Four Cancer Survivors Review "Chasing Life" | Ep. 6
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.
In the sixth episode of "Chasing Life", April starts to confess some of her fears - including losing her hair, her appetite and her energy- but still doesn't seem to be taking much action. She has yet to start treatment and after weeks of watching this, the viewer's frustrations at her disregard for her health continues to grow. She also hasn't told her boyfriend about her diagnosis, likely out of fear on how he will take the news. Although she has not told Dominic, she has continued to open up to Leo. Their relationship grew even more this week, which resulted in a kiss that was unfortunately soon followed by news that he is terminal.
This episode also focused on April's mom and shed light on the difficulties for parents of a cancer patient. However, April's mom is going a bit overboard - getting rid of her food and belongings without warning as well as being pushy and withholding important information from her daughter.
At this point the season, each episode has ended with us feeling a bit dissatisfied with April's choices. We continue to wait for her cancer journey to really begin and treatment to start - and for a realistic view of young adult cancer to be depicted.
We asked four cancer survivors to weigh in on the events of this week's episode to see if they agree.
Melissa: 28, Acute Myeloid Leukemia Survivor
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This week's episode finally felt real and had some very important moments, but I still need April to start treatment. When April was talking about having to worry about everyone else handling her diagnosis, it made me recall having to console other people who were upset over my news. When she was at the support group, April was talking about the fear of losing her hair and not feeling good about herself. Everyone who loses his or her hair from chemotherapy has felt this way.
I liked that April let her mother come to her doctor's appointment, but her mother drove me crazy when she was looking at the internet for information on AML. So many people get incorrect information this way, especially since every case is unique. When April said she would rather learn the details as they come up, I could totally relate. When I first got diagnosed, all I could handle was the day to day. It was the only way to make it through the first few weeks.
I was hoping that Leo's seizure and hospitalization would make April take action and start treatment. Though she has decided to delay to see a fertility doctor, I am glad she is at least doing something for herself. I hope that the discussion of side effects and the fears that cancer patients have will help educate viewers.
Rose: 28, Stage 4 Acute Lymphoblastic Lymphoma Survivor
In the latest episode of "Chasing Life," April is confronted by the fact that cancer changes your future - specifically her ability to have biological children.
Certain side effects, like infertility, can be particularly painful to cancer survivors to face because they can't be cured. Today, I am living cancer-free, but I don't know if I will be able to get pregnant naturally. While cancer treatment was awful, at least there was a treatment. With fertility, I often feel helpless. The outcome is not only out of my control, but it is life-long.
April's line "Every day I have to deal with losing something else," struck me, personally. During and after treatment, there have been times when I must face a side effect of my disease and it feels like something has been taken from me. I'm never going to have the "normal" pregnancy experience. My brain can't seem to remember information the way it used to. Neuropathy sometimes paralyzes my feet. I may never trust my body the way I used to.
I appreciate that "Chasing Life" addressed this issue because it is a challenge all cancer survivors face, especially young adults who are in the chapter of life when they are planning for big dreams for the future.
Nick: 21, Stage 1 Testicular Cancer Survivor
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As the show progresses I keep anticipating the next episode hoping something will happen that will draw me back in. I feel as though the show is starting to escape reality and my interest in the show dwindles more and more as these unrealistic events occur. All episode long I felt myself getting more and more upset with April and her actions. I keep repeating the same things over and over in my head, "Tell Dominic already!" or "Start your treatment!".
I am the opposite of April, and when I was first diagnosed, I wanted to know right away what was going to happen and what needed to be done. I didn't want to be left in the dark about anything. I knew April's lack of interest would come back to haunt her and now she wants to delay her treatment more. I hope before making this decision she consults her new doctor and gets her opinion of the situation. Waiting any longer could cause even more damage to April's body.
Marilyn: 48, Stage 3a Breast Cancer Survivor
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I'm so happy that Leo was able to get April to lighten up a bit. I do like his attitude "I'm going to die anyway, so just live everyday as if it was your last". I don't think you should go out and do the most dangerous thing you can, but yeah, live a little. I have learned to enjoy a lot more of the simple things and every day things, not being so focused on what the future might hold. Cherish each day and take it for what it is.
When Brenna opened up to her friend and tells her how she was really feeling I was so relieved. Cancer affects the whole family, not just the person who has it. Each member of the family needs someone they can tell everything to, exactly how they are feeling. Don't keep things bottled up inside, cause one day it will all spill out, and not necessarily how you want it to. So many people were/are asking me how I am feeling. Sometimes I just say fine so I don't have to tell them how I really feel. There are a lot of people who do care how I am actually feeling, but I think there are those who don't really want to hear the true answer and all the details. They just want to know that you are doing well. We use the phrase "how are you doing" too loosely and often don't really want to know all the details.
What are your thoughts on ABC Family's new series, "Chasing Life," so far?