Willy Wonka Would Have Forgiven Me!

"You stole fizzy lifting drinks!" Remember that scene from the 70's movie version of Willy Wonka and Chocolate Factory? That line was all I could think of after I received an angry e-mail from a cancer support website (not this one!) that I have participated in for the last couple of years. I am not going to name the site as I promised that I would not reference them on my website or in any other forum that I have control over. This isn't about them. It's about me and my hurt feelings. Let me tell you what happened. As you know, one of my dreams since my diagnosis of stage 4 anal cancer three years ago has been to develop a resource website where folks diagnosed with rare and stigmatized cancers could go and get information. I wanted a place to link people to the sites that I had to dig around for hours on the internet to find. "Why is this so hard?!" was the question I always found myself asking. I promised myself that if I survived this then I was going to make it easier for the next victim. Thus 52 Shades of Blue was conceived and born not too long ago. It took lots of meetings with my web designer and his team to forge this site. When we tackled "communication" on the site it was suggested that we do a public forum where folks, if willing to register, could share ideas and make suggestions etc. The idea behind the forum was for just that and no more, and I figured since it was "public" that folks really wouldn't be using it for anymore than that. There were other places on the web for people to privately connect and 52 Shades provided links to those. Don't get me wrong here. I am all for supporting anybody going through any of these cancers I just didn't see it as the main purpose for my site. Anyway, when the site went "live" the forum sat for a few weeks as a blank, void canvas while the other features took off. Finally, after a few bugs were worked out, we tackled the forum. We supposed there had to be a "rules" section for acceptable behavior etc. as all support forums have them. You know "be nice", "don't swear too much" and the like. My web designer and I were communicating via e-mail and he said he had found some general rules to use after looking at several forums. I thought it sounded good and with my blessing the forum went live with the rules in place. I'll be honest right here and tell you I never read the rules we posted (and shame on me for that). I figured they were just general and I kind of thought the forum wouldn't be used too much anyway because like I said, it's public. So, boom, we were off and running. I even spent some time writing a welcome under each cancer's section like any good administrator would. We had actually been running for perhaps a month or so and I had been posting my web link in several of the cancer chat forums I participate in. Fellow anal cancer sufferers/survivors were responding favorably to the site and several had even registered in the forum although only a few comments had been left. That's when the "fizzing lifting drinks" message arrived via e-mail. Except it wasn't the the drinks but the "forum rules" that were in question. The words "stolen" and "copyright" left an ache in my gut as big as the one I am sure that Charlie Bucket had when Willy Wonka took out that magnifying glass to show him the fine print on the contract he signed before entering the chocolate factory! I immediately replied that I would investigate with an apology if this was the case and copied my web designer on the correspondence and nervously waited for a reply. He responded that he had patterned our rules after another forums that he found to be applicable to our site but did not know he was violating some sort of copyright. He even sent her a detailed e-mail taking full responsibility. She was having none of it. She fired off a reply that I can only liken to a severe verbal beating and inferred that I was both a thief and a liar as I had to have known we used some of her rules and that I may even use my forum to "expose" other cancer sufferers private writings from her site. Then, breaking her own forum rules, she made a public post on her site in the anal cancer forum that I participate in saying as much AND that she found my actions to be"incredibly offensive, at best." She included a warning on her site that if anybody else was thinking about starting their own website that the Internet was not a free for all! I responded privately in e-mail only that I was truly sorry, that I didn't know but ignorance was no excuse. I confessed I had never read her forum's rule section or my own and that's why I didn't catch it. Needless to say the forum rules were taken down immediately and we decided to regroup. For me, the fact that she thought I was deliberate in my actions was the clincher. My feelings were hurt after what I felt was an honest apology. My husband witnessed all my emotion unfold and assured me that I was not an intentional thief or liar. He encouraged me to call my sister so I did and retold the whole sordid tale. She, being my sissy, was angry about how I had been treated and the whole "public admonishment" thing. She then funneled that frustration to write the forum "guidelines" (she says "rules are for kindergarteners") that exist on my site today. My guidelines are not copywrited. If they will help you, use them however you want. I took down the link to the offended cancer site even though I know it will be a big loss for the folks that may need it. It was my favorite forum and I had many friends and great support from it. But it's not even that...I guess what really got me was the fact that against her own forum rules she treated me unkindly publically. Unlike Charlie Bucket, being sorry because he didn't realize he was breaking a rule and then being completely honest afterwards wasn't enough. My apology was never accepted but I know in my heart that Willy Wonka would have forgiven me!
Thomas, Kevin like this post.
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There are a lot of jerks (I'll refrain from using the word I really want to use out of respect for we anal cancer folks), and that woman happens to fall in that category. Mari
Michele likes this comment
Thank you for that. I honestly feel better having written about it!
I kinda watched that train wreck happening and was appalled. In general, I find the *not allowed* and similar gimmicks to be much more harmful than helpful. Site owners who want to have their own little private stable of cancer patients probably have some significant issues of their own.
Michele likes this comment
It's not that I didn't understand. I get it. But to just be mean and accusatory was hurtful. I am over it. I let it rest a while before I blogged about it. It helps he identify my true feelings. I thought I was angry but I was really just hurt. You are right on the money with your thoughts though.
So much for solidarity and sisterhood. Congratulations a great resource, we will post a link from the UK Behind Cancer site x
Michele likes this comment
Thank you so much!
They are what they studied in Med School, shame, shame on those Arse's! God Bless Michele...
Michele likes this comment
It really takes all kinds doesn't it? I like the post but REALLY liked the Will Wonka analogy!! Keep smilin' Ray
Michele likes this comment
As someone once said to me when I was badly hurt by misbehavior, "Consider the source."
Michele likes this comment
I want to tell you Happy Birthday too! I received a notification so thought I'd better get to it. :>
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Michele, I'm so sorry that your feeling got hurt, regardless of who, why, where or what...I'm glad you are feeling better...Jeanne
Michele likes this comment
I actually found your site yesterday. Having read through your rules I though them all eminantly sensible. Why would any one want to secure them as their own is beyond my comprehension. We are all in this cancer thing together. I can only assume this "person" has major issues and if I knew who it was I would tell them so. We all support you and if this person could not accept your apology gracefully then that is her problem Annabelle
Michele likes this comment
PS Couldn't manage to log in It wouldn't accept my details Annabelle
Michele likes this comment
I will look into that Annabelle
I can't think of anything more frustrating than being accused for a inadvertent infraction, and then the public shaming. Except there's nothing to be ashamed about, as you noted, mistake made, mistake rectified, all the grown-ups will now move on!
Michele likes this comment
Michele....please don't worry about the loss of that site from your 52 Shades of Blue. I myself have been publicly whacked by the administrator there for an inadvertent mistake on my own website (the number of participants in the forum in question was wrong) and received an ugly response when I asked a question in a private message. It has greatly affected my interest in participating there. I don't understand the anger there. But I hope you can realize that it's not about you, there is something amiss at her end. It's very sad. But we all have to realize that just being a cancer patient/survivor does not confer automatic sainthood! Thank you for all you did to create your site and know that you have a host of friends here!
Michele likes this comment
Michele, I am floored at such a response..I am literally speechless. Very bad karma to say the least.. I can't believe you can copyright terms and conditions ? Alrighty.. Too bad people can't see the innocence in people first before they go after them. We know your heart:)
Michele likes this comment
It sounds to me like territorial jealousy Michelle. Like others I can't see why copying rules and regulations matter - as long as they are good and useful ones that is. It's a shame those who are trying to help others can't help each other too but I guess if you have spent a lot of time on something that matters to you any competition can be seen as threatening. Good for you Michelle for setting up the site. The more the better that's what I think. Mayday x
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Michele-- I received a "public admonishment" once, not for violation of any rules or copyright infringement, but for just stating an opinion. It sucks. I'm sorry this happened to you. Hugs-- Martha
Michele likes this comment
I saw your site and I think what your doing is amazing. Good luck on your book.(Just my opinion) Michele you are an inspiration to many and you'll be blessed for that. Keep up all of your good work....Kevin......Ps. There are alot of screwed up people in this world and you don't deserve to be any part of that nonsense.
Michele likes this comment
Thank you Kevin. As you can see, we were thinking of each other at the same time as I just wrote a comment on your last post as well. What you are doing right now is hard! My cancer center nurses told me there were 3 kinds of cancer they never wanted to be afflicted with: Anal, throat, or brain. I just thought they had no idea!
Wow! That's just nuts. Your heart and "rules" .... now "guidelines" were in the right place. Helping people is good and this will work itself out. It all seems so trivial in the scheme of things. That person should be flattered not offended and I pity someone who is so "dead right" that they won't even accept an apology. Hold your head high and keep on truckin'
Michele likes this comment
Michele, How are you doing? It's been nearly a month since you've posted. I will continue to pray for you. ;) Let us know what is going on when you can. Carol
Thanks for your concern! I have been experiencing technical difficulties and I still am. I am not being notified when comments are posted. I am working on it!
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January 31, 1963 - June 10, 2020

Vital Info


October 3, 2011

Click Here

January 31, 1963

June 10

Cancer Info

Anal Cancer

Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the anus

February 5, 2010

Stage 4

2.1 - 3.0 cm

Grade 3


As much as possible

Proceeds from my published blog donated monthly

It is a thief

You have to live every day of your life and stay positive :)

Donate $$ to the anal cancer foundation. Raising awareness saves lives!

Is there anything good about poison?

Bone, lung recurrence 9/20/2012

Cancer Center of Kansas, MD Anderson

Bland diet, sitz baths, take your drugs...nobody gets extra credit for suffering.

Talk, talk, talk to somebody. I chose to write.

April 20, 2010

September 20, 2010

Rectal bleeding, itching, sciatic pain. (thought my hemorhoid was acting up)

My blog has been published and proceeds go to The HPV and Anal Cancer Foundation. http://tinyurl.com/72bjjfp


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