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Why Write a Blog?

I have always believed in the power of sharing stories, so here is mine...

It took me a while to decide what to call this blog. I chose 'My Melanoma Memoir' not only because of the obvious alliteration, but also because memoir is a type of writing that sums up what I want to do here on this blog. I want to share my experiences of an aspect of my life - what it's like to be diagnosed and treated for cancer but also what living with Stage 4 cancer is like.

Memoir is about experience and memory - it's about telling your own story, in your own words and that's a powerful thing. When people with lived experience tell their stories it can raise awareness, understanding and empathy amongst others. Sharing stories can challenge ideas and existing practices, it can lead to campaigns and ultimately it can lead to change. When people with lived experience tell their stories it can be empowering experience and it can also help to build common ground when people realise that their stories are more similar than different.

So, I thought that given what I believe about sharing stories, then I should tell mine in the hope that it may help others who are on a similar journey to my own. This was all pointed out to me by my parents when I was recently in hospital. I told them I was thinking about writing a blog when I felt better and they were so supportive, it gave me the confidence to start.

I hope that I can give a little hope to you when you read my blog and show that even in the times when you feel so alone you aren't, someone else is experiencing similar thoughts and feelings to you. I want to show that there is often contentment, even happiness in the small things in life. This isn't just a message for those of us with cancer, it's maybe a more general reminder to all. Despite sometimes feeling a bit 'crud' (I love that word, I may use it often in my writing) I always try and find a little bit of sparkle - sometimes it's impossible, but often there is a sequin's worth when I look for it.

I also want to raise awareness of this type of cancer. Melanoma is the fifth most common cancer in the UK and a staggering 16,700 people are diagnosed every year. We now have a higher death rate from this type of skin cancer than Austrailia with around 2300 people dying each year of this disease. Despite these statistics, there is still a lack of awareness and understanding about this form of cancer.

There is still the assumption that this type of cancer is not serious, that it can 'just be cut away.' There is so much work to be done in order to educate and raise awareness that this form of cancer has the ability to spread beyond the skin and metastasise into organs including the lungs, liver, brain and bowel. Public Health messaging needs to be stronger so that everyone understands the importance of sun safety and know how to regularly check their skin and have an awareness of what signs to look for. Thankfully, there are some amazing charities in the UK who raise awareness of all these things and offer support to those of us with melanoma and our families. I am so grateful that charities like these exist.

Finally, I think writing a blog will help me. I love writing and I hope that I will find it therapeutic, that it might help me make some sense of what I call this 'Melanoma Shizz.'

So, welcome to My Melanoma Memoir...

Love from

Charlotte x


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