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Four Cancer Survivors Review "Chasing Life" | Ep. 10

August 13th, 2014 |
Young Adult Cancer

by TeamIHadCancer | Survivor: Breast Cancer    Connect


Season 1 of "Chasing Life" on ABC Family has come to an end, and the main character April has just started her treatment. See what these four cancer survivors have to say about Season 1 Episode 10, "Finding Chemo."

The season one finale of Chasing Life starts to depict the reality of what it's like to go through cancer treatment. Your whole life is put on hold for whatever time you may be in and out of the hospital and a lot of the time it is solely dedicated to getting better and fighting the disease - everything else has to wait. April has finally checked into the hospital, where she will be spending the next month. She is not allowed to leave and is confined to hospital meals as well.

The first few days seem to be going well- her family has gathered to support her and Dominic has even returned from his trip abroad to be with her. But after the first few days, April begins to feel the side effects of the treatment. She has lost her appetite, is constantly nauseous, has low energy, and even begins to have hallucinations. In one of the hallucinations, she's speaking to her father and the conversation that they have freaks her out and causes her to break free and leave the hospital.

In her attempt to flee, April makes a call to Leo for help, but instead of helping her escape, he does the exact opposite. He convinces April to stay, and tells her that this is only a bump in the road and she has her whole future ahead of her. He tells her that he knew she had the will and desire to beat her disease the second he found out she was sick.

The finale ends with a message from Leo saying he has something important to tell April. We are also left with many questions - how April handle the rest of her treatment? Who could be a possible match if she needs a bone marrow transplant? And so much more.

But we must remain patient and see what next season of Chasing Life has in store for not only us but also April.

We asked four cancer survivors to weigh in on the season finale of Chasing Life.

Rose: 28, Stage 4 Acute Lymphoblastic Lymphoma Survivor

Season one of "Chasing Life" has wrapped up, leaving us with some signs of hope for April and Leo's future hanging in the balance! Throughout the season, there have been several events that stirred my emotions and reminded me of my own cancer experience. Between bursts of juicy drama there were bone marrow draws and fertility treatments, but none of these affected me as much as when April felt trapped by chemotherapy treatment.

I caught myself holding my breath when April broke down in the chapel and described chemotherapy as "suffocating." I remember that desire to run away so clearly during my week-long chemotherapy infusions. Even with friends and family by her side and decorations filling her hospital room, April felt trapped, forced to watch frightening chemicals drip into her veins. More than any other events in the show thus far, I can relate to this experience. Three years later, I can still easily recall the smell of stale hospital air and the distaste I developed for the food. Like April, I would stare out the hospital windows and feel frustrated that the world kept spinning around me while I was trapped in a tiny, sterile room barely well enough to walk laps around the unit.

Also like April, I remember thinking: "I don't want this to be the end of my life. I don't want this to be my final experience." During treatment, I once told my husband, "If I relapse, I will never do chemo again."

Today, that last thought seems premature. If my ever cancer returns I believe I would absolutely go through chemotherapy again. But when you're stuck in a hospital room night after night it's hard to believe the suffering is worth it, because you have no idea what life will be like afterwards. But as the show points out, April's life is about to get so much richer as a cancer survivor.

That's what I loved most about this episode - how it ends with hope and the promise of a bright future for April. Because for so many if us cancer survivors, life develops new meaning after cancer, and that makes all the challenges of treatment worth it.

Nick: 21, Stage 1 Testicular Cancer Survivor
Connect with Nick

I am happy that April has finally started treatment, it feels almost as if a burden has been lifted off my shoulders. The support April receives from all of her family and friends is truly tremendous. Being in a hospital for more than just a few days can be extremely scary and also nerve wracking. The feelings of not wanting to be trapped are normal for April to be having. But she needs to realize that being for trapped for one month now trying to get better is much better than being trapped for the rest of her life not knowing when her disease will take her life.

I'm happy that Leo was able to diffuse April's panic attack and help her realize that she needs to be in the hospital in order to get better . She has her whole future ahead of her once she beats this disease and that now is the only time to fight for that future. I am left with many questions and am definitely looking forward to season 2.

Melissa: 28, Acute Myeloid Leukemia Survivor
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I had a bit of a hard time watching the final episode of the season, though it was nice to see some loose ends tied up. I was glad to see April FINALLY in treatment, but it hit so close to home. They did a pretty good job capturing April's life in the hospital, though at times it can be more difficult than perceived. I can understand the feeling of wanting to leave the hospital, but I didn't like April's escape.

I liked that this episode addressed Brenna not being a bone marrow match for April as my sibling was not for me as well. I did not need a bone marrow transplant and I hope April doesn't either. It was great to see her support system in full swing throughout the episode. It will be interesting to see how the writers handle April's hair loss and other side effects. I think future seasons will have to carefully address how April handles things as life can be even more difficult emotionally in the months following the start of treatment.

Marilyn: 48, Stage 3a Breast Cancer Survivor
Connect with Marilyn

I'm so glad April finally started her treatment!!!! I know it seems like a month in the hospital is a long time and you may miss out on some things. But April will have the rest of her life to do things if she gets her treatment and the cancer is irradiated from her body. Chemo was very tough on me. I ended up in the emergency room each week after I had my first fondue treatments of chemo. But I knew with each treatment I was getting closer to the end. With my next four treatments (of another chemo drug) I had consistent bone pain. Some days it was so bad I wanted to give up, but I knew I couldn't. I have too much to live for.

I totally understand why April called Leo and not Dominick. When you have someone that has gone through the same thing you have, you have an immediate connection, you understand exactly what they are feeling like. You don't have to explain why you feel a certain way. I know Dominick said "I want to be the person you can go to" but it's not the same. My family was so supportive and always there for me but when I can talk with someone who has had cancer, it's just so different.

Did you enjoy the first season of Chasing Life? What do you think will happen to Leo?


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