This week's blog deserves an especially big shout out. It's a blog by student Kristina Egan and narrates her battle with cancer after she was diagnosed aged 20.
If you do have a spare moment today, we strongly suggest you read Kristina's blog - it's touching and poignant, but still managed to make us laugh. We're very happy to say Kristina's been in remission for 10 months and is now "the proud owner of Renee Zellweger do although I actually rather like it".
Introducing... Kristina Egan
Education: English and Media BA (Hons), Birmingham City University.
What’s your blog all about?
It's called 'Bad Bone Structure for Bald'. I was facing my own mortality and yet, embarrassingly, this was one of my more pressing concerns at the time. "You're no Natalie Portman" was a common observation.
Describe your blog in three words
Cancer, commodes,and Jamaican-tea-ladies
Why did you start your blog?
People are nosy, there's a morbid curiosity that surrounds things like this, I had to give the people what they wanted. It was either that or have them stalking all over my friends' Facebook to see if I was bald or dead yet. I want to be a writer but was always too embarrassed to do anything like a blog, cancer gave me a safety net and a good dose of the 'ah f***k it!' mentality that always needed, in order to take the plunge. It kept everyone in the loop and prevented any awkward run ins with friends who didn't know. The bonus was that people really liked it and said some lovely things.
How long have you been running it?
From Feburary 2012. The last entry came in August, I needed to bring it to a conclusion for my own sanity, although the hardest part of the entire experience was the getting-back-to-normal part. I want to write about that period but that might have to be shared at a later date. Some of the darker moments will be easier to share in time.
What makes it different from the rest?
Cancer blogs are huge clichés I guess but I just hope that mine comes across as a funny, sometimes sad, story that can take the fear out of things like chemotherapy. I even went into chemo hung over and partly drunk a couple of times, I know a friend of mine did the same thing. It's something young people are afraid of and find difficult to talk about and I just wanted to show that life doesn't stop. I never partied as much or learnt as much, my whole life than I did in that period. As we're constantly reminded, 1 in 4 of us will get it but it can be a good experience. I tried to keep it as irreverent, honest and humorous as I could. Although, reading it back now, it does read much like some screeching, "I'M FINE!" at the top of their lungs. The spelling and grammar is awful and there's far too much swearing but I look at it now as a period piece, very much of its moment, and as much as those parts of it make me cringe, I'm reluctant to change it.
Who would be your dream guest blogger?
The nurse at the emergency room who didn't know what my spleen did...
What was your last blog post about?
My final chemo and how I was worried my hair was going to look as bad as Renee Zellweger's when it grew back.
What’s been your “blog highlight”?
The post, 'Shawshank 2: "Jesus, is that a commode?"' and having a complete stranger approach me in a club and tell me he coughed up the chip he was eating from laughing so much at the blog. What could be better?
An extract from Kristina's Shawshank 2: "Jesus, is that a commode?" entry:
I knew I had failed when they drew the curtain around and I heard the squeak of wheels.
"Jesus, is that a commode?"
"Yes, now hop on."
Now, "hop on" is a phrase that you say in a fun context. "Hop on my Harley Davidson", "Hop on my horse and we'll ride on into the sunset", you cannot "hop on" to a commode; you merely lower yourself both physically and metaphorically into that device. I think this is the last time I saw my dignity. The nurse was both helpful and humiliating and put on the radio and all the taps so no one could hear me urinate. Fucking hell, relieving it is making me melt from the cringe. I would just like to state for the record that I never once shat in a commode so piss off. I would have thought that was the worse part of the day but little did I know...