I’ve been following a well-written blog by a young man named Josh, in his teens, who describes his experiences during the discovery of a brain tumor, the surgery to remove it, and his subsequent chemotherapy treatments (still going on). Believe me, these posts, on his blog called Josh’s Journey, are compelling and riveting to read, largely because he is a careful observer and a good writer.
Josh assumes the role of a journalist, focusing on details, experiences, and his reactions as his medical team goes about providing his care. Readers learn what it’s actually like to proceed, step-by-step first with surgery and then with subsequent medical treatments at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP).
Writing must be helpful, perhaps even therapeutic, as Josh confronts uncomfortable medical procedures, but it’s extraordinary that he sustains his writer’s voice, objectively sharing observations and perspectives about the challenging process of fighting a tumor.
As a long time education and health blogger and a teacher, I have read a fair number of blogs, by kids and adults, chronicling medical problems. Josh’s Journey is one of the most compelling because, despite expressing anxiety here and there, he remains focused on those all-important explanations. What distinguishes Josh’s narrative from many others, is how he maintains his journalist voice, creating a detailed and thoughtful record that explains what it is like to be seriously ill, and demonstrating what it’s like to embark on an often arduous journey to recovery. I have no doubt that Josh has times when he feels really sick — maybe even too sick to write — but then along comes another post. His words allay fear rather than create it.
Josh is assembling an invaluable digital record, for himself and his family and, right now for a growing group of blog followers. However, the maturity with which he documents this health care journey ensures not only that his personal story will endure, but also that it will offer precious digital guidance to other kids and their families who encounter similar medical problems
Medical caregivers encounter plenty of blogs by 21st Century digital kids who are in the midst of serious medical care, but I hope that the physicians and nurses at CHOP take the time to read at least a few of Josh’s blog posts. His stories just may come in handy when these dedicated medical professionals work with other sick kids who seek, during their treatments, to understand a lot more about what’s going on.