sufferers – gradually they are going to get hidden away in archives. Yes, I know there is a labels list, but you'll have to scroll down and click to get to the post. A Drugs section would perhaps be more useful – for that reason I'm toying with the idea of a “proper” site (such as Patty Feist's Pediatric Oncology Resource Center or Auspicious Dragon) of which the blog is just a part.
Cancer sites and blogs come in a variety of overlapping flavours. But some common categories do emerge.
Charity sites: these come in various flavours. Some support scientific research, some are to support cancer sufferers and carers. The best are very informative (see the link to Leukaemia Research on ALL at right), alot provide only summary information on treatment, drugs etc. This is probably enough for many readers.
Scientific research: most of this is hidden away on overall medical research sites such as Biomed Central. There are some research groups which have sites, but these are generally networking sites for practitioners and researchers with news of meetings, projects etc rather than the actual results of research. What I'll term layman's science i.e. beyond summary information but not as turgid and specialist as scientific papers, is very hard to come by – information on the Pediatric Oncology Resource Center (link on right) is a notable exception.
Sufferers and carers: in general the best are by adult sufferers and the worst are by adult carers of young children.
The very best of the former do not limit themselves to their illness. They have diverse interests and write about these as well as their illness. They are often witty.They are often activists in some way or another (though they may not define themselves as such).They are not self-pitying and do not want your sympathy. They would probably be blogging even if they weren't ill.
Blogs by adult carers of young (alive and deceased) children are, I'm sorry to say, generally abysmal and certainly of little interest to the wider world. Such sites abound on the cancer webring to which this site belongs (link at bottom of page). Sure they are cathartic, sure they provide news to family and friends. But all too often, they are exercises in gushing sentimental self-pity. They are often characterised by horrible sickly sweet wallpaper, horrible gifs of bunny rabbits, angels etc and lots of links to sites of the same type. They may provide some other parents with comfort but I'm afraid they leave me cold. Worse – they make me want to vomit. I know how small children and their carers suffer, I don't need to hear about yours. Give me information and facts to help us get through this. Entertain me.
Teenage cancer sufferer blogs are a sub-category. Generally they are quite good as teenagers have the diverse interests of adults. Ok I might not know the pop-groups they are referring to but they talk about other things as well. And, of course, I'm not really their targetted audience.
There's my two ha'pence worth – like it or lump it.
“I reserve the right to go off topic and talk about anything I damn well like” .