Weight management is by far the most personal part of my journey I’ve talked about so far. I can’t tell you how many hours I’ve spent elated or devastated reacting to the numbers on the scale and how they are represented on my body.
There are countless things to say about going through cancer treatment and testing, but in my experience, it’s the elements of survivorship that often go ignored or are put off to deal with at a later date.
For cancer patients, the threat of infertility is a common concern. Radiation, chemotherapy and surgery have the potential to impact fertility. That’s why it’s so important for young cancer patients to have a multidisciplinary team of cancer and fertility experts who can offer the most effective treatment and fertility preservation options.
As a young adult cancer patient, I craved a sense of normality. Going to work every day helped me maintain my routine, and for 8 hours, I tricked myself into believing nothing was out of the ordinary. Working as close to full-time as my doctor’s appointments and immune deficiency allowed actually kept me very distracted. It was a key coping mechanism.
When I was 3-years-old, I was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. Although I have been cancer free for 18 years, cancer continues to touch my life in a variety of ways. Most recently, I lost my Dad, Dave, to Acute Myeloid Leukemia. I try to stay connected to people who understand what I’m going through. It really helps to talk with others who get it.
Everyone has a story to tell. Whether on a first date, job interview or happy hour with a new friend, there’s always a select version of our story that we choose to share. It usually includes where we went to school and how we found ourselves where we are today.
I was 27-years-old and went to my primary care doctor for a sore shoulder and a cough that only happened when I laughed. Given a recent backpacking trip, it made sense when his initial diagnosis was a shoulder strain. But as an extra precaution, he ordered a chest x-ray. That’s when he found the mass under my sternum, near my heart.