Sunday, March 31, 2013


I just did some housecleaning to the blog, which was much needed and long overdue. I also did some updating that I should have done a long, long time ago. In case you missed it, I was in Self Magazine in October! I added a link to the online version on the Press page (above).

In mid-September I got a facebook message from a friend from high school, saying that she'd seen the article and me in it, and I should be proud. I was interviewed at the end of the summer and I didn't know what they'd published because I did a fairly lengthy email interview with a reporter and provided a substantial amount of information. I was honest and thorough in answering all their questions. When I got the message, I called Barnes & Noble  right away to see if they'd gotten the magazine in. They had, so I drove there and bought a bunch of copies. So why didn't I want to share this when it happened? Go read the quote. I said all the things they published, but I wasn't sure what it said about me. Sure, it was all true, but it still made me cringe to read what I'd shared about the ugly emotional part of cancer. The part where I felt abandoned and wasn't at all strong or brave, manifesting all the emotions I felt but couldn't put into words through tears shed while driving. Sure, the second half of what was published was the uplifting side where I overcame it and embraced health in the form of running, biking, and peace with my body. But back in October, this was overshadowed by the first part and I was not entirely comfortable with what I had shared with the  entire population of women who read Self Magazine.

Not long after that, the thing showed up on Facebook and I was tagged. I fought back the urge to untag myself, because I didn't want to be the person who was ashamed of admitting to being emotionally vulnerable while having cancer (as I type that I realize how ridiculous it is that I felt that, and I am grateful I didn't untag it).

  I have made a point of being honest about the emotional damage cancer did to me, and now that I've come out on the other side, I hold my head high and admit that it was hard and ugly and took years of writing, running, and reflecting to recover from. I do this because I want other YA survivors who are feeling like I did to know that what they're experiencing is normal, and more importantly, it gets better.  But something about seeing that honesty next to my picture in a nationally published magazine caused a knee-jerk reaction of shame for me, and that is why I didn't share it in October. Like so many things, time has been my friend, and now I have the perspective to see that what I said was exactly what I wanted and needed to say, and there's no shame in telling the truth, even when it isn't pretty.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Back Again

It's been a while.

I just watched the first episode of season two of World of Jenks. I didn't watch the first season, but I caught a commercial for the second season and was intrigued by two of the three stories: A young adult with autism, and another with cancer. Interestingly, I recently came across Kaylin's blog, and then found out she's the young woman featured on the show. 

I'm not sure what I want to say in this post. I'm not even sure why I'm writing this, or why I haven't posted anything since October. Perhaps I feel an obligation to inspire, and I find that my life at present is so normal and typical of someone my age that there is nothing to say, at least nothing inspiring.

I am engaged. I am planning a wedding. I got a new job. I got an adorable dog. I am happy. I am normal. But I have moments when I think that maybe I'm not okay, that I have not dealt with all the residual effects of having cancer. I have these moments when I see other young adults fighting cancer, because it makes me feel something, and it reminds me of everything that happened and all the feelings I am not entirely sure I've dealt with completely, because I still feel this twisting, writhing tightness in my heart because I know what it feels like to be the only person in the room who's had cancer.

Then there's the other side of it. There are times I am in the company of people who don't know that I've got all these scars;they don't realize all the seasoned wisdom I've got in my back pocket; I have had more medical procedures than most people twice my age, I've known a lot of people who had a lot in common with me and they died. And there's no good way to bring that up. So I just keep letting these people think I'm typical, because there's no good way or reason to enlighten them as to why I know how a stem cell transplant works, or why hearing about an older friend with cancer who I've never met brings tears to my eyes.

I ran outside tonight. It's been a cold, windy, rainy few months, with not a lot of running, especially not outside. Tonight I thought a lot about all the things I just wrote about, and when I got home I had a notable running high that made me very glad I ran, and regretful that I haven't been doing much outdoor running in recent months. As things thaw out, I'm hopeful I will do more running, because tonight made me realize how much I've missed it.