CancerGuide: Inspirational Patient Stories
I am looking for stories which give readers a feel for what you've been through, how you coped, and what it has meant to you. It absolutely doesn't need to be a literary masterpiece, but I am looking for more than a brief paragraph or a mere recitation of facts. Have a look at the stories already on CancerGuide to see what I mean. My basic rule is that if you have something you want to say about your experience with cancer, you can say it here! The value in this is in the variety of perspectives and paths - your way is probably completely different from mine. More power to it! I believe the first hand account has a special power, so I prefer first hand accounts to stories written by relatives or friends. There is no limit on the length of stories on CancerGuide.
One caveat - as an old computer hand, I believe information is most easily kept consistent if it exists in only one place. So I am not usually interested in including stories which are published elsewhere on the web or stories which you intend to submit to more than one place. On the other hand, if you have a link to a site with a collection of stories, or even sometimes a single particularly compelling story, I may be interested in linking in my "other stories" section, so please feel free to send me the URL.
Some Basic Information to Include
I do need some basic information - your name, and the type and stage of cancer you have or had. Be as specific as you can about this. If you describe treatment you have had, it is usually helpful to be as specific as you can. Beyond this, I only ask that you share your experience in whatever way you think will be best. I have no preset limit on length, but I would urge you to use your judgment and be reasonable. Disk space is cheap - keeping the interest of readers is what's important here.
I can include a "mailto" link to allow readers to send you comments and questions. Most story authors do include an e-mail address. If you would like me to do that, let me know - I won't do it without your permission. Several people who've posted their stories on CancerGuide have told me that they are getting mail, so this can be a great way to meet and compare notes with other people in similar situations to yours.
About Alternative Treatments
I am intensely interested in alternative treatments, and if your story involves alternative treatment as complementary to conventional treatment or as sole treatment, I am certainly interested. I will not, however, accept anecdotes on alternative treatments that appear to be sales pitches, or that are not first hand accounts. I will gladly accept first hand stories from people with nothing to gain financially.
How to Format Your Story
If you know HTML, and can submit your story in HTML format that would be excellent. Use one of the existing stories as an example of how to code your story in HTML. I use very, very simple HTML!
Many programs which can save documents in HTML write ghastly HTML code. This includes Microsoft Word, as well as many other programs. If you are not sure whether your method of creating HTML yields simple high quality code I'd prefer you submit your story in plain ASCII text. My main method of creating HTML is to write it directly with a simple text editor like Notepad, or the shareware program, TextPad.
If you don't know simple HTML, submit your story in plain ASCII text if at all possible! If you use plain ASCII, format it to look in general like this page - each paragraph separated by a blank line, and simple headings if needed. Fancy formatting won't translate and will take time to reformat. Microsoft Word documents are also acceptable though when I reformat it in HTML for CancerGuide you may lose any fancy formatting.
Style and Proofreading
Please proofread and spell check your story! Also note that CancerGuide uses just one space after the period at the end of a sentence rather than two spaces which is actually an old style meant for typewriters - if you can remember to write it that way it will save me some reformatting time.
Including Digital Pictures
If you'd like to include a digital picture of yourself, that's fine. Send it as a .jpg file - please take care to keep the picture's size and resolution reasonable so that it takes up a reasonable amount of screen real-estate and doesn't cause your story to load slowly due to file size. If you submit your story in HTML, you can encode the IMG tag for the picture where you'd like it displayed.
How to Submit Your Story
After you've written your story just E-Mail it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Also Please Send Me Contact Information
When you submit your story, I'd appreciate if you also tell me your phone number, address and the address and phone number of at least one relative or friend. This information will not appear in your story! It will allow me to attempt to contact you if your e-mail address changes and you forget to tell me (a common problem).
This CancerGuide Page By Steve Dunn. © Steve Dunn
Page Created: 2000, Last Updated: January 15, 2004