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Thursday, May 11th, 2006

An Inadequate Counselor

I got my first email from someone who read about my cancer experience online and is going through the same thing. It started off with “i am really scared.”

I wrote back, and I hope I was able to give some comfort, and that I’ll hear from her again, but it’s such an awesome responsibility to be the one that someone in fear turns to, and I’m feeling very inadequate as a counselor. My blog is not really about my cancer experience, but it was, and still is, a big factor in my life, so it’s hard not to write about it on occasion. I do get some hits from people searching for the terms melanoma blog or pet scan, and I’ve been linked to from Tiffany’s Melanoma Foundation Blog (thankfully, they knew what they were doing, and linked to my melanoma category instead of the whole thing.)

But I’m such a dry, technical writer; not one who describes his emotions very well. What do you expect? I’m a geek. Whenever I am feeling very emotional and I sit down and write about it, it usually reads back like someone who’s had a couple or six drinks, and I get uncomfortable about posting it.

The thing that concerned me was that if this person turned to me, she must really be desperate, and although I’m glad to help, I feel like she needed more than I can give. So I did a little looking around myself for online support for the recently diagnosed, particularly those going through the torturous staging process, when you know you have cancer, but you don’t know how bad it is. I learned very quickly that you have to be very careful about your search terms – my first few tries landed me in blogs that were the preserved stories of people who had succumbed to their disease. Not what I was looking for at all. I’ll have to look further and put up some links, I think.

Does anyone know where I can get some advice or training on how to handle this better?

Posted by Greg as Melanoma, My Website, Posts About Me at 05:40 PST