So this coming weekend in Denver, the largest yearly gathering of young-adult cancer patients, survivors, caregivers, and providers will commence. Started by Matthew Zachary, the rockstar founder of Stupid Cancer,CancerCon is the event where hundreds of people go to learn, to talk, and to share their experiences.
We are going to be one of the catalysts on that last part.
At table #41, we’re doing something we’ve never attempted before. In fact, as I write this, I’m wondering if we can even pull it off… which is actually the M.O. of my entire life.
When we started The Half Fund, our goal was to share stories about people’s experiences with cancer. But as we slowly grew, we recognized that some people either didn’t know how to tell their story, or didn’t think they had one worth sharing.
If I know one thing, I know that every person has a story worth telling. I also know that the more people tell their story about cancer, the less powerful cancer becomes.
But what story did we want to tell? The genesis? The ups? The downs? And how can you really tell a story in a very limited amount of time?
Enter: the Five Minute Blog.
We are inviting everyone at CancerCon to spend ten minutes with us. The first five will be to get to know us. After all, you wouldn’t tell your story to a stranger, would you?
The next five are all about you. We’re simply asking five questions. And to show you how easy it is to share your story, I’m going to answer them, myself.
Question 1: What is one thing that you wish you knew going in?
Answer: I wish I would have known the early warning signs of some of the chemotherapy drugs. For instance, I didn’t think to ask about constipation until day NINE of not being able to… well…y ou know. The pain and anguish it would have saved would have been helpful.
Question 2: What is one thing you figured out that all cancer patients need to know?
Answer: Befriend the banana. Bananas are healthy. Bananas are tasty. Bananas are also the only food known to man that taste the exact same way going down as they do… coming back up.
Question 3: What is one thing you would have done differently?
Answer: I would have taken more pictures. I never wanted to relive that part of my life, so there are only three pictures of me during my treatment. However, some of the most amazing things happened in my life during that time, and I have almost no tangible way to remember them.
Question 4: What is one thing that surprised you about cancer?
Answer: I was shocked by how much I laughed. Now, of course, it’s not easy to laugh when you’re vomiting up your toenails. However, life doesn’t end, or even fully change, when you get your diagnosis. There are days during treatment like any other days in your life…filled with boredom or adventure or laughter. It’s not only “okay” to laugh, but I would highly encourage it. It will help to get you through some horrendous times.
Question 5: What is one thing you would tell those close to you during treatment?
Answer: Just because I have cancer doesn’t mean I’m perfect. I am going to make mistakes and I’m going to take things out on all of you, and you need to call me on it when I do. If I start getting out of line, warn me. I’ve got my mind on other things and I will probably need your help to keep me on the straight and narrow.
Five minutes. Five questions. Limitless possibilities for answers, all of which will help future young adult cancer patients and those who love them.
See you in Denver!