Melissa Waller explains how blogging and sharing her story has made an impact on her lung cancer journey.
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Michelle: So Melissa, let’s talk about blogging. That’s something that you started doing because of your diagnosis. Melissa: With blogging, I had originally needed an avenue to get all my frustrations out and blogging is a great way to just have a kind of online journal. The neat thing about having a blog is that anybody can access it at any time. And what I found is that, in the beginning, when I was first diagnosed, I was bombarded with phone calls, emails and people, you know, wanting to wish me well and wanting to somehow get involved and it just got to a point where it was too much. Michelle: How do you stop that? That was one of the questions is, how do you stop that when people want to participate, they want to wish you well and go through those, you know, what’s the best way? What’s the best form of communication? It sounds like you found the best one. Melissa: Exactly. With the blog it’s a great way to communicate, say hey, here are the, here’s a list of items I need this week, or hey, here, I am going to chemo next week. Here are the list of open times that I need people to come visit me, or, you know, maybe just writing about how I am feeling that day. There was a time recently, actually where I was really feeling kind of lonely and just isolated and I wrote about it and literally, within a couple of hours, I started getting phone calls from friends and emails saying, when can I visit? When can I visit? When can I bring you dinner? And I mean, that’s how fast something like that works, so. Michelle: Did you have any idea that all those people were reading your blog? Melissa: No! Michelle: Surprise! Melissa: Exactly. So I had no idea all these people were reading the blog. I originally had sent it out just so friends and family, people that knew me, and as we progressed, I started noticing messages from people that I had no idea who they were. They don’t live in Arizona. They lived in other states, but had somehow come across my blog and found it inspiring. So, I started putting tags in, on the blogs so if somebody was searching for information about the Cancer Treatment Centers or if somebody is searching for information about lung cancer or vertebroplasty, then it would drive them to my blog so that they could read about that and… Michelle: And that’s how you ended up on EmpowHer’s website. Melissa: Yes. Michelle: Was because of your site and the blog and then getting that information out, you know, that’s amazing, and we’ve had so much activity from your posts on EmpowHer. The women find it extraordinary that you are sharing your story and that you are advocating, not just for yourself but for them as well. So it’s, you know, it’s really a wonderful thing that you’ve done. Melissa: Yeah, well, with the blog, it became so, in my mind, successful, in just getting across a lot of information. We decided to grow it even bigger and with the way that the blog is setup right now, its really just setup as a tool to go online and write. I wanted to launch a website and have information on there where people could go and talk to each other. They could go and learn about lung cancer, they could learn about me. They can follow the blog. And so we started working on a website, gosh, maybe a month or two ago, and we are very close to being done. So I think it’s going to launch, maybe next week. Michelle: Good for you. Melissa: The blog, I am sorry the website, has a grant called the Spirited Warrior, because before all this everybody kept calling it the Melissa Waller fan club. And I’m just like, that’s kind of cheesy. I don’t want a fan club, so, the Spirited Warrior—that’s the brand that is behind the website. Michelle: And it’s clearly because you’re a Spirited Warrior, as I was told.
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