Hollye Jacobs’ Inspiring Cancer Blog

285 SilverPen By Diana Price

There’s very little indication on the surface that Hollye Jacobs’s blog, The Silver Pen, has anything to do with breast cancer. Visitors to the site might first note the elegant design, the beautiful lifestyle and fashion images by photographer Elizabeth Messina, and the photo of the author herself, beaming out from the frame with her black lab. Depending on the day, they may be as likely to read a book review or a parenting piece or an ode to fashion or design as a post that has anything to do with breast cancer.

And that’s just the way Hollye wants it: this breast cancer survivor—who is also a pediatric and adult palliative care nurse and a social worker, with graduate degrees in bioethics and child development—is not at all interested in allowing cancer to take center stage. “From the moment I started writing,” Hollye says, “I didn’t want to give cancer the power and the authority of the masthead. Cancer is but one part of my life and has no more importance or priority than any other part of my life. Some days it was all-encompassing, but it never took over my life.”

Diagnosed with breast cancer in October 2010, Hollye set to writing about her experience with a mission to document her journey and to focus on the silver linings that appeared along the way—those critical, positive notes, however small, that could permeate the darkness and let the light shine in—within the context of her larger life. “When I was in the bottomless pit of chemo despair, it was my aspiration to balance the horrendous side effects of treatment with the joyful aspects of my life, including family, food, travel, reading, and fashion,” she says.

The result is a blog that reflects this desire for balance and offers an inside look at one woman’s journey through cancer-land and beyond. Written in an honest, compassionate, and humorous style that is both practical and inspired, The Silver Pen covers both the darkness and the light in equal measure and with welcome insight. Whether she is describing the effects of chemo, an event in her family life (she and her husband have a six-year-old daughter), or a favorite recipe, the effect is to illustrate that you can have cancer and have a life.

For Hollye, the experience of sharing the details of her journey has offered both personal release and the opportunity to help other survivors and their loved ones. The latter has been especially meaningful. “The Silver Pen has cultivated a beautiful, supportive, organic community of people affected by the disease, either personally or peripherally,” she says. “Knowing that I have inspired people to find silver linings in their life, whether during cancer treatments or just in the challenges of everyday life, has been the most exciting and fulfilling aspect of writing The Silver Pen.”  _


Learn more about Hollye’s journey at TheSilverPen.com.