An Open Letter…

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Dear Misfit Runners–

I am utterly and completely disappointed in your group of people.  In January, I was a victim of cyber bullying from this group.  The reason, SF and SR decided that I was faking cancer– I don’t know why they decided that I had faked this condition, or how they came to this conclusion.  They berated me very publicly to friends I had for years.  I was ostracized, and treated horribly.  I left the group without defending myself.

I learned that there were other victims of this group– male and female.  Another runner who on journey to lose 400 pounds was told he was an attention monger.  Another runner was told that she faked her finish line pictures in the New York City Marathon (and was also accused of faking her ailments as well).  Just yesterday, they attacked a mother, and her teenaged daughter.

The perpetrators of this behavior are not teenagers, they are not even children, they are 20-30-40-year old grown ass women.  And it’s despicable.  It is so wrong to troll other adults, but extending that trolling to minor children is pathetic.  I hope the people who are doing this read this, and know that you are utterly, and completely pathetic.  I felt sorry for you when you attacked me, because I thought there was seriously wrong with your self-esteem to go after adults, but a child– there is absolutely, positively NO excuse.  You should be ashamed of yourselves.  You are disgusting human beings.

 

Jodi

P.S. Just so you know– I kicked cancers butt.  I’m now done with chemo.  The picture above was taken today.  The only evidence of cancer is my really short hair cut.

 

Cyber Bullied For Having Cancer

I was officially diagnosed with Stage 4 Ovarian Cancer on February 3rd, 2016.  As scary as the diagnosis sounds, and I am truly terrified, I am going to write about this as a warning to other social media users.  Please note, I do not think negatively about this, it is bothersome to me, but I am not dwelling on what happened, and I am a strong, healthy person, and I am going to beat this despite the “haters.”  I just namely want to save people from experiencing a similar thing.

A few months ago, I was invited to a running social media site.  I will not name the site, as it will give credence to the members, that did the bullying.  It was a site that encouraged its members to be sarcastic and irreverent.  I enjoyed it.  It was a closed group, so I felt free to post about things going on in my life that I could not post on regular social media sites.  At the time, I was dealing with the recent death of my dad; my daughter was being diagnosed with ADD (and had some serious mental health issues going on); and of course my son had autism.  I was struggling mentally and physically from all these things going on (or so I thought).

On February 1st, I had an appointment with my doctor.  This was my initial appointment, and because I was in a chemical accident in 2002, she ordered an X-ray of my chest and upper respiratory system. I ended up having fluid on my lungs.  My heart rate was irregular and my blood pressure was high.  The doctor told me that it probably was pneumonia, and my heart was enlarged because I have a condition that’s common in marathoners called athlete’s heart, OR I could have congestive heart failure and I could have had a silent heart attack.  I rushed to social media, and asked questions from the runners on the site.  Most of the runners answered honestly, but two women started to question everything.  I tried to answer the questions and calm myself down, but no avail.  My day was about to get much worse.

I was sent to the ER at the local hospital to have the fluid drained.  They did a CT scan to see the extent of the fluid in the lungs, and the radiologist saw something on the scan.  Three scans later, he spotted a mass in my gynecological region, and they ambulated me to Sacred Heart in Pensacola.  Of course, being the person I was, I updated those praying for me in the running group, because I had friends there.  The two women who had questioned me got even more aggressive, and started to really question the situation.

The next three days while I was hospitalized, it was a roller coaster.  I was told that I did not have cancer, that I did have cancer, that it could be this, or it could be that.  Finally, on February 3rd, I had a bladder stent put in, and was thoroughly examined by the gynecological oncologist on staff at the hospital.  He identified the cancer immediately.  I was scheduled on February 5th for a full hysterectomy.  I didn’t check social media account for a few days after that, and when I did check it, I found a post making fun of me.

It had gone beyond the two women who initially questioned my diagnosis, multiple people posted things stating that I was faking, that I was an attention whore, and they questioned whether, or not I was making up other things I had shared with them.  I was told by my family to leave the site, and I did.  A few of my Facebook friends that were on the site that I had left, and why.  Some of them went on the site (who knew me personally and online), assured the other admins that I was not lying, and that I was diagnosed with cancer and facing months of treatment.  The site exploded, and several people left the site, and started their own site.

I am not really too angry, or hold too many negative feelings towards the people who did this.  Online is a mob mentality sometimes– just look at some of the other irreverent sites that have hurt people in the past.  The commonality is they are irreverent.  If you can’t handle the heat, you are the one with the problem.  It is easy to be mean when you are hidden behind a computer.  In all honesty, their negativity, ribbing, or cruelty does not bother me.  I actually feel sorry for them, because there is something seriously lacking in their life that they feel they can pick on someone diagnosed with cancer.

I also hold myself somewhat accountable for what happened.  I should not have shared with strangers what was going on.  I should have just kept it to myself until I knew for sure what was happening.  I should not have kept feeding them with information to use against me.  The situation has changed the way I interact online.  If I have medical questions about my condition, I have found a support group locally, and I call people who have been there.  I also contact my doctor, I keep a negativity/symptom journal, and I have a cancer survivor social worker, who is working with my family.

Though this incredibly negative thing has happened, there has also been some good that has come out of this.  I am not a religious person, and I have a renewed faith.  I have personally witnessed miracles.  It has brought me closer to my family and friends, and made me realize how truly precious our time on Earth is.  I made up with a friend that I thought I had lost years ago, people I went to high school with have rallied around me, and I have become a better person.

I never really thought that online bullying could occur to me.  I am not a typical victim.  I have a pretty thick skin.  It can happen to anyone, for any reason.

Day Four: In The Year 2017

The fourth writing prompt in “642 Things Write About” is for me to write my statuses for 2017.  Unfortunately, I have quite a Facebook addiction, so I will only do “Highlights…”

January 2017

Happy New Year– It’s 2017, and it’s going to be a great year.  I have plenty of New Years Resolutions to pass along, but for now it’s time to celebrate!  Hope you have a magical New Year :).

Happy Birthday to my son!  I cannot believe that you are 13.  You are a teenager.  It was yesterday that you were a bouncing blonde baby boy.  I ❤ you my little Sweety Cat.  (My son used to call people Sweety Cats or Christmas Crabs).

February 2017

Happy Birthday to my husband, who will always older, and not quite as looking as yours truly.  Can you believe you are already 42 years old?

March 2017

It’s my birthday, and I can cry if I want to– 40 is the new 20 right?  What does that make 41?  The new 21, so I guess that means that I can drink more.

It’s official both novels are now published.  I have sold around 1,000 copies, I can’t wait until next month’s numbers come in.

April 2017

Betcha can’t guess where Sophie, Mom, and I are???  It’s spring break, and we just got here– 10 fun filled days in Paris.  Sophie and Mom are getting crepes at the kiosk by the merry-go-round, and I’m taking photos by the Eifel Tower.

May 2017

Well, my husband has done graduated from “Colonel School,” and we got our follow-on assignment, and guess where we are going, or rather guess where we are staying!  I love the city.

June 2017

I cannot believe that it’s been two years already.  It seems like just yesterday that we were down in Orlando together burying my father…

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It’s our 20th Anniversary.  As you can see the book sold well!  I can afford to go to Paris with my mom and Sophie, and now Hubby and I are in Hawaii celebrating our 20th in style.  He told me that we could have been stationed here, but ironically, I really like exploring the city. Well off to the beach.

July 2017

Happy birthday America!!!  We went down to Yorktown again, like we did when they kids were younger and saw the fireworks from the birthplace of our Nation.  It was so cool there in 2008, and it’s even cooler this year.

August 2017

Look what we got?  We weren’t going to get a cat at first, but I found them on my usual running trail.  There were four of them, and the mother.  The mother got hit by a car.  They were pretty well weaned.  I picked them up and took them to our vet.  We got three of them adopted.  Hubby said we could keep the fourth.  We named her Lucy.

First day of school!  The kids love their DC school.  I’m happy they are going to the same school.

September 2017

My second book has reached 5000 copies sold.  I’m impressed.  It was picked up today by a publisher, and we are going to mass market it.  There was also a producer was interested in adapting it.  Things are starting to turn around.

October 2017

This Halloween is the first year that my kids don’t really want to dress up.  I’m sort of sad, and sort of happy.  We went to a local trunk or treat.

November 2017

Happy Turkey Day.  We are heading south for Thanksgiving.  Spending it with my mom, and the mouse.  Looking forward to a change of scenery.  I like Orlando.  I wonder if we are going to end up there soon.

December 2017

Happy Birthday to my dad…  This was his favorite Christmas song.  They sang it at his memorial service in Minnesota.  I wish we could have sung it at his funeral, but I don’t think the guy could have pulled it off.

OMG my daughter is almost a teenager…  I cannot believe that she is turning 12 this year!  Next thing you know she’ll be wearing make up and going on dates.  We are going to have to get a gun now…

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MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!! It’s Christmas in DC, and it looks like it might be a white one.  There’s a storm brewing, and it looks like it’s going to hit just in time for the holidays.  I miss White Christmases.

Photos courtesy of unsplash.com

Lent Day Two: Why Facebook?

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I have been asked why someone who is working on establishing themselves as a professional author would take themselves off of social media, when the best way to advertise and gain readership is to maintain a social media page.  First of all, I am quite reclusive, and the only social interaction I will get often for days will be off of social media.  Even though I am socially awkward as a result of having Aspergers/ADD/whatever social dysfunction is the diagnosis di jour.  I still crave social interaction, so removing myself puts me in the uncomfortable position of having to seek out social interaction with out the crutch of having a phone.

However, I sight happiness as my number one reason for going off the social media grid.  I am loads happier being disconnected from what’s going on in my social media world.  Sure, I miss positive news– friends finishing races and getting PRs, announcements about babies, birthdays, and other fun stuff, but I also miss a lot of the negativity.  For example in my feed, there has been a lot of discussions on the vaccination debate.  I will not go into detail on my opinion of vaccinations, but I get very tired of the constant negativity strewn by both sides of the debate.  There have been studies linking internet use and depression.

I have been off of social media for two days, and the biggest difference I have noticed is time!  The sheer amount of time I have spent checking statuses, updating my status, taking pictures, and posting comments is unfathomable.  Since stopping all social media interaction, I have so much free time.  There have been times during particularly busy days that I sit and wonder now what do I do with myself.  I even have gone so far as to go to Facebook, and then I realize that my husband, who is at work at the time has my new password, and the only way to get it would be to call him while, and it seems silly to call for something as silly as a password, so that I can feed an addiction.

Fortunately, today was not nearly as bad as yesterday as far as my desire to go on the Internet.  I was up at 5:00 AM and ran 5 miles, then sent my kids off to school.  I went to my physical therapy appointment, where I endured torture from a sadist (if you want to do the whole “50 Shades” thing without demeaning yourself sexually, just go tell a physical therapist that you are a marathon runner and would like to get back into training shape after an injury).  Grocery shopped, had lunch, and surface cleaned my home for the babysitter.  Then taught art, picked up the kids, went to speech, violin, and then a work function for my husband.  Hardly time to miss Facebook..

Unfortunately, I didn’t accomplish all my daily Lenten tasks (namely, one thing daily I enjoy for myself and finish a home improvement project).  Better luck next time.  (The picture was taken a few days ago at Turkey Creek Park).