It’s official—I hit 10K followers on Instagram on the same day as I celebrated ten years since my thyroid cancer diagnosis. If you’ve been following along since the beginning, I started this site after being diagnosed with papillary thyroid carcinoma in 2013 at the age of 26. At the time, I was looking for a creative outlet and wanted a place to share my story and the resources that helped me along the way. Living in Steil was born from my diagnosis, but it has become a community for cancer patients, survivors, advocates, and now equestrians and entrepreneurs—many of whom have become friends—and I couldn’t be prouder of that.
To me, being a blogger has never been about numbers. I enjoy the creative pursuit of creating content and finding topics that resonate with my audience as much as I enjoy connecting with my followers on social media and meeting them in person if they’re local. My goal over the years has been to create a community where we can all learn, grow, and heal through our shared experiences. There’s no greater feeling than when a reader or follower reaches out to share their story with me or to tell me how my story impacted them.
After almost a decade of blogging, I still find it to be one of the most rewarding experiences, and I am grateful to meet so many people from all over the world I otherwise wouldn’t have ever met. While there can be plenty of negatives that come along with putting your life on social media, I’ve focused on the positives and the opportunities and friendships that have come from it. Hitting 10K followers on the same day as my diagnosis a decade ago feels so fitting and makes the accomplishment even more special.
Over the years, I’ve felt frustrated by what I perceived as a lack of growth as a blogger. But I’ve come to learn that finding your tribe organically takes time and patience. In the end, the wait will be well worth it when you have a like-minded audience that can truly relate and engage with your content.
Thank you to everyone who has been following along since I started this site or who has found me along the way, and who has supported me as I shared about my thyroid cancer journey over the years, learned from my foray into patient advocacy work and my experience as a millennial caregiver, and watched as I returned to my roots as an equestrian and started my business. It’s because of your support and encouragement (and genuine interest) that has allowed me to cover so many topics here and on my social channels.
And, to anyone reading who can relate to feeling lost in their career and in need of a creative outlet, this is your permission slip to just start. Almost ten years later, I could never have imagined all that would come personally and professionally from having a blog and sharing my thoughts.