Let's Talk About Cancer! Yeah, That Guy!
I had just turned 30. I was training for the New York City Marathon. I was in good shape, I didn’t drink or smoke. I was a vegetarian. In all respects I was the picture of perfect health. Then I got cancer.
You know that saying, “You could get hit by a bus and die instantly?” Sure, you watch where you’re walking, but cancer is a lot like that bus hurtling down the street. You don’t see it coming until it hits you.
I was diagnosed with testicular cancer. One emergency surgery to remove the tumor, months of chemotherapy to make sure the cancer stays away, tons of post-treatment tests to make sure I don’t get a new kind of cancer, and a lot of therapy to deal with the trauma of possibly dying is how I’m able to be here writing for SparkLife (which I love). I was lucky, I caught mine early, but many are not.
There are 72,000 new cases of cancer diagnosed in young adults between the ages of 15 and 39 every year. That’s one young adult every eight minutes. That’s many of you reading this.
The great news is that so many cancers are treatable, if detected early. It’s important to know how to check for the warning signs of cancer. Organizations like LIVESTRONG, Stupid Cancer, and the American Cancer Society all offer great resources for young people to get information, help and resources. Except for the one resource I needed help with most: dating. Nobody likes to be asked on a date, “Does this taste funny to you or is it just my chemo?”
The most important thing to do is to talk about it. So many young people don’t talk about a pain they have or a bump they’re worried about out of embarrassment. Guess what? I lost a testicle, do you think I’m embarrassed to talk about my genitals? I’ve turned it into a career!
Have you had cancer? Do you know someone that has? How has it affected you? If you’re comfortable, share your story in the comments of this post. Or ask me a question. It’s important to have a dialogue.