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Should I Go To My Class Reunion As A YA Cancer Survivor

I learned quickly when dealing with the question “Should I go to my class reunion?” that this is a question as old as time.  Here I thought that I was alone in contemplating if I would have anything in common with all of these people who I happened to share a building with for 4 years, 10 years ago.  I definitely learned I was wrong!

Facing the world as a YA Cancer Survivor (YA = young adult…just in case) is not the easiest thing to do.  From hair loss to puffy faces to anxiety, to major changes in energy levels and outward appearance, the outside world can quickly become a frightening place when dealing with cancer as a young adult.  Facing a 10 year high school reunion is also something not for the faint at heart.  I asked myself over and over, “Should I go to my class reunion?”  The more I told people that I was deciding to go, the more varied of reactions I got.

   Wow, you are braver than I am!

   Oh, you will have such a great time!  You’ll see that people haven’t changed a bit!

   Oh, you will have such a great time!  You’ll see that people have changed so much!

   I don’t think I could spend a night chatting superficially to people after all I have been through. (speaking with YA cancer in mind)

I was hesitant to say the least about going.  I even voiced some of those concerns to people at the reunion…though usually after talking about a few other things first 🙂  You know what I discovered from almost everyone I spoke to?  That they had been nervous too!  Some of my classmates have experienced the general go to college, find a spouse, get a job, have kids kind of story but others have faced serious life obstacles.  From losing parents to losing siblings, car accidents to deceased classmates, some of these people could really relate on a deeper level with what it is to experience something very profound at such a young age.

Overall I had a great time.  I saw some people that I have kept in pretty good contact with and others that I haven’t spoken to since graduation.  I got to speak just a little bit more with a wonderful woman who reached out to me a few months ago about helping with some PR for Lacuna Loft.  One of the best parts though?  Having classmates who have experienced loss and challenges, and with whom I can barely remember conversing in high school, come up and initiate really lovely and heart felt conversations about where we both are in life right now.  I was so pleasantly surprised about how much many of us have in common now, despite how much we may have been different in high school.

Cancer is such a disconnecting experience and learning how much we are all still connected was a really worthwhile experience 🙂