There are certain times of year when my cancer story makes me feel incredibly isolated. There’s the time surrounding April 14, the day I was diagnosed, July 29, the day I was deemed “in remission” and, the one I’ve experienced most recently, the month of October.
Elizabeth and Miranda are two friends with a unique story. They happened to meet years ago in Uganda, Africa during a study abroad trip and Peace Corps program, respectively. Eventually, the pals separated and made their way back to different states in the U.S.
On October 15, 1992, I was diagnosed with stage IV non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Upon hearing that news, I went completely numb and silent as we drove over to my parents to break the news. I could not bring myself to look or speak to them, as I was in complete shock.
FOMO, the abbreviated slang meaning “fear of missing out,” is a huge mental and emotional side effect of being a young adult cancer survivor and represents just a sliver of the unique challenges we have to face during and well after the fight of our lives.
My early twenties were everything I imagined they would be. They were fun, filled with life and discovery, naive in the best of ways, connected by travels, and laced with endless dreams. This was until I hit a road block at age 25. Cancer stood in my tracks. What was I to do?
During my own cancer journey, I’ve learned a lot about the importance of asking questions and getting multiple opinions. I had to be my own advocate to ensure the best possible care. Otherwise, my outcome might have been very different.
Music has many benefits. It can create encouragement, motivation, determination, resilience, and the ability to cope. Most importantly, it can heal. Sometimes when there are no words or there is nothing to say, music says it all.