I’m just a girl that coordinates her outfits to her chemo IV…
Shortly after being diagnosed with stage III Colorectal Cancer at age 31, I started using #keepingcancerclassy on my cancer-related social media posts for my friends and family. I tried to inject a small amount of humor into the situation as my way of maintaining some dignity while being poked and prodded on a regular basis. It was also an effort to keep some semblance of self when “cancer patient” threatened to takeover my identity.
Two recurrences, two IV ports, 5.5 weeks of radiation, almost 20 rounds of chemo, two major surgeries and countless complications later (but who’s counting…), I’m finally writing about it all. Not because the world needs another cancer story, but because I believe the world needs to see cancer in context. Yes, I’m a cancer patient, but that shouldn’t put me on some pedestal. I’m not special. I got cancer, and it wasn’t hereditary. It can happen to anyone, this is just my playbook.
Most importantly, I was (and still am) a person that went to the internet to hunt down answers when I was diagnosed. But the answers I was looking for weren’t about miracle cures, they were about how to live with cancer. I searched for other patients that could prove to me that life wasn’t over once you receive a diagnosis…because it’s not. Since I got the news in 2014, I’ve fallen in love, gotten engaged, moved to NYC and started down a path towards advocacy work that I never thought I’d find myself in. Life with cancer — despite the tears, pain, nausea, frustration, etc…– can be good if you just let yourself see the silver-linings. But don’t worry, my posts aren’t going to be all cotton candy and rainbows, those drive me nuts. Obviously, cancer sucks and I’ll be real about that. They’re also not going to all be about cancer, I have so much more to say, and stories to tell. This is all about the context.
Anyway, there are so many other brave souls out there that have opened their lives up to the scary world wide web. They have made this easier for me without knowing it, and this is my way of paying it forward for the next person looking for answers.