Before I was ready to start posting about my nearly 2-year journey with cancer, I thought about why? Why me? What would I write about?
Why would people read my story?
Because my story is just that – my story. It’s not one of an unusual cancer or rare disease. I wasn't on the precipice of death or undergoing experimental treatment. In some ways, pieces of my story are not terribly uncommon, though in other ways, of course it is.
It is not the extremity or rarity of my story that inspires me to share, and I don’t think anyone’s experience needs to be any of those things in order to be valid, and valuable. Each story (cancer or otherwise) is individual, meaningful, and full of potential gems.
I write as a way to heal and move energy, for myself and for others. I share as a reminder that our experiences are unique but not solitary, even when what you're going through feels painfully isolating.
Stories can help us connect and resonate with others. Within them are threads that can bring us closer, regardless of differences or inexperience -- the foundation of compassion and empathy.
Recently I met a male cancer survivor who had gone through a hormonal cancer treatment that induced a state of menopause. Having also gone through a medically-induced (but thank heavens, temporary) menopause, I could relate. He is man, I am in my early thirties; neither of us should be personally familiar with the woes of menopause, but we are.
We were able to relate to each other, but also to middle-aged women. To people who’ve had cancer. To people who’ve struggled. And sharing, with compassion and empathy, felt supportive and uplifting.
During a week when the country's been witness to things I can’t even give words to at the moment, it’s easy to feel the divisiveness. But in this exchange, a self-proclaimed macho man turned menopausal man, expressed his empathy for women and the real struggle of hormones. (Maybe we should put more men through menopause and see what happens, but I digress...) Because of this man's openness to share, it enhanced our connection rather than differences, our humanity rather than politics.
That's why I'm writing. In difficult times, when pain and struggles make us feel lonely, we all need reminders that we're not alone. Our connections and compassion makes us stronger, together.
In a conversation with another friend, he said to me, "it's fascinating how so much of what you're saying actually applies to my life. I didn't expect that considering the circumstances.”
Yes, (for now) much of my story is connected to cancer, but there are also themes anyone can relate to. Fear, stress, illness, injury, trauma, grief, challenges with ourselves and others, but also, hope, gratitude, love, support, forgiveness, healing, overcoming; all of which can be experienced with or without cancer.
My stories are about cancer, but they’re also about life.
I hope they serve as a reminder that we all need compassion and empathy in our lives, it’s just as important as life and death and joyful celebrations -- it's what lights up the darkness, and what we remember most when our hearts are filled with grief.
Some posts will be medical/technical, especially for those who are facing cancer or want to understand it better. Others are about challenges and discoveries, lessons and reflections, and probably some negative ranting and positive raving to keep it real. Some have questions at the end, and I would love to hear your thoughts. Please comment or message me directly if you prefer to share privately.
I hope you enjoy these insights into my life, but also about life, as seen from my perspective. Here it is. My story. May you find it funny, sad, helpful, informative, interesting, poignant, or whatever it is that you need right now.
Welcome. And thank you.