July 9th, 2014
| Survivor: Breast Cancer
Have you tuned into the new ABC Series, "Chasing Life"? We asked cancer survivors to weigh in on the way the main character has navigated the cancer journey so far.
The fifth episode of "Chasing Life" really hits home for anyone that has ever had to reveal their cancer diagnosis to friends and family. Reactions to dealing with this can range from we're all in it together to someone wanting to take complete control. This exact situation, which April has been avoiding ever since she was diagnosed, can no longer be ignored. She finally breaks the news to her family about her cancer and although there are tears, they do not last long. April's mom wants to immediately take control of the situation and this overwhelms April. Not ready to face the full reality of her situation April leaves the house in tears. She ends up at her boyfriend's apartment who still does not know of her cancer. For April this is an escape from reality, and a safe place where she can avoid her cancer.
For those that can relate to April and this episode we all know there were times when hiding from everything including your cancer would have made things SO much easier. Unfortunately the reality of that situation can only last so long. Whether it's a day, a week or even months later, the time will come where we have to confront our fears and take challenges head on. It's the only way we can leave the past behind and start paving the road towards a new future, regardless of how scary that future and the unknown might be. As April's father advises her, "Life is always going to throw you curve balls, all you can do is keep swinging".
Four cancer survivors weigh in on Episode 5 of Chasing Life.
Melissa: 28, Acute Myeloid Leukemia Survivor
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I was very frustrated with April again at the beginning of this week's episode. How could she faint and still not take her diagnosis seriously? She needs treatment now! When I was diagnosed, I was admitted to the hospital with no choice but to become an inpatient and start treatment.
Later in the episode, the defining moment happens when April tells her mom and family about her Leukemia. Even though it wasn't the ideal way for her to tell them, I feel more confident about what is going to happen now that her whole family knows. I had a feeling that April would be diagnosed with AML making this show hit even closer to home and harder for me to watch. The first thing that struck me was the use of statistics and how that may effect viewers. I do hope they address how AML survival rates haven't improved in the ways a lot of other cancers have seen and hopefully this will bring some much needed attention to the disease.
Nick: 21, Stage 1 Testicular Cancer Survivor
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The most important part of this episode to me was when April's family cornered her after coming home from work. She finally tells her family of her diagnosis and right away we see tears. My situation of having my parents finding out about my diagnosis was very different but the emotions were the same. I was changing out of a hospital gown after just having an ultrasound when the doctor found my parents, who were waiting for me. He told them the results first and when I walked out I immediately saw both my parents in tears. I was shocked because that was the first time I could remember my father crying and without anyone saying anything I knew what it was. Fighting through the tears that I too began to shed and before the doctor could officially tell me the results I asked, "What's next?"
Again this is where April and I differ, I knew nothing good could come from waiting so I wanted to get everything started right away. At that moment I didn't care about college, all I wanted was to get this disease out of my body. So it was hard for me to watch April run out of her house when her mother was talking about admitting her into the hospital as early as that same night. I hope April comes around and starts swinging at those "curve balls" being thrown her way.
Stacey: 33, Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia Survivor
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I think April's reaction to run out after her diagnosis was one of the more realistic parts of this show so far. She's been in denial all along; it's an overwhelming moment, on top of having just shared the news with her family. She's been focusing on the issues with her dad because even though it's devastating, it's something she has control over. One of the most terrifying things is the loss of control over your body and your life in general. You turn to the things that are normal, like when you're a reporter and you find a "story" (her other sister), you start digging. You run away to see your boyfriend, who doesn't know you're sick and isn't going to bring it up. We may not agree that it's the best decision, but it's one of her actions I can relate to the most.
I like that they focused some of the episode on her sister, and hope they continue to show how this will affect the family as a whole, now that they all know.
Laura: 32, Metastatic Melanoma Fighter
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This is when time is of the essence, when you need to get into treatment ASAP. But April is once again overwhelmed about her Mom and Uncle's talk of her checking into the hospital, that she runs out of the situation, literally. This is where April and I differ greatly. When there is a threat to my health, I meet it head on, no matter how scary it may be. April is still very overwhelmed and scared, which is understandable. It is just different than how I would handle these situations.
This episode shows that life does indeed go on during cancer, but that cancer still does not go away unless you fight it. I hope that April will open up more as she goes through her treatment towards her survivorship.
What are your thoughts on ABC Family's new series, "Chasing Life," so far?
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