As soon as you are diagnosed with cancer, life gets divided into two "eras": before cancer (aka BC) and life after diagnosis (aka AD). The three words "you have cancer" are what delineate BC from AD, and once we cross over, there is no going back. Life before cancer begins to feel like a distant memory consumed by our over-analyzing and asking questions like "How did I not notice those symptoms?"
and "When did it start growing?"
The reality is that the "hows" and the "whens" do not matter. We are here now, living a life after diagnosis. At the beginning, it feels like a cold, dark, scary and entirely unknown place for most of us. But it doesn't have to stay that way.
The IHC community has shown us that talking about
life after diagnosis is the best way to in fact handle life AD. There is power in numbers, and there is power in talking about the issues that only other fighters and survivors can truly understand (ie: Chemo brain. YES. IT IS REAL
There are still so many more things to talk about, so we wanted to get the conversation going. That's why we started our #LifeAfterDiagnosis campaign. Our hope is that anyone who has been in this situation will share what it's really like, in an effort to shine a light on the dark path so we can see where we are going with a bit more clarity - at least a few steps ahead. Sure, parts of it may suck and the realities can be hard to swallow, but just knowing that someone else is in this with us, can make a huge difference. The content we've received so far has been awesome - from the photos (see below), to the personal blog posts ( It has been 2990 days since I first heard ‘you have cancer’
), and especially the tweetchat that we held earlier this week, where we gave some airtime to a range of issues that affect us on an individual and communal basis. The conversation was awesome.
It was a beautiful reminder of how organic our community is, how important our voices are collectively, and the power of true empathy.
We know not everyone is on twitter or able to participate, so we compiled some of the most impactful moments into this blog post, with hopes that we can continue all of these conversations, and figure out how to handle life after diagnosis, together.
1. It's normal to jump to the worst conclusion first.
2. Your relationships may change. Some people may run to you, while others run away.
3. Cancer is an emotional rollercoaster. Anxiety and PTSD may hop on for the ride....
4....and self confidence issues may pop up, too.
5. Not to mention survivor's guilt.
6. And the time we spend worrying about other people.
7. But...it is possible to move beyond cancer and truly live, in spite of it.
8. Because there really is LIFE after diagnosis.
This was just the beginning of the conversation and a snapshot of the important points that were made. Let's keep it going. Click here to view the full transcript of the #LifeAfterDiagnosis tweetchat.
and please continue to send in your #LifeAfterDiagnosis photos via social media or directly to firstname.lastname@example.org.
What does your life after diagnosis look like?