Happy late Thanksgiving! I've never been super into "let's say our thanks proclamations," which may signal that I am a self-absorbed OC brat, but! this year I'm a little more into it. I'm incredibly thankful for the family and friends who have made this cancerville journey so much easier. One of the worst things about cancer is feeling alone, so thanks for joining the fight, we're winning! And I'm so so thankful for badass medical researchers (thanks for keeping me alive) and for my friends pursuing medical school...great choice, I gave up med school after organic chemistry.
I wanted to do a blog post on the things I have learned since starting an intimate relationship with the big C. So I created a practical guide to cancerville for all of you.
BUT, let's not get ahead of ourselves. First I must tell you about 2 organizations that are rocking the lung cancer world and remind me that the future is only getting brighter.
Many of you joined me on Team Beastie Girl for the American Lung Association LUNG FORCE 5k. ASANTE SANA. Thank you! That was a beautiful turn out. Our team raised $4,460 and the walk as a whole raised over $40,000. And thanks OCC for your killer volunteer turn out. Amanda and Krisztina, love you ladies, you guys went way beyond the call of duty. The event had such fun, uplifting energy, which isn't always easy to create for cancer events. I walked away from the event just feeling really happy, which sounds so cheesy but I don't know how else to put it. It's also a plus that the money was going towards lung cancer research that helps keep peeps like me alive, so maybe that's a major plus.
Right after the walk, my jet-setting ass got to go straight to the airport to fly to SF for the Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation GALA. I knew it'd be a hell of an experience, but I didn't think it'd be as fun and booty-shaking as it was. I had the opportunity to be a part of their video. At first it was weird seeing my crying face on a jumbo screen, and then have people recognize me the rest of the night. But I am so so glad I did it. It brought me closer to other patients, doctors, researchers, and people who have the same priorities and dreams as me. Rella and I joined Emily (my fav LC mentor) and her family and friends at a table, aka the party table. The champagne and food were to die for and the dancing was a highlight.
Now I thought this part would be fun to write. Here are some of the things I've learned from my journey through cancerville.
1. Everyone's cancer journey is very different.
After meeting and communicating with different cancer survivors, it quickly became clear that everyone has a different experience. Case in point: me vs. Ronald (changed his/her name). Ronald decided to keep his/her LC diagnosis private, with the exception of a few people. I threw my face and story out there about 2ish weeks after the diagnosis. I kind of went full throttle and wrote a blog, #overload. One path is not better than the other, and I like that strangers can't tell I have cancer. But I just find it interesting that not only are the cancer cells between two different people entirely different (even with the same cancer), but their experiences, thoughts, reactions, etc. are so different.
2. Brings me to: sometimes pity is hard. Now don't apply this to others because I think I may be slightly abnormal when it comes to this, but sometimes the pity is the hardest part. Which makes no sense since it is a natural reaction from other people. But the other day I was happily walking into the grocery store to pick up a little pre-made tray of sushi, when I ran into an old family friend. After being told "I'm just so sorry...can't believe this happening...I'm praying so hard...ladedablah" I walked out feeling a little different. I have to appreciate her sweet intentions and I'm fairly certain I just have a really weird personality that doesn't respond well to "I'm just so so sorry." "It's okay madame, you didn't bring this upon me, and turns out I'm doing pretty well...I just really need to get my hands on this sushi."
3. The little things do matter.
Just because I have cancer and had to rethink life a little does not mean I shouldn't sweat the little things. I like sweating the little things. It reminds me that life goes on, that life is going on.
4. Which reminds me that I do want to hear your problems. I may have kind of a big problem, but that doesn't mean I don't want to hear about how you fell in the middle of Target and sprained your wrist.
5. I am in love with medical research.
6. There is a slight competition among the different cancers for mula. I find it interesting and weird.
Right now I'm in beautiful Denver, then go home for a day, then fly to Nyc for the Forbes Healthcare Summit with the wonderful Foundation Medicine, then visit Vermont, then back home, then Boston for Foundation Med again. Who says cancer can't have perks? So I'll tell you about those trips lata. kwa heri.