Fear means different things to different people. To some, fear manifests as anger. For others, fear is sorrow. For each person, identifying their fears is an intensely personal part of LungLeavin' Day.
As I talk to my fellow survivors I truly can't believe I spent so many years disconnected from this group of my peers with such an incredible shared experience. Through opening up about our stories I am learning so much about this long journey of survivorship we are all on.
I am no longer sick. I am well. That isn't the case for some of my closest friends and family. Because I'm 'well,' and perhaps because I'm still desperate to make sense of my own senseless diagnosis, I assign myself responsibility to them.
As a young adult cancer survivor, I personally believe we need to hear as many triumph stories as we can find. It helps to know others have made it through difficulty and succeeded in their goals. I recently had the privilege of interviewing female boxing champion, Terri Moss.
My cancer doesn't have motives, free will, or spite. I find no solace in telling it to f*ck off, or claiming I'm beating/fighting/standing up to it. It's no coincidence that these metaphors are generally the slogans of fundraising campaigns.
When my brother-in-law Mike was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in his 40s, his life, along with his wife (my youngest sister) and their three young children, was turned upside down. The cancer wave rippled out from there. It was a wake-up call for friends and family.
More people are getting cancer and more are surviving it. The costs of survivorship -- financial, physical, psychological, social, emotional -- affect not only survivors and their families, but our country and our communities.