Last fall when we found out about Jonathan’s cancer, I wasn’t sure how or if I should tell the Facebook world. Everything else major happens on Facebook–graduations, engagements, babies–yet cancer seemed like such downer news to report. Can you picture it? You’re flipping through your newsfeed and between, “Loving this weekend weather!” and “We’re pregnant!” you read: “Jonathan has cancer!”
Yeah, it just didn’t feel right.
I wanted to be real and honest, but I didn’t know if I was ready to read all the potentially awkward responses from people. For some reason, blogging and our CaringBridge site felt safer. Eventually we posted a photo of Jonathan holding Anna after his biopsy surgery. The caption read, “Jonathan had surgery today to biopsy a suspicious lymph node in his neck. He did great and is home already for cuddling and chicken soup. We will know more next week.”
After that day I tried to intentionally post photos of the cancer journey on Facebook–his head shaving, his first chemo, etc. I wanted people to see both the good and the hard stuff.
As it got closer to the end of Jonathan’s treatments, I also thought Facebook might be a way to rally a celebration of sorts on his last chemo day. I knew he wouldn’t be feeling up for an actual celebration but it felt like we needed to mark the occasion with banners and cheer. So, I sent an email to a group of friends and family who I knew I could count on to respond. The e-mail asked each person to make a banner celebrating Jonathan, and to tag the photo with his name. My hope was for a domino affect to occur in which others might also make signs and celebrate with us. I also hoped that the “beat cancer” signs might encourage others who are battling, or know of someone battling cancer.
The plan totally worked–beyond my wildest expectations! Above you’ll see just some of the almost 100 photos posted on Friday. Jonathan was so surprised, and had a lot of fun checking his phone all day to read comments. As the day went on, people got more and more competitive/creative. They made us laugh, and they made us cry. We had quite a few calls and e-mails that essentially said the same thing: “Watching the support unfold today has been incredible.” And it really was.
My friend Michelle left a on my last post. It read, “Chris and I were raving to each other about what a powerful testimony all those signs were – and are. This is what Facebook can do for good in the world- it can make us all feel part of one big powerful team.’”
I am so glad that others were able to physically see, with their own eyes, just some of the community that has surrounded us since last October.