I’m excited to participate in the 2021 Summer Blogging Challenge hosted by Nancy’s Point. It’s such an excellent opportunity to support our fellow bloggers. And it’s a great motivator to keep on blogging. I’m still relatively new to blogging, and it’s an honour to be part of a broader community and learn from others. I encourage you to also participate in the challenge, even if you’re not a regular blogger!
Please visit Nancy’s Point 2021 Blog Challenge for more details. Thank you so much, Nancy, for inviting me to participate and hosting such a fun event!
Here are my answers to the six questions Nancy asked about my blog;
Blog Challenge Questions
1. Who are you? Tell us your genre, how long you’ve been at it, who or what inspires you or whatever you want us to know.
1a. Who are you?
My name is Gogs Gagnon, a retired computer programmer. I developed a passion for technology from an early age and worked in both the private and public sectors for over 40 years. I’m proud to say that I have developed games for Apple Computer, utility software for IBM, and real estate applications for the government of British Columbia. I live in the Comox Valley with the love of my life, Mary. We have three wonderful children that we are incredibly proud of and blessed to have in our lives.
Recently, our youngest daughter married the love of her life in the village of Alert Bay on Cormorant Island. It was a very loving and heartwarming ceremony. And I’ll cherish the memories of walking her down the aisle and sharing a private father/daughter dance forever.
Here’s a photo of the wedding party outside the ’Na̱mg̱is Traditional Big House with some of our new relatives. I’m standing proudly in the centre of the group wearing a blue tie and black jacket.
To see more photos of the wedding, please visit The wedding of my daughter, Jenn.
1b. Tell us your genre, how long you’ve been at it, who or what inspires you or whatever you want us to know.
I never planned to be a blogger. In 2017, I was diagnosed with prostate cancer. The diagnosis was unexpected and devastating. I had no symptoms, no health issues, or family history. And yet, cancer was already in the final stage before breaching the prostate. If it weren’t for regular testing, cancer would have spread before I developed symptoms. Since my diagnosis, I’ve met many men in stage-4 who never heard of testing until after their terminal diagnosis. Therefore, I decided it was important to share my story and encourage anyone with a prostate to not wait for symptoms before seeing a doctor.
I now blog about my experience, lessons learned, and what I would have done differently. To date, I’m proud to say that I have over 80 blog posts that share intimate details of my diagnosis, treatment, and ongoing recovery. In addition, I have a YouTube channel with over 40 videos. I’m also proud to be a writer for Health Union. Please help raise awareness of prostate cancer by sharing my Blog, Videos and Website, including all my articles published on ProstateCancer.net.
2. What’s been your biggest blogging roadblock this year and did you come up with a way to get around it? (If you didn’t, that’s okay too. We’re here to support you.)
2a. What’s been your biggest blogging roadblock this year?
My blogging has slowed down due to anxiety over the pandemic, and I’ve been dealing with a few minor health issues.
The pandemic has added a lot of stress to our family. Although we are fully vaccinated, we are still very cautious about following the safety protocols. These include wearing a mask in public, washing our hands, and staying six feet apart from others. Even still, we are concerned as my father lost two of his good friends to the virus. And our neighbour now has heart damage as a result of contracting the virus.
To read more, I’ve written a blog about the pandemic named, Finding solace during the pandemic.
2a. And did you come up with a way to get around it?
In addition to the pandemic, my anxiety rises every time I have a new ache or pain. Especially since my prostate cancer diagnosis. About a month ago, I woke up with redness and pain in my right breast. I saw my doctor right away. So far, I’ve had antibiotics, a mammogram, and an ultrasound. The antibiotics helped with the redness, but not the pain. The mammogram was normal, and the ultrasound identified a small abscess that’s most likely an infection. The good news is the redness is now gone, and the pain has improved. So hopefully, the pain will disappear soon.
The other issue is I developed a lump in my groin area that I thought might be a hernia. I’ve been playing the video game Mario Golf rather aggressively with my son. After an examination, my doctor ordered an ultrasound as she’s not sure it’s a hernia. I’m scheduled for the ultrasound later this month.
Therefore, I’ve been a bit distracted and haven’t found a way to get back on track. I guess I’m hoping for good news about my breast and groin. And to add to my stress, my latest PSA test results have risen ever so slightly. To be sure, I have a follow-up PSA test next month.
3. What’s something you accomplished with your blog this year that you’re proud of?
Being diagnosed with prostate cancer was utterly devastating. And I had no plans to talk about it. My wife knew I was having a hard time and never pressured me to speak. Instead, she would spend hours by my side, holding my hand with her head on my shoulder. Often, we would be in total silence. And being together was very comforting.
Then one day, she suggested that I write a journal. A private journal, not to be shared with anyone. Even she wouldn’t read it. The journal helped me deal with my emotions and was incredibly therapeutic. Eventually, my writing turned into a book and was the start of my blog. I had no expectations as I was writing for myself. It’s become a true labour of love.
Overall, I’m most proud that my book is distributed free to everyone newly diagnosed across Canada by Prostate Cancer Foundation BC. The name of the book is Prostate Cancer Strikes: Navigating the Storm.
My book is part of a package named the Reef Knot Kit. To learn more, please watch my YouTube video named Gogs’ Reef Knot Kit. And if you know anyone newly diagnosed with prostate cancer in Canada, please let them know about this free resource.
In addition, every Prostate Cancer Awareness month, I give the ebook version away free anywhere in the world for 5-days via Amazon.
4. What are a couple of your best blogging tips?
I’m still relatively new to blogging and have much to learn. Therefore, I don’t feel qualified to give advice. But I know it’s critically important to write from your heart, ensure accurate facts, and always edit and then edit again. I recently started to use Windows Narrator to read my blog out loud. While listening, I imagine that someone else is reading a blog that I didn’t write. It’s been helpful to determine if the blog is complete, understandable, and ready for posting. Another piece of advice is to connect with other bloggers and to interact with their posts. I haven’t done this lately, and I’m thankful for Nancy’s challenge as it’s helped remind me that I need to be more active.
5. How do you handle negative feedback or comments?
I use the moderation feature as I get many spam comments advertising male enhancement products. After reviewing, I’ll delete the spam, and typically respond to positive comments right away. And for negative comments, it depends on the content. I will most likely respond if I see value in it that helps me grow and learn. Otherwise, if it’s intended to hurt me, I will most likely ignore it. That said, I haven’t had many negative comments on my blog or YouTube channel. However, I had one hurtful comment on Twitter. I tweeted that my sister died of ovarian cancer, and my dad and I were diagnosed with prostate cancer. One comment read, “Your family needs to become sterile and stop reproducing.” That hurt for days, but I ended up ignoring the comment with no response.
6. Share a link to a favorite post you’ve written RECENTLY (since last year’s challenge perhaps) that you want more people to read.
My sister Joanne died of ovarian cancer at the age of 56. She was my best friend, and I miss her deeply. I wrote a tribute article on AdvancedOvarianCancer.net to honour her memory. In this article, I share a confession with my sister that I held onto for over 34-years. I would love more people to read and share to help raise awareness of ovarian cancer and to help keep her memory alive.
The name of the blog is Ovarian Cancer, Confessions, and My Sister.
Here’s a photo of one of my earliest memories of being with Joanne. She was always very special and I love her with all my heart.
Blog Hop Links
Thank you so much for taking the time to read my 2021 Summer Blogging Challenge. I look forward to engaging with more readers and bloggers.
Featured Image by yogesh more from Pixabay
I’m proud to be included in the 2021 summer blogging challenge hosted by Nancy’s Point and honoured to be a guest blogger. You can read all my posts under Guest Blogs.
If you’re newly diagnosed with prostate cancer and living in Canada please order a free Reef Knot Kit, which includes a copy of my book. For more details, please read the Announcement in my local paper.
Gogs. What can I say? You really have smashed this challenge! Every answer is so engaging encouraging me as the reader to check if I had read your previous articles (which I have). Three elements of this post stand out for me: Your wonderful wife’s head on your shoulder, holding your hand in silence. Remembering your article about your loving sister and you taking the time to place yourself in the reader’s mind, actually caring how your words are interpreted.
Keep blogging, keep vlogging and keep raising awareness of Prostate Cancer. Having your book as part of a life saving tool – the Reef Knot kit, is something to be incredibly proud of! Canada-wide, this is phenomenal!
Aw, thank you so much, Cheryl. Your comments made my day! I put a lot of heart and soul into my writing. And reading your kind words and encouragement motivates me to keep moving forward with blogging and vlogging! Many hugs, my friend. x
Love it I have about 1/2 left and off I’ll go to publish. I had a small card sitting in my kitchen driving everyone crazy not wanting to throw it out. It contained 4 okay sounding haikus so that went first along with a love story of food and a human being who shall remain nameless but broke my heart 16 years ago. He was the lone love of my life. We have quite a story I’ll have to write it one day, transposed from a journal I kept of our 5 year long romance.
Thank you, Ilene. I’m so sorry about your broken heart of 16 years ago. I find sharing and reading the stories of others incredibly therapeutic. And I’m a big fan of your blog posts. Before you, I wasn’t a fan of poetry, but now I can’t get enough of your writing!! And I’m glad you kept the journal of your 5-year romance. I only started journalling after my cancer diagnosis, and I wish I started as a kid. If it turns into a book, I’ll be first in line to buy a copy. x
I’m so glad you are participating in my blog hop again this summer! It’s been great getting to know you better since last year’s challenge. I simply must take this opportunity to give another shout out about your terrific book in case anyone reading this needs a good resource about prostate cancer. It’s so well done, Gogs.
I’m so sorry about your sister. She’d be proud of the advocacy work you’re doing, I’m sure. What a wonderful photo you shared of the two of you.
Thanks again for participating. Happy blog hopping!
Your blog hop is such a fantastic idea, and I’m honoured to be a part of it! Thank you so much for organizing!! It’s a great way to meet other bloggers and new friends. I’m so looking forward to reading more posts in the blog hop.
Thank you so much for the shout-out about my book. It’s heartwarming to know others may benefit. And I’ve recommended your book to my support groups. It’s such a great read.
And thank you for your kinds words about my sister. I do believe she would be proud.
Happy blog hopping!
I’m so glad to connect with you through Nancy’s challenge, and to learn about your story and the tremendous work you’re doing in support of prostate cancer awareness and providing information and resources to help those dealing with prostate cancer. I enjoyed the post about your amazing sister, and the wedding photos too!
Hi Lisa, it’s great to connect with you too! And thank you so much for your kind words. I’m still finding my voice and so happy I participated in Nancy’s blogging challenge. It’s such a fantastic opportunity to meet and learn about other bloggers.
Gogs, such a great blog, I really like your writing, thank you! Julia
Thank you, Julia. Your feedback means a lot to me!
I really enjoyed your post because I learned so much about you. I have had family members with prostate cancer, but it isn’t a topic that we discuss regularly. I think it is because of how deeply personal this cancer can be. Thank you for being willing to be open and share your treatments and emotions with us! You are a tremendous advocate for the prostate cancer community!
Thank you so much, Jennifer. I really appreciate your kind words. Your comments warmed my heart! I’m so happy Nancy organized the Blog Hop. It really helped motivate me to keep on blogging! it’s such a great way to meet other bloggers.