I was 22 years old on the brink of graduating from one of the top musical theater programs in the nation, when I was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma. I thought I was Superman, and my super power was my singing voice. Until, that is, the kryptonite lodged itself into my body.
I am writing from the final throes of age 29, a narrowing corridor of weeks until I embark upon my 30s. But for some of us, 'survival' of this particular decade is jarringly literal. I am a cancer survivor.
We're supposed to be in the prime of our lives; we're not supposed to get sick. But my cancer was misdiagnosed for over a year, and all the while my disease progressed inside of me. Doctors must be more aware that young people can, and do, get cancer.
What is a mother to do when she first hears that her healthy, funny, bright, charismatic daughter has been diagnosed with cancer at age 23? Stand by her side, of course. However, what is a mother to do when that same daughter dies at age 26?
This Thanksgiving, while we indulge in feasts to celebrate all that we have been blessed with, cancer patients will be struggling to find the positives in their circumstances. Here are five things that cancer has left us grateful for this holiday season.