Perspective is important. We should all keep in mind that our problems could be worse, and that all suffering is relative. This can help us feel less overwhelmed by our own challenges, more grateful for our many blessings, and more compelled to empathize with and help others.
I thought of the courage and strength that Francesco has shown throughout his treatment, and remembered the inspirational battle that my friend Joe fought when he was sick, and I knew that I had to take on this campaign for the both of them.
A lot of people are talking about the idea of rebirth, resurrection, miracles, and faith following Easter weekend. They are themes often on my mind too, though perhaps for different reasons: On December 1, 2010, I was reborn. Sort of.
I yearn to scream, yet I must hold my breath. Even if I were to open my eyes, I would see nothing. I'm suspended in a vortex that overpowers my senses. I don't know which way is up. I have 45, maybe 60 seconds to figure it out, or I will die.
Most people assume that being done with treatment and declared cancer free means you no longer have a care in the world. That made me angry. I so badly wanted for them to understand what I was feeling inside mentally.
Battling insurance corporations who do not want to pay for that $8,000 a month chemotherapy drug you need to survive while you are also battling cancer, is tremendously taxing. Here are a few very basic tips I learned through my own struggles with illness and insurance.
Young adults face a slew of unique challenges when it comes to cancer -- from dating and sex, to finances, to career interruptions, to the fact that our cure rates haven't caught up with other age groups. We juggle all this while trying to stay alive at the same time.
I also used to hide that I survived Ewing's sarcoma (bone cancer) at 17 years old and myelodysplasia (bone marrow cancer) at 19. Now nearly 10 years cancer-free, rules help me live a complete and genuine life.
My mother had bought the toy for Jason when he was first diagnosed. He was handmade with felt eyes, nose and mouth, perpetually smiling. Big Jon went with him to every doctor's appointment, slept with him in every hospital bed. He offered so much more than security.
Many times I've been asked why or how I developed acute promyelocytic leukemia at the age of 31 and almost five months pregnant. Healthy, thriving young adults aren't supposed to get cancer. The natural question is: Why? The question and the answer are loaded with emotions.
My 5-year-old daughter has Leukemia. She was diagnosed when she was 4 and lost all of her hair from the chemo. She was out of school for nine months and finally was able to go to Kindergarten this past September. Knowing how mean kids can be, I was scared to death to send her.
Winning this kind of battle gives you great perspective on how you spend your time. I have gained an unusual confidence to prioritize my time and enjoy life (and spend as little time as possible focusing on the negative).