Receiving a diagnosis of a life-threatening illness can turn your life upside down. But for some incredibly strong Scots, it doesn’t end their desire to live. Through sharing their experiences in blogs they offer support for others and an insight into a life that some of us could never imagine.
Heather Duff was only 27-years-old when she was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of cervical cancer. Of the 19 other women who had suffered the same condition, none of them had survived more than two years after diagnosis.
After undergoing chemotherapy, radiotherapy and brachytherapy, she has been in remission for over a year and six months. All of this, plus more, has been shared in her ballsy, inspiring and funny blog, aptly called ‘FUcancer’.
Posts including Heather’s journey to completing the London Marathon and a touching entry from her best friend - “7 things you learn when your best friend gets cancer”, all make for life affirming and genuinely interesting read.
Andrew Slorance, from the Borders town of Hawick, details his fight against Mantle Cell Lymphoma and stem cell transplant treatment in a funny and insightful blog.
The father-of-five shares his experiences of fundraising, family holidays and losing his “luscious and perfectly curled eyelashes” with followers with ‘glass is half full’ attitude that proves that even a dreaded illness can’t take away your sense of humour.
As a director of research for the pro-UK Better Together campaign, and a former policy and communications adviser to the Labour Party, Gordon Aikman is naturally very straight talking. His blog detailing his fight against motor neurone disease is eye-wateringly honest, emotional and empowering.
Despite facing the debilitating disease, Gordon remains determined to stay in control of his life and experience as much as he can. In his journey, he has campaigned to double funding for the disease, which has been backed by former prime minister Gordon Brown, but has also gotten married.
His posts are extremely informative of a disease that most people know so little about but also touching, as he shares what he has found to be most important in life, you can’t help but think we ought to do the same.
The first symptom of MND former English teacher Liz Ogg experienced was loss of speech and, as a self-confessed chatterbox, this was life shattering.
To help deal with their new normality, Liz and her husband Alan created a blog to highlight their struggles.
The couple, who have been together for 50 years, blog about the change in dynamic their close relationship has experienced and their new methods of communication including hand gestures and mobile phone voice apps.
Posts on how the couple manage to find happiness and laughter day to day through their philosophy of ‘no problems, only solutions’ make for an encouraging and life affirming read.
Louise Page was 42-years-old when she died from a rare form of bone cancer. She received the news that her cancer was terminal in December 2012, two weeks after her two-year wedding anniversary and died just five months later.
During her on-going battle with the rare disease, Louise and her husband Alan managed a blog where they recorded her emotions about the limited time she had left.
The blog offers a unique eyesight into her thoughts and mind, and gives a candid look at what life is really like for those going through the unimaginable. Despite undergoing four amputations to her leg, Louise continued to be an avid shoe shopper - one of the many ways she kept a firm grasp on who she was.
Following her death, touching updates are regularly posted by her husband who keeps her memory alive while sharing his own experience of loss. Despite no longer being around to tell her story, her words continue to offer comfort even after her death.