We received such an overwhelmingly positive response from one of our past posts, 10 Things About Having Cancer In Your 20s, that we’re adding even more!
Without further ado: 10 More Things About Cancer In Your 20s (or 30s)
[list_item]1. Life will often feel divided between “before Cancer” and “after Cancer.”[/list_item]
I remember exactly the day that I was diagnosed. I remember my hobbies and habits before cancer and I know how they have changed after cancer. I sometimes think longingly of my pre-cancer self and sometimes I feel empowered by my post-cancer self, kicking ass and taking names.
[list_item]2. Your priorities will change.[/list_item]
I don’t think that I arrived to my post-cancer self with a brand new flair for life, but I have definitely settled into some brand new priorities. I do not have time for other people’s drama. I try my best not to worry about things that actually don’t matter. I get frustrated when I see other people worrying about things that don’t matter and then I remember that I do not have time for other people’s drama.
[list_item]3. Other people’s priorities may not change.[/list_item]
For some people, you will be “done with cancer” the day that you finish that last chemo cycle. They will wonder why you can’t “snap out of it” or why your life still seems “affected by cancer.” They will often seem unaffected by the dramatic life event that you have experienced. This may take some time to get used to. You will find people with whom you can talk candidly and people with whom you will stay more closed.
[list_item]4. Some days will seem manageable while some days will not.[/list_item]
Some days I feel like I’m reliving every traumatic piece of my cancer experience while other days I feel on top of the world. Much like before cancer, you will have good days and bad days. Take a deep breath and know that you are always evolving.
[list_item]5. The word Cancer will continue to be uncomfortable for some people in your life.[/list_item]
Yep. Say the word cancer and some will squirm. Like I said in #3, you will find people with whom you can talk candidly and people with whom you do not share your story. You will even meet other survivors who will not be able to hold your story. This is frustrating but 100% about them and not about you.
[list_item]6. You will remain comfortable talking about your poop and reproductive status.[/list_item]
I am constantly making people uncomfortable by the ease with which I can talk about these things.
[list_item]7. You will be different than before.[/list_item]
This feeds into some of the other parts of the list but needs to be stated on its own as well. You will be different than you were pre-cancer and that may take some time to get used to…but it will be ok in the end. Get to know your new self because you are stuck with you and that can be a really great thing.
[list_item]8. You will be forced to learn some version of self-care.[/list_item]
Your post-cancer self will have different boundaries and limits than your pre-cancer self. Learn how to take care of the new you. Take breaks when you need them. Calm down when it is best. You’ll figure it out.
[list_item]9. Finding other people who “get it” will be one of the greatest feelings in the world.[/list_item]
Young adult cancer organizations will help you to meet other young adults who have been through what you have. These young adults will become some of the most important people in your life in a very short time. Seek them out and you will never regret it.
[list_item]10. Tell your story when it feels safe.[/list_item]
Sometimes the people you are with will not have it in them to hold your story. You will hint at something painful or personal and they will immediately tell you about themselves instead of taking at least a second to acknowledge what you’ve said. But sometimes you will be around those who can learn and grow from you and your story. Sometimes you will be around someone who you can learn and grow from. Tell your story when it feels safe and tell it loud and proud!
Do you have any facts about having cancer in your 20s and 30s that we’ve missed?