From the time I was diagnosed, one of my goals has been to have there be some positive come out of this horrible experience. I hate cancer, and as much as I wish it wasn't a part of my life, there is nothing I can do to change the fact that it happened to me. It's in my life now, so I have to make the best of it. That is one of the reasons that has inspired me to keep up with the blog (although admittedly, the other reason is that I find the writing incredibly therapeutic and a wonderful way to get my positive thinking cap on).
As I have continued blogging, something wonderful happened, people started to notice, and it started giving comfort to others: a wonderful side effect to something that was originally intended as a mode of venting out my own experiences to clear my head. I am hearing from others who do not have this type of battle that I inspire them in their daily lives. I cannot tell you how amazing that is to me. Then, I hear from others in the "cancer club" how this has helped them, by either given them tips through their journey, validation of what they are feeling, or just hope to know they are not alone. And that is the true gem for me. If I can help others, and give them hope, then I am doing my job.
In an earlier post, I spoke about lighthouses and how they guide others to shore who are battling storms. That is still what I would love to be for people. Now, looking back, some truly awesome opportunities to do so have come my way. First there was the interview by the Cancer Support Community, which was a blessing as the group has been tremendously instrumental in my coping. Here is the link: http://tinyurl.com/6xy2azz Then comes word that Coping with Cancer Magazine is going to publish a story I wrote for them based on my one of my blog posts! Such a huge boost knowing that others in the club may find comfort in my words. Then there is the Readers' Digest contest I entered which is still going pretty well. If I am lucky, I will be published there. You can vote here for me every 24 hours via facebook. Here is the link to vote: http://tinyurl.com/6gqq4w9 But yesterday was a topper of all of these, when I was interviewed by ABC News and posted as a top story in their health section. here is the link: http://tinyurl.com/633sf2u
It's so unbelievable and exciting to think there are people out there who are touched by and are learning from my story. I have been blessed all along to have a wonderful group of family and friends who check my blog. I typically get anywhere from 80-120 readers in my world a day. Here's the awesome part: yesterday, thanks to the coverage, I received over 600 page hits! I have received comments from people who I haven't even met who are finding comfort in my words. That is a gift, a blessing! People are learning about this disease, and becoming more aware because of me. What a truly indescribable feeling...
One of the other survivors told me how brave it was of me to share this experience. I don't find it to be so, actually, I find that it gives me courage because it allows for feedback. I post what I am thinking and feeling and people have responded with such kindness and encouragement, how could I not? Please know that for every one who has commented, whether here or through facebook or a card in the mail, each comment is a blessing to me. A sign that I have touched someone's heart somewhere, perhaps gave them a chuckle, a smile or a tear. That is a gift. Sometimes, cancer makes you feel emotionally numb, but when something like this occurs, you feel alive, special, beautiful.
So here is my message one more time: Cancer can happen to young adults. It happens when you least expect it. Know your body, and ask questions. If something doesn't feel right, then talk to your doctor. Do not ignore it! And if God forbid, you do get a diagnosis, know that there is hope in treatment, and you can still get much joy out of life!