Video: Healthy blogging

msnbc.com
updated 11/3/2005 1:33:15 PM ET 2005-11-03T18:33:15
STORY

For Perry Kairis, blogging is just one more weapon in his battle with cancer.

Perry was diagnosed in February with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, when doctors found a malignant growth on his tongue.  After surgery, came chemotherapy.

“When you find out you have cancer it changes your life completely.  You go through shock you go through denial you go through a lot of deep emotions,” admitted Kairis.

So after chemotherapy, came a new prescription: online therapy, in the form of an internet journal.

Kairis' doctors now encourage patients to help themselves, and others, by writing about their experiences on the hospital's website.

“The benefits are tremendous,” according to Dr. Chinn treating Kairis.  “You're basically creating your own virtual therapy and the good thing is you can cut in and cut out when you choose to and you can do it at your own pace.”

Kairis said, “It was a good chance to vent to tell the good and the bad and then other folks can know what to expect on a cancer journey.”

These entries documented his journey daily, helping him feel stronger emotionally and helping family, friends, even his doctor, understand his struggle.

Though Kairis’ wife, Nancy, said it was hard to read sometimes.  “There were times that I would break down and cry because it was just highly emotional to read it.  And our children would read the blog entries themselves and they might not understand all of what was in the entry but they could get a feel for what Daddy's going through.”

In a recent America Online study, nearly half of all bloggers polled said blogging is a form of therapy for them.  But some doctors warn there may be drawbacks to prescribe blogging because it’s still so new.

“It's like writing on a postcard and what you've written is then available to anybody who sees this card on the way through the mail.  When we put things on a blog, we don’t know who's responding what motivation people might have its not the same as seeing a therapist,” said Dr. Goodstein, a clinical professor of psychology at NYU.

This week, Kairis found out that after six rounds of chemo and a three-month break, he's cancer-free. While his blog may not be the cure, it is, at the very least, a comfort.

“If I've got folks reading I need to keep posting to let them know how it’s going.”

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