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, the 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 not to 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 was 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 was unsure it was 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 struggling 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 Canada. 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, 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 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.
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.