I thought some of you might be interested in the initial plan for YAPCaB and how things have turned out so far. When I started I had a clear vision of what I wanted to accomplish and who would read it. Actually, I had a vision for two blogs, this one and a “Picture of the Day” blog with photos drawn from my years of shooting. The picture blog has been pretty successful and turned out more or less as I thought. YAPCaB is another story.
I started by doing a brief survey of the kinds of cancer blogs that were out there. Almost all of the existing blogs fit into one of three categories; relatively infrequently updated blogs that talked about the results of recent tests and procedures, clearinghouses with references to cancer related articles and information, or frequently updated blogs talking about the day-to-day issues of someone with their cancer. There were no blogs that addressed having prostate cancer on a day-to-day basis. So I decided to try to fill that void in part with YAPCaB.
(I was also surprised how few prostate cancer blogs there were, but it actually made sense after a little thought. Depending on which set of surgeries, treatments, and drugs are used, men can wind up with incontinence, severe urgency issues, impotence, loss of libido, painful breasts, enlarged breasts, and menopausal symptoms including hot flashes, irritability, and depression. None of these fit into any man’s image of a manly man. It’s easy for me to understand why many men would decide silence is the best policy. Looking back on it, I should have chosen a title such as One of the Few Prostate Cancer Blogs.)
Something else I wanted to add were a few pages on how to interpret and use cancer statistics. I have a background in applied statistics and have helped friends with cancer understand the various statistical data they were confronted with. I suspected these pages would get a lot of hits.
I also knew I wanted to use the blog as a way to keep family and friends informed of my status. It seemed obvious to kick off the blog with invitations to them and add folks as time passed. I expected most of my relatives and a few of my friends to follow the blog. Over time I assumed folks with prostate cancer and/or their family would become the majority of the follows with perhaps a few other non-prostate cancer followers.
Turns out I was wrong about almost everything. The statistics pages do get hits, but rarely. By far the majority of the search hits are for lupron, casodex and adderall. Virtually none of my relatives signed up. Nearly all my friends signed up, making them the largest single group of followers. The second largest group of followers are WordPress bloggers who neither have cancer nor have a family member with cancer. The remaining dozen or so followers are divided pretty evenly among men with prostate cancer, women with breast cancer, doctors, and relatives. I spent a fair amount of time trying to find people on WordPress and other sites with prostate cancer. As common as this disease is, it’s amazing how few men are writing blogs or searching for them.
I’m not really sure what to make of this. On balance I still think there’s value in creating this record. One thing I feel I should do is lighten up the blog a bit and expand the posts to non-cancer related things that are positive. I’ve started to do that already with the last couple posts. If you have any other suggestions, please let me know.