Writing online paved way for release of Lewin’s Cove woman’s book
© — Submitted photo
The online magazine Healthline has named Florence Strang’s blog The Perks of Having Cancer! one of the 24 best breast cancer blogs of 2013.
By Andrew Robinson
When Florence Strang learned she had Stage 3 breast cancer in April 2011, she went through a great deal of emotional turmoil.
“Depression, anger, denial and all these things, and then I finally came to a place of acceptance,” said Strang, who lives in Lewin’s Cove on the Burin Peninsula.
Now cancer-free, Strang is receiving accolades for a blog she started to help herself cope with that initial turmoil — a blog that has also helped her become a published author.
Online magazine Healthline has named The Perks of Having Cancer! — the blog Strang started in October 2011 — one of the 24 best breast cancer blogs of 2013.
“I was after having a very difficult chemo treatment, I was feeling very sick and feeling very sorry for myself,” said Strang, reflecting on the moment she started writing for her blog.
“I was very aware of the mind-body connection and how positive emotions can boost the immune system and enhance healing, and that negative emotions can impair an immune system from functioning, so I just thought, if I’m going to beat this thing, I have to try to be positive.”
A registered psychologist, Strang started writing the blog from the perspective of trying to find the good things happening in her life — for example, she did not have to do the dishes anymore, as her sisters now always offered to do them.
“When I thought how one little perk made me smile, then I said, ‘If one perk can make me smile, I’m going to find 100 perks of having cancer.’”
The blog started off as a little project to keep her spirits up, but it eventually transformed into a website read by thousands looking for similar nuggets of positivity.
“It was so fulfilling for me,” she said of her blog’s reception. “As a psychologist, I’ve spent my lifetime working to help people, and when I had cancer, I had to come off work for 17 months. I didn’t have that reason anymore — that thing to motivate me. So when I noticed people writing on my blog and commenting on how much I was helping them, it just made me feel like I could still do something good.”
Even though she’s cancer-free, Strang continues to blog on a weekly basis.
A publishing company from California, Basic Health Publications, discovered the blog and offered Strang the opportunity to write a book.
“100 Perks of Having Cancer: Plus 100 Health Tips for Surviving It!” is co-authored by fellow breast cancer blogger Susan Gonzalez (a registered nurse) and is set to be launched at the National Women’s Survivor Convention in Nashville, Tenn., Aug. 23. A local book launch event is scheduled for Sept. 14 at Chapters in St. John’s.
Strang learned of her inclusion on Healthline’s best breast cancer blog list by chance when she clicked the link to read about the blogs listed.
“There are literally thousands of breast cancer blogs on the Internet, so to be chosen as one of the best is a great honour,” Strang said.