Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Age makes a huge difference

At both my cancer diagnosis, I was told 'you are definitely too young to have this type of cancer'. Gee thanks. Was that supposed to make me feel better? Because it didn't.

At my second diagnosis, I joined a support group for newly diagnosed patients which included a 28 year old. Then there was me and then everyone else was a decade or two older. I could relate to the 28 year old's concerns more than some of the older women. We still remain tight as a group but the youngest of us, now nearly 35, is thinking about starting a family, if at all still possible. She has a completely different goal than the rest of us.

I know a 22 year old going through treatment for liver cancer and she had surgical drains that were big and nasty for weeks and couldn't wear the fun clothes she wanted. She wants to have fun with her friends and stop going to the hospital. I can sympathize. Its summer and time to have fun, not wear baggy clothes to hide drains.

When I was 19 and dealing with thyroid cancer, I didn't want to stay home as my friends went out. I also didn't want to have to explain the scar across my neck to everyone - the scar that hadn't been there at the end of my freshman year but was newly done and bright red across my neck. Turtle necks in the summer time were not and never will be a fashion statement.

Don't call young people with cancer superficial if we thought of fashion first and then going out with our friends. We were just trying to be ourselves and deal with what is important in our lives. Dating is way more important to a 20 year old than it is to most 50 year olds. Scars and drains put a damper on going to the beach and baring almost all. The idea of getting naked with someone which showing all your surgical scars can make you think twice or three times.. That can put another damper on your dating life.

I have always been a fan of Stupidcancer.org (and wish it had been around decades before). I read this article yesterday about how it got started and the support groups for young adults which have been meeting in CT for the past six years. It illustrates the different needs between young and older adults with cancer. If you are under 40 and dealing with cancer, get to one of Stupid Cancer's events and meet people who can relate.

1 comment:

Tina George said...

Hi Caroline it sad to hear that but always feel encouraged, dont be worried and do not fall back, cherish all momements with joy