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A 24 year old survivor looking for chat, thoughts and advice.....

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Old 08-21-2002, 07:24 PM   #1
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Samta Clara, CA, USA
Posts: 3
chasbo HB User
Post A 24 year old survivor looking for chat, thoughts and advice.....

I'm a 24(to be 25 tomorrow) guy who just needs someone to relate to about surviving a very traumatic event that I'm currently fighting everyday. I'll just give a short run down of my situation:
I was diagnosed with a softball size tumor(desmoid) behind my left chest wall when I was 21, went through four biopsies(one that almost killed me from blood loss), and then went through a course of chemotherapy that was once a week for about a year.
Now that life is pretty much back to normal and not so much a blur of needles, doctors, MRIs, catscans, oncologists from around the nation and all that pleasant stuff, the reality of this is just settling in. I need someone to talk to that has gone through a similar experience, and although my friends try to talk to me as best as their understanding of my situation goes, it's not the same. I know someone out there knows what I'm talking about.
I know my 1st post here is on a somber note but I need to be able to not feel crazy anymore trying to explain to people who havn't been there.

Thanks for reading, take care all.


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Old 08-22-2002, 01:53 PM   #2
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Durham
Posts: 50
Fanatic HB User

Hi. I'm sorry to hear that you've had to go through all that, and at such a young age. I don't personally know what that was like, but my father has throat cancer, which has now spread to his spine. He is getting Chemo, but the doctors say they haven't caught it in time and the chemotherapy is really to lengthen the time he has left. I'm absolutely distraught, so I don't know how he feels, or how you must have felt. I know you probably don't want my problems dumped on you but I just want you to know I think you're admirably brave and you should feel proud of yourself. Take care.

-Human dreams...such fertile ground for the seeds of torment-
-Human dreams...such fertile ground for the seeds of torment-


Old 08-24-2002, 08:25 AM   #3
Senior Veteran
Join Date: Dec 2001
Posts: 801
Jaytor HB User

First off: Happy belated birthday.

I'm a parent whose child has gone through the ringer with leukemia followed by BMT [bone marrow transplant], GVHD plus all the other assorted complications and surprises these diseases and therapies include. So although I'm not the patient, I've acquired a good deal of vicarious experience.

Something that I've noticed since this all began is that in some cases, it's easier to maintain a positive outlook when you're in the midst of action - actually battling the cancer, etc. It's when the action stops that you can be taken offguard mentally and emotionally. In many ways it's as though the illness has taken over your life. And what the rest of the world calls 'normal' is foreign territory.

Advice such as 'try to forget about it, put it behind you and move on' is fine but unfortunately this advice rarely tells you the how of accomplishing this. Furthermore, such advice is pretty specious in that it pointedly ignores the fact that there are often at least a few daunting long-term side-effects, some of which may not have appeared but nonetheless require your continual vigilance. Plus, how or why would you excise 5 years of your life - these years happened, trying to forget about them won't change reality. So completely forgetting about this is not only absurd but also [medically] bad advice.

Finding a new normal takes effort. And, again, speaking from personal experience, it comes down to consciously and conscientiously reprogramming your life. However like all programming, you're going to encounter snags and glitches along the way.

Start your own behaviour modification program with something small, do-able/attainable and that you really enjoy. Preferably, this might be something new that you've always wanted to do but just never got around to. I'm not suggesting you dump your family and friends - just suggesting adding something new to your life.

Basically, listen to yourself. You've probably gotten very good at understanding your feelings i.e. what makes you feel comfortable, what's a waste of time, etc. In some respects this understanding and/or clarity of focus can be daunting to your contemporaries because this type of emotional demeanor usually comes in late middle age. Talk about confusing - on the one hand, you might be about 2 or 3 years behind your contemporaries in some personal and social experience while in other respects you've jumped ahead of them by about 30 years.

Just read the above - hope this isn't depressing you.

Old 08-24-2002, 02:17 PM   #4
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Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: MA
Posts: 3,582
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Hi Chasbo,
JayTor, as always, has given some excellent advice. I just wanted to add this: Have you gone to a cancer support group? There are some groups that are for cancer in general, and I found it very helpful. You're absolutely right, people who haven't been through this kind of life-altering experience just don't understand. They may mean well, but they just have no clue.

I don't know if there's one in your area, but there's an organization called The Wellness Community, and they run groups plus lectures, relaxation-type classes (like yoga and Tai Chi), etc. It's all free. I know they started in CA, but don't know if there's one near Santa Clara.

Also, you can often get the contact info for groups in your area through the American Cancer Society at 1-800-4-CANCER.

And of course, you can always post here, and us survivors will try to help, but it's probably even better if you can talk to other survivors fact-to-face.

Happy bleated birthday, and congratulations on making it through all that!


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