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Just Keep Breathing: Coping With the Loss of a Young Adult Child to Cancer

Pat Taylor | Posted 01.23.2014 | Healthy Living
Pat Taylor

What I did to keep breathing is different from what someone else will choose to do. I think that is the key word: choose. We can either choose to follow our child into the grave or learn to live without them. Live or die? Cancer stole their young lives... will it steal yours, too?

Keeping in Shape During Cancer -- Artistically

Robert Johnston | Posted 05.07.2013 | Healthy Living
Robert Johnston

Cancer can present many challenges to a person, one of which is staying in shape. My medical team asks every single time I'm in for a follow up if I'm exercising. My way of staying in shape is taking adult ballet classes.

Our Super Powers

Alex Kip | Posted 04.16.2013 | Healthy Living
Alex Kip

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.

Love in the Time of Cancer and Computers

Erika Lade | Posted 04.15.2013 | Healthy Living
Erika Lade

Creating an online dating profile is awkward. Creating one when you have cancer? That is just another level of strange. And I almost did not go at the last second, when my nerves, and probably my grasp on reality, took hold of me.

The Cancer Curve Ball

Brina Furman | Posted 04.09.2013 | Healthy Living
Brina Furman

Few things in life seem to come easy, so of course the transition to college threw me a curve ball. A big curve ball. Cancer. One of the problems of being a young adult with cancer is that you aren't really sure if you're the supporter or the supported sometimes.

Thank You, My Friends

Lindsay Goldstein | Posted 04.01.2013 | Healthy Living
Lindsay Goldstein

When I started chemotherapy, I tried to picture what it would be like to go back to school at the end of everything. I'm lucky to say that my daydreams from the last nine weeks have become a reality. So to my friends, I say thank you. Thank you for treating me like one of the gang again.

Living the New Normal After Cancer

Sanyu Janardan | Posted 03.31.2013 | Healthy Living
Sanyu Janardan

After months of chemo and radiation, I walked out of my last day of chemo and radiation and was so excited, thinking it was all finally over. Physically, I was feeling better each day. But mentally, I was fighting a whole new battle. It was harder for me to relate to kids my own age.

Life on Planet Cancer

Beth Pointer | Posted 03.12.2013 | Healthy Living
Beth Pointer

I am an alien -- any young adult who has gone through cancer is. But being at First Descents was the first time in the last year that I felt like maybe I wasn't alone on my planet.

The Allure of Pain Meds

Kelly Bergin | Posted 03.12.2013 | Healthy Living
Kelly Bergin

It wasn't until after my surgery for cancer at 21 that I took my very first painkiller. But like many others before me, I made the fatal error of mistaking drugs for happiness.

Why I Created a One-on-One Cancer Support Network

Jonny Imerman | Posted 03.11.2013 | Healthy Living
Jonny Imerman

Although I had my network of support in my family, friends and doctors, once I started introducing myself to these fellow cancer fighters I realized that they were providing me something valuable that my caregivers could not

The Cure for Fear

Meghan Brennan | Posted 02.19.2013 | Healthy Living
Meghan Brennan

Yes, surviving cancer takes the sting out of bad hair days and flat tires, but it also creates a sort of hyper-vigilance with regard to potential suffering -- whether on dates, at work, or even at a family meal.

Let's Talk About Sex

Emily Drake | Posted 02.19.2013 | Healthy Living
Emily Drake

It's time that the experience of sexuality of young adult cancer survivors is discussed, but sexuality is hardly talked about between patients and their health care providers. Patients are often left having to figure things out on their own without the information they need.

After Cancer, Returning to the Workplace

Shelley Nolden | Posted 02.18.2013 | Healthy Living
Shelley Nolden

Grocery bills, health insurance premiums and mortgage payments don't stop when cancer strikes. Fortunately, neither do dreams nor ambition. Returning to work after cancer treatment can be both gratifying and challenging.

Reclaiming Christmas: A Mother's Story

Pat Taylor | Posted 02.18.2013 | Healthy Living
Pat Taylor

The holidays can be a difficult time for those of us who have lost a loved one to cancer. Cancer can take away all the joyful child-like innocence and magic of Christmas, if we let it. Can such a fathomless hole in the heart ever be filled? Yes, I believe it can be... eventually.

The Mentor I Never Met

Lisa Bonchek Adams | Posted 02.17.2013 | Healthy Living
Lisa Bonchek Adams

I try to go through my days right now as normally as I can. But I lead a hidden life. As a 43-year-old mother of three, my life was already full. I didn't have time for cancer when I was first diagnosed in 2006. Now I only worry that my cancer means I don't have time.

Got Cancer? Take Acting Classes!

Robert Johnston | Posted 02.11.2013 | Healthy Living
Robert Johnston

Got cancer? Start acting classes! Or at least that's what I ended up doing. It's amazing that even when you feel like your life has stalled, something will come along and get it going again.

5 Reasons Why First Descents Should Be Called F'in Dynamite

Craig Stein | Posted 02.11.2013 | Healthy Living
Craig Stein

Missing a leg from extraskeletal myxoid chondrosarcoma? A colon from adenocarcinoma? The ability to walk from meningioma on the brain? Well, hate to tell you, but no one is feeling sorry for you. First Descents is here to empower you to begin "outliving it."

Climbing Cancer Mountain

Marjorie Malpass | Posted 02.10.2013 | Healthy Living
Marjorie Malpass

Challenged by the river, I learned that the trick to kayaking is the same trick I used to navigate my illness -- you flow. Fighting against the current lands you upside-down, underwater, with your head bouncing against rocks.

Illness and Relationships: Diving In

Kelly Bergin | Posted 02.10.2013 | Healthy Living
Kelly Bergin

There's no manual for dating with chronic illness -- there's no easy way to integrate your sick universe with the healthy without causing friction. You will feel the friction. You will be angry. But bravery is forging ahead anyway.

The Tricky Business of Diagnosing Young Adult Cancer

Jacqueline Burton | Posted 02.09.2013 | Healthy Living
Jacqueline Burton

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.