I'll apologize now for the book length of this post. I'm sure I could have broken this down into about five posts, but I thought it was best to say everything together...It's the hardest post I've written yet. I'll thank you in advance for reading it…thank you.
I seriously didn't even know what a blog was until I stumbled upon a section of them on LBT as I was beginning my LB research. I think blogging is kind of like our LB journeys...we all have to figure out what we need and what works best for us and do it. I started my blog the same way I started my LB journey...I had to learn to put me at the top of the list for once. I selfishly (allowed myself to take the time) started a 'journal' (blog) for me where I could document my journey and research things I was interested in along the way. Journaling is something I've tried to do at several other points in my life (yeah, my whole family had gratitude journals one year), it always ended as fast as it started, but it intrigued me. I looked at the blogs on LBT and it seemed like a 'safe' and tiny place where only a few people even commented on blogs, so I really expected to just be writing for me. I can't tell you how surprised I was when people started to comment and how much I appreciated all the things I learned from other LBers helping me. It soon became such a wonderful and unexpected support system for me and when I got Banded, I tried hard to pay-it-forward and be there for others. There are a group of us that are/were long-term bloggers there, but mainly there are/were lots of soon-to-be or newly banded bloggers needing help and support. The comment I loved to get was that 'whenever I need help, I know I can count on you to answer'. I was so thrilled by my LB results even at that point and all the support that I'd gotten...I felt like I had been saved and helped in so many ways that would impact my life forever.
I've tried to be honest about my happy, but not so perfect life and my not so perfect LB journey. I write whatever I'm feeling that day and I try to write with the same voice I'd be speaking to myself with (yes, some days I talk like a crazy person, and I have lots of days where I just want to laugh, but that's me too). I think the biggest compliment people can pay me in my blogging is for them to say that I've said something they've been feeling, they've learned something that will help them, and that they feel like they know me...because you know what? They do.
As I came to my Blogiversary last Fall I wasn't sure what I wanted to do. I wanted to continue paying it forward, but several other Blogger's on LBT had been encouraging me for awhile to move to Blogger (and so did others on other WL sites I visit now and then) and they told me that I'd be able to reach more people looking into the LB (Kathi was my main Blogger promoter, thanks GF). I was a little nervous about it as I knew that others were following me on LBT (even though there weren't 'followers' I could see by page hits that I had over 70,000 page hits in a year). Let me stop and say here, that I'm just stating facts…anything that might sound like a 'brag' is SO not me (most know that I'm a super humble person), but you never know how things come across when you write. Anyway, as the Holiday's drew near I looked into it more and decided that it was a good idea and I'd move the blog after the New Year.
I made another big decision with my blog move. I decided I'd move my blog without any of the funny pics I loved to use that made me laugh. I decided I'd focus more on my LB journey and less on my day to day life and the silliness that is me (no, not taking that completely out, but there was a point to all this seriousness I'm getting to, so hang with me here).
I know this is the scariest blog I've ever written (oooo spooky). I'm not a woman who generally gets scared about what I do (OK, you know I am scared of the dark still, but I have no control over the Boogie Man...yet). I've given presentations in front of hundreds of people and never batted an eyelash. I think I've shared that in the past, I've sometimes had trouble pushing the 'publish' button when I've gotten a little deep here, but I've learned over time to trust that the people who love me may not always have the same viewpoint, but they'll respect my honesty and that I've shared mine...and more times than not, more people than I'd ever imagine feel the same way and were grateful that someone articulated it. Let me say that again...I've learned to trust my readers...that's important...I don't feel scared anymore publishing any post...except now I'm nervous again...just a little.
I'm wondering if those that have been following me for a long time have seen at least a little change in me since my move over to 'Blogger'. Maybe it's just me, you know how we tend to magnify things when we know we're hiding something (yes, I have been). You see I know that there has been a change, because I know there's been one.
You see, I decided with the move that either my blog would peter out or I'd be trying to do something more to pay-it-forward. Let me go back and tell you that from the very first weeks of my blog I had people sending me private messages telling me how much they enjoyed it, or felt the same way and soon I was getting lots of messages telling me that I needed to write a book (again, I'm just stating the facts). I was flattered, but laughed it off saying I'm no writer, but thanks for the support. Here's the thing, even a year later I was regularly getting Private Messages, emails or Comments with people telling me they'd read my whole blog start to finish and that I needed to write a book (many during their recovery and let me just say...reading my year of blogs is a big feat...I'm sure it's longer than any book...you know I can't describe unpacking the gauze in my belly button without five paragraphs LOL...it totally amazed me how many people did this).
I started to think that maybe there was a need for more information out there from a Bander's perspective. I've looked at the LB books and all of them are written by Drs.; there's one that's written by a LBer and her Drs. but a lot of it is also from a medical perspective. I think you'd all agree with me that this LB journey has been so much huger than any of us originally thought it would be...I've gotten so much more from others going through their journeys than any LB Dr. will ever know (unless they have one). I think there's so much more that can be shared that would help newbies just starting out than what our Docs tell us. The fact that I had so many people reading my whole blog tells me that there's a need for this information out there.
When I moved the blog the end of January I made a deal with myself...I'd get rid of my funny pics (I thought that was the only reason people followed me) and if people were still interested and if I was still getting comments and emails about writing a book, then I'd try it...yes, you heard that right. To make sure I didn't chicken-out, the week I moved the blog, I told my DH what I was planning...he was very surprised, but he'd support anything I do. More shocking to me than rapidly reaching those 100 first followers (and the horror of the before pics) was that the very first week on Blogger I got comments again about writing the book...the very same day I got an email from one of my LBT friends, Diane about writing a book...it was like I was getting signs...I told her the above and that I was going to try it...something about saying it committed me to the process. I told a few other friends who had contacted me (one was Lena, my LBT supporter and a published author, thanks GF) who supported the book idea as well. I spent my extra time January researching book writing, and making several outlines and then writing a few portions.
Here's the thing...by February I had so many Followers that I was finding it impossible to read/comment on others blogs and write the book. I decided that I was new to Blogger and that I needed to show the same support to others that I'd done on LBT so people could get to know me and so that I could give the support that was the reason I moved here. By March I could hardly keep up with all the blogs (on LBT there a lots of bloggers, but most of them are more like 'posts', short questions), here there are so many wonderful articulate bloggers and I wanted to read and support them all.
I've gotten three months into this blog move and now I've want to keep the promise that I made. I hope by now that you know me and that you know I don't want to stop supporting you, but I need to devote more time to this. I hope you won't desert me if I can't be giving you the support you need all the time. I'm not going to disappear, and I plan to keep blogging…I'm hoping to ask for your help with portions of the book (like TOM and post-band TOM changes…hysterectomy here). I want your opinions because I so value them. I don't want to represent just my opinions, but all the ways that others approach their band journey as well...as you know there are lots of choices we have to make along the way and no one way is the right way...just knowing all the choices would have helped me a lot.
So here's where I am now...I hope that I still have your support and for those of you that don't know me well yet, I hope you'll believe me when I tell you what my friend Diane told me last night when I was freaking out over what my new Blogger friends might think...that I'm doing this for all the right reasons. I really feel so blessed to have my LB and especially to have all the support and knowledge I've gained along the way. I really want to try and pay-it-forward to as many LBers as I can and that's the reason I'm trying this. After a little research I can tell you it's going to be a very long process (maybe a year), that 99% of book ideas submitted never get published (but I'll give it my best shot), if you want to make money being an author is not the way to do it. You know it would be a very limited audience of we LBers, and again, I'd just be thrilled to ever get this published.
I'll need your help and support more than ever along this new path I'm taking. I know by the time this is finished most of you will be at maintenance and won't need this information, but I hope you feel like I do that this LB journey has been such a learning experience that for the newbies just starting a book that they'll be able to relate and turn to might just make their journey a little easier. Thanks as always for listening. Here goes that 'publish' button...