In December 2006, more than eight years ago, I heard the words, “You have cancer” for the first time.
I started writing about my experiences as a wife and young mother of three with breast cancer. I began by posting them on my Facebook page. Soon my friends were asking how their own friends and relatives could read my words. I was writing about the darker, richer emotions I was feeling—aimlessness, fear, despair—but also the dogged commitment to always be strong with an enthusiasm for life.
On my blog (www.lisabadams.com) and Twitter (@adamslisa), I wrote about death, life, family, sadness, joy, and sorrow. I thought it would only appeal to people with cancer, but I was wrong. Instead, the appeal has been far more universal. I receive emails from people who not only have had cancer themselves, but also those with family members who have had it. I hear from people who have experience with other illnesses, and also those who just want to know more about what it is like to confront mortality at an early age. The far-reaching emotional impact of illness affects many people, and they connect with my work.
In October of 2012 I learned that cancer had metastasized to my lymph nodes and bones and since that time has further metastasized to other sites. I now have stage IV breast cancer. Again I feel the need to communicate not only about the disease itself (true awareness) but also about its impact on my young family. My posts often give my insights into how to raise children who are resilient and can cope with inevitable hardship. The blog also will be a record of my love and devotion to my children. There is nowhere I would rather be than here with them.
I started [my] website to allow public access to my writings. I keep a blog [there] as well as some of my more popular essays and poems. This is creative writing informed by my personal and academic background; I examine the emotions of life-changing events.
My parents’ careers have indelibly shaped my insights. My father, a (retired) heart surgeon, gave me a shrewd eye for detail and an aptitude for processing medical information. My mother, a (retired) psychologist specializing in grief, loss, death, and dying, shared insight into the mind of the bereaved family member. My own academic background includes a graduate degree in sociology. Combining medical, psychological, and sociological sensibilities has resulted in a unique way of experiencing and describing cancer and other traumatic life experiences.
I am pleased so many people have connected to the emotions I try to capture in my writing. I hope you will, too.