I started blogging for many reasons. Initially it was a way of finding out how the technical side of blogging worked. I experimented with Yahoo 360 but quickly migrated to Blogger. In the early days I was alarmed at the thought of being identified or 'found out'. So I invented a Pen Name for myself. I had the idea of writing outrageously about the the good people who live in East Devon, my husband, the health services, social services and many other things that I found increasingly irritating in daily life. In short I wanted to Blog as a Grumpy Old Woman.
But once my anonymous blog was set up, the bland postings started and I quickly found that I couldn't quite stick the knife in where I wanted or as I imagined. What I did find, however, was that while I was at a particularly low ebb [with the Winter Blues and general frustration caused by our sudden enforced retirement] I had inadvertently discovered that I could post about some of my feelings. I could let off some steam. Blow my top. Whinge. Luckily, my husband was quite content for me to sound off about how his illness has affected me. After all with a pen name and vague address there is no way of identifying us. Close friends and family recognise my blog when, and if, they find it. But there's no problem with that as we have been quite open with everyone who matters to us.
Some people write because they are born writers. They take the opportunity to write fiction and receive feedback from readers. Others just want to have fun and socialise. Others want to voice political opinions. Some for a way to spread around their sense of humour. And some of us as a means of distraction. To divert our minds from our worries .
Now from my blogroll I usually call in on everyone on a regular basis. Some people once a fortnight, some once a week and others on a daily basis. The bloggers who make me laugh are the ones I call in on daily. My favourites are linked to my home page by the RSS feed so i can quickly see if they've posted very recently - well that's how it's supposed to work but it seems a little unreliable. I've sometimes found a new post is up there when I call in on their blog yet my homepage says 'last posted 3 days ago'.
Besides the writers who make me laugh are one or two who start to feel like 'friends' - rather like old fashioned pen pals. Now one of these cyber friends is Teeni of the Vauguetarian Tearooms. Her place is a general have a cup of coffee and hang out for a while to see what'll happen next kind of place. It's all lighthearted and fun. Imagine my surprise when I found a rather sombre posting from her a few days ago. I admit I read it very quickly and then quietly left. I was low spirited at the time and didn't feel able to comment. But once I was in a better mood I called back to see her. I wanted to explain that I was somewhat aware of how her feelings must be when she was diagnosed and had to undergo treatment for cancer.
I too had cancer diagnosed at a young age. I was lucky in that it was found early and surgery was the only treatment I needed. I was thirty when on a visit to the optician to be assessed for contact lens he quickly identified that I had a malignant tumour in my left eye. He didn't tell me this - he just referred me to see my doctor who had very quickly made an appointment for me to see the local ophthalmic surgeon. My feet barely touched the ground. From seeing the optician I had seen the local specialist, been referred to Moorfields' Eye Hospital for a second opinion and was back in Gloucester Royal Hospital to have my left eye removed - all within less than 3 weeks.
I was 30 years of age and it was a bit of a shock to find that I had malignant melanoma. Luckily the surrounding tissue of the eye was healthy. It had been found and removed in a timely manner. The adjustment to monocular vision took a while. But adjust I did. Although I still find it difficult to walk over rough ground; with no depth of vision it does pose a challenge.
Now having been lucky enough to survive that episode I am rather paranoid about how much time I spend in the sun. I slap on sun protection so thick I look like a greased up channel swimmer. I'm never out in the sun between 11 - 3. But as I don't want rickets or osteoporosis either I do allow 30 minutes a day of sun to get to my skin as often as I can during spring and autumn.
It's for this reason that I believe I need a light box. Ever since I lost my eye 28 years ago today I've experienced a feeling of gloom which descends from October onwards. Initially I used to blame the 'anniversary' for reminding me of my mortality and lack of binocular vision. It was my least short sighted eye - almost normal vision' -too which was the real **** law of life. When I had to rely on my right eye only I was so shortsighted I had to become a permanent specs wearer. I was also told it would help to disguise my artifical eye. So I never did get fitted for that contact lens.
Now if we do indeed rely on needing bright light to keep us cheerful then with my desire to keep a low profile during hot, sunny summers and with only one eye to take in the light it could be why I experience the winter blues. I also read that Gordon Brown may be a depressive s**t too. Maybe that's because he also is blind in one eye. Perhaps I should write and suggest he buys himself a lightbox to go along with his red boxes.
Now some of you'll know why one of my most often used emoticon is a ;-) - it doesn't always represent a wink!
Finally, I would like to suggest that if you haven't had your eyesight checked out for more than a couple of years then do so. You never know what signal of ill health may be lurking there. A quick visit to the optician may save your life.
Sorry - technical hitch - I was trying to write an updated note. However, Blogger suddenly changed the date of the post from original - I wrote this on 29/10 - there is no way it will let me put it back in its rightful place. I'm hoping its back there now - ?