I was diagnosed with Testicular Cancer in 2011 at the age of 33, and thought my life was over. This is my story of life as a young adult cancer survivor.
At 7 years out, I'm very lucky and blessed that I don't really have to think about cancer too much anymore. There's no reason that I have to, and I don't. Testicular Cancer is a cancer that you fight like hell and either beat completely within a few months or a year, or it very quickly takes you with it, and I’m still here. My cancer fight seems like ancient history at this point - a tiny spec in the rear view mirror, and life has moved on.
The burden of cancer might not ever go away, but you can turn it into a force for good in your life and your world. I live the rich, full, and complete life that I do because of the burden of cancer that drives me. I would not have my life any other way today.
As a newly minted 40 year old young adult cancer survivor, I've spent much of my 30's heavily engaged with testicular cancer advocacy, but there's other things I've aspired to do in my arc through life. If my life before cancer was my first act, and my life after cancer from the ages of 33 to 39 has been a second, then let this new decade of my 40's become my third. A new era in my life begins today.
I have 4 draft Facebook page posts, and a half dozen draft blogs on my website just trying to capture all of the thoughts running through my head, and I've finally gotten a handle on what's been going on with this crazy Scorpio mind of mine, as I approach 40 as a young adult cancer survivor. As I approach this huge milestone, I'm remembering all of those times that I was so spooked and convinced that this day would never come and missing out on so many life experiences, but at the same time I'm also remembering how I made it through those times, how I overcame it all, and all of the amazing people that I found or who found me along the way that were able to help me in this journey, and such deep love and gratitude that I feel for so many.
A year ago today. :( Never in a million years when I joined the Testicular Cancer Awareness Foundation back in 2014 as a blogger at first, did I ever think that this young man Jordan Jones, the son of TCAF's founder, Kim Jones, would eventually lose his life like this to a late recurrence of the disease after so long. It's just something that's been burned into me now, how precious life really is, and how uncertain everything is. Never waste a day or a moment, and make each one count for something. We're only here for a very short time.
Six years after my cancer fight, I still GRIEVE the loss of my life as I once knew it sometimes, thinking that everything would always be okay, that my family would always be healthy, and friends that I truly love and care about will always be around. I want to believe that, but know it's just now how things work. Why do I get so sappy and emotional? Because I love you, and I want you to know that now, today, because I know that you might not be around tomorrow, or maybe I'm the one that might not be around.
One day I was reading my friend's website, and my jaw hit the floor when I read a post about grief. It was the first time I'd ever seen a "grief chart." I had no idea there even was such a thing, and I could easily identify myself at every single step of this big curve as a cancer survivor. I had been writing and sharing in my cancer journey for a few years at this point, and it had never occurred to me even once that this entire process and all that I was going through, was all really one massive grief curve.
After living in our crammed townhome for 10 years, we finally upgraded to a single family home with a nice sized yard last year, and got a dog to go along with it. It's been a pretty big transition for all of us to become "dog people" and we're still getting there, but Puffles has been awesome and the perfect dog for us. Puffles was born on October 10th, 2017, and we picked him up and brought him home on December 5th.
You own everything that you’ve ever faced and been through, and the only person that’s responsible for your happiness is you.
Who knew that one day I would get so pissed off at lawn freaking mower manufacturers, that I would feel the need to sound off about all of the shenanigans and totally deceptive and misleading marketing practices going on in the industry. Really? You can’t just walk into a store to look at lawn mowers without being fed a bunch of BS? Good grief!
Turning 40 has been a lot harder than I ever expected, and there's a lot of things in my life that I've still been struggling to come to terms with, including my cancer history. Braving the Wilderness has helped me to feel more at peace and at ease with much of this, rather than feeling the various forms of inner struggle that could have been keeping more than a few therapists busy instead.
Last year we were too exhausted from moving to enjoy any fireworks, but this year we had a great time! The city fireworks where we live our right in the park in our neighborhood, so we can just walk about a mile for a really nice show.
It only took a few months due to all of the rain, but we finally managed to have our annual summer kickoff color party on July 4th, 2018!
Well, it was a little past peak, but the annual DC Cherry Blossom Festival was actually today, and the weather was drop dead gorgeous also, so we dragged our butts out of bed at 6:30am and were on the road by 7:00am sharp to get down into town to take it all in!
Here in the Washington, D.C. area, we only get an air show every other year at Andrews Air Force Base (Joint Base Andrews) due to DoD budget cuts, which makes the biennial Andrews Air Show a must-see event. This year I went with just my son, and it was an amazing day!
This website is about my 5 month fight against testicular cancer, and my 5 year journey back to life in the survivorship years that followed. From aggressive surveillance schedules, recurrence scares and scanxiety, experiencing the loss of friends and having survivors guilt, periods of depression and post-traumatic stress, and the many physical and emotional struggles that I've faced, to finally thriving today.
This is my journey, these are my stories, this is how I live,
and all that I've learned along the way.