Monday, April 20, 2009

How Did YOU Find Me?

In September 2007, almost two years after starting this Blog, I added a counter to see if anyone was actually reading this and if so, how many. I started off by setting the count at 100 because I didn’t want to be embarrassed if it sat at zero, or at least under ten, for months. There is an option to put a blocker cookie for myself so it won’t count me every time I come to the blog or post to it. I contemplated not blocking myself so if the number stayed low I could keep visiting myself to get the count up. Hmm, that almost sounds illegal. But I did set the blocking cookie so my visits don’t count.

I am amazed, and humbled, at how many people are reading, well, at least visiting this site. As of earlier this morning, 15,000 visits in the last year and a half! As time goes by, the number of daily visitors increases. I am now averaging 47 visitors a day and Easter Monday it was 85. Because so few folks actually leave comments, this is a way for me to know if people visit. Of course, in comparison to some of my fellow bloggers, this is a relatively small number, but I am still amazed. (Perhaps some of my fellow bloggers keep visiting their own Blog to drive the numbers up – HA!) To keep track of the numbers, I chose the free version of StatCounter. You can see the actual count at the bottom of the far right column of this Blog. The free version limits the information it gives me to the last 500 visitors, but it still tells me much.

Although I can’t collect personally identifying information (and I would have no need to do that), there is a lot of information I can see. For instance, it shows the country and often the state and city visitors come from – although it is not totally accurate as it depends where the Internet provider’s server is located. When I first started using the counter, there was someone from South Africa that checked in fairly often. My youngest daughter would read something I had written and then complain that the person in South Africa knew about it before she did. Out of the last 500 visitors right now, 279 are from the USA. The others, in alphabetical order, are from:
Antigua and Barbuda,
Hong Kong,
New Zealand,
Republic of Korea,
Russian Federation,
Saint Kitts and Nevis,
Saudi Arabia,
Serbia and Montenegro,
United Arab Emirates,
United Kingdom,

and… South Africa! There are also 16 visitors who are from unknown places, somehow surfing in stealth mode, I assume. You can’t imagine how humbling and overwhelming it is for me to realize that people from all over the world have read or are reading my Blog. I am ashamed to admit there are two or three of those countries listed I would have difficulty finding on a map.

StatCounter also tells me how folks get to my Blog. Many come from clicking links on other sites and Blogs such as ACOR, CLL Forum, CLL Christian Friends, and many of the Blogs listed here in the right column, along with a few others not listed. Many just come here directly because they type in (or have bookmarked) the address. It tells me there was no referring link.

However, a great many, almost half, arrive as a result of searches on Google and other search engines. These are the folks that give me pause because I realize folks are coming here looking for answers and information to help them with their disease. All I can do is write about my experience and sometimes give links to other places with more help.

99.9% of the searches have to do with CLL or SLL. I know this because I can actually see what is put into the search engine and it also tells me which page, or post, the visitor was directed to. The most popular, by far, other than the normal home page, is the post on itching because so many folks are searching for answers concerning itching, rashes, and swelling with CLL. Just about every itching body part with CLL has been searched. Of the last 500 visits, 128 were directed to my post about itching. I just wish I had definitive answers for those seeking itch relief other than to say go to a dermatologist and get checked out. In my case I suspect my first huge bout with itching and rash was a delayed Rituxan reaction and then the last big bout may have been from formaldehyde in new jeans. The second most popular post is one I wrote back in 2005 about treatment options. Until I wrote the itching post, the treatment option post was consistently the most popular. The fatigue post and the first time I wrote about IVIg infusions are also popular.

Some of the search terms are heartbreaking as people are dealing with serious issues for themselves or their loved one. Some search terms are funny, and a few searches I wonder how they got directed here. I have been thinking of writing about this subject for several months, so I have been collecting the search terms used to get here. Let me give you some examples of the more unusual ones, typed just the way they were put into a search engine, followed by my comments:

Cinnamon/CLL – well that is a different flavor of the disease, I guess. This was searched for several times.
Leukemia back pain burning tingling feet vomiting – the poor fellow is really ill if his feet are vomiting.
I’m a guy I want to modeling – and you are looking to me for advice? Have you seen me???
CBC done six months ago could I still have leukemia – Sure could, my blood test was done three weeks ago and I still have it.
How much pain would you suffer to get to heaven – you don’t have to suffer pain to get to heaven. See my Easter post from this year.
Lower back itch spleen – That is a problem. Your spleen is up front, on the left, protected by your ribs – unless it is enlarged from CLL and then it extends below your ribs.
CLL oxygen exercise – you are asking ME about exercise? You really don’t know me, do you?
Numb butt – Call me any more names and I will have to ask you to leave.
Numb scalp leukemia – Well that is better than the last one.
Lymphocytic leukeamia in horses – Well, I have been called one particular end of a horse, but I don’t know about this.
Can sleeping problems, bruise type mark, dry lips be indicator of leukemia? – I guess so, but maybe you are snoring with your mouth open and your wife keeps punching you.
Unexplained painful spots in mouth before my period? -- Umm, not my area of expertise.
Golden heart god saw you getting tired 1996 – Is LSD still popular or are you on something else?
The lymph glands in my neck really hurt and a pin when touched on my back in between my shoulder blades what is this a sign of? -- That someone is sadistically torturing you with pins.
Stress test radioactive grandson – WHAT? If my grandson was radioactive, I would need a stress test, too.
Small lymphocytic lymphoma how to make it worse – Why, oh why would you want to make it worse? I am trying to make it better!
Rituxin made of ground up rats? -- Ewww. Not really. But Rituxan is made somehow with mouse proteins or Chinese hamster ovaries – really.
Los vagas cll girls – Man, I bet you were disappointed when you got to my blog. It would help if you learned to spell or at least watch the typos.
The wonderful, fabulous author John Wagner who is loved and adored by his wife and kids and grandchildren – OK, OK, I made that one up myself.

I have a lot more examples, but you get the idea. The sad thing is because I have used a lot of different terms in this post, many more folks will be directed to this page. If you are one, I hope I didn’t make you angry as you searched for legitimate answers.

For those searching for CLL/SLL answers, let me give you a couple of tips. First of all, be sure to check out Chaya’s sites. If you are newly diagnosed, start with and on the main page look over to the right for the link for newly diagnosed. There is a wealth of information there. Second, search Dr. Terry Hamblin’s Blog HERE. David Arenson’s Blog HERE is also a wealth of information. Then, try a search of CLL sites, HERE. Enter your terms and it will search many CLL related sites. If you see something in one of my posts, look at the labels at the bottom of the post and click a word and all posts related to that label will pop up. Finally, you can always do a general search my Blog and see if I have written anything helpful. Look up at the top left of this page. Type your terms into the box and click on “SEARCH BLOG.” Of course, if you are not already a member, I would invite you to join and the Christian site Both of these sites are wonderful sources of education and support. is another information and support place to go and join a discussion group (on the help page look over on the far right for the link on how to join). In all three you can ask your questions and members will try to help you out. If nothing else, you will find folks who know what you are going through. I also have some other links and blogs listed here over on the right that can be very useful to you.

Although I know folks are visiting, I also enjoy reading your comments. So if you have time when you visit, take a moment and say howdy by clicking on the comments link at the bottom of the individual post. I promise I won’t make fun of you – unless you are the one looking for “los vagas cll girls.”


Carly said...

I often refer friends to your blog because: 1. I find you absolutely hilarious, and 2. You bring such words of encouragement without trying.
It is exciting to track who has visited. I have a map that does similar things. I can get onto my mom or sister when they fail to "check in" on a regular basis since we live across the state from each other.

M&B said...

Hi John, I enjoyed todays post..I found your blog when trying to find out about the hit the wall fatigue my husband has with his cll. His oncologist feels it is atypical, from you and others I have found it is not. I can't imagine what it was like to have a serious disease without the info and support available to us now. Your blog is a blessing. And while I'm here...wishing you many many happy years at the new cabin. M&B

John Wagner said...

Thank you, Carly and M&B for your kind words. I have always enjoyed being silly sometimes but always want to help folks too. If I can accomplish both with this Blog, then I have been blessed.

materialmoose said...

I hope someday on my blog I can have as many followers as you do. I think I may be up to 2 a day and I think one of them is my daughter! Your writings are so great!! Keep up the good work you inspire me!!!