After spending a week with young adult cancer survivors in Vail with First Descents and talking with with IA Connection Specialists, I have learned more about the magnitude of life as a survivor: starting a life after cancer. The stories I have heard seem to point to the fact that cancer, in itself, is just the beginning of the journey.
This article from the Huffington Post talks about Coping with Cancer in Your 20s and 30s-
CH: If you had one thing to share with recently diagnosed 20 and 30 somethings that you wish you had been told, what would it be?
KR: You do not have to become a glittery superhero in order to fight adversity. Cancer is hard stuff. Strength comes from being real. Allow yourself to sometimes feel vulnerable and to have meltdowns. They do not last forever and you may even feel invigorated afterwards. Secondly, the definition of hope is fighting for your best care. Cancer is not only emotional and physical, it is administrative too and the burdens of paperwork can really impede our healing. Many hospitals have patient representative services or ombudsmen. If after your second try you are unsuccessful at getting records, obtaining procedural approval, or resolving a financial matter, have one of these professional advocates intervene on your behalf. Think, question, and shout when you need to.
CH: What is a concern you heard repeated by many of the patients you spoke with?
KR: Many talked about the jarring shift after treatment when they were catapulted from a focused, regimented medical routine back into daily life. Friends and family are popping the champagne cork to celebrate the end of cancer, but many patients described this phase as just the beginning and often the hardest part of it all. For many, this was the first time since diagnosis that they were able to absorb the emotional bombshell of cancer…