June 29th, 2018
| Survivor: Acute Myeloid Leukemia
‘You're too young for cancer' - How does hearing this expression make you feel?
Walking into the day care for the first or the 50th time is always the same experience. The nervousness as you approach, that certain chemical smell mixed with high grade cleaner that has the capability of nuking a small country, those welcoming smiles and hugs from the nurses…then comes the stares. The elephant in the room, it appears, is you. Amongst all the 50+ year olds you grace the hospital wards with your comparatively ‘baby faced’ looks and youthful charm... Hey guys, I’m here for the same reason!
I guess you do hear the phrase from time to time in its various forms: “How did you get unlucky” “You’re 20 something?” etc etc into the infinite. You’d like to say, “You’re damn right I’m too young” OR the borderline salty response of “Wanna swap?” In the end, getting cancer at any age sucks. Knowing that something you potentially had no control over has enough power to flip your entire life around in an instant is scary. It doesn’t really care who you are, what you are and what you’ve currently got going on with your life… It’s disgustingly indiscriminate. With this in mind, let’s do the maths. According to cancer.org; you have a 1 in 3 chance of developing cancer sometime in your lifetime. That’s huge! No matter who you are, you will know of someone who has had cancer in your immediate circles (Or even yourself). This begs the question; is being “Too young for cancer” necessarily a bad thing?
You must be this tall to ride the ride
It’s no secret that everyone’s ride is different. No one is the same as the other; be it physically, mentally, what kind of drugs they’re on, previous medical history etc. Another one of these factors is age. Life has a funny way of slowly breaking down a body. With age, your body slowly succumbs to this ‘life’ Thing. Pretty much immediately after your teenage years your vision and hearing abilities decline, around your mid 20’s your cognitive function begins its slow descent into retirement, around the age of 50 most people experience some form of hair loss. Even gravity, the very thing that keeps you on this planet, will force your spine to collapse up to 10cm in your lifetime. Life it seems, is a very dangerous thing to take part it in. When push comes to shove, being young means you’re less likely to have previous ‘issues’ and thus (at least physically) you’d be able to tackle what an older person would have no hope to make it through (Be it particular chemo, radiation or drugs). With more treatment options available to an otherwise ‘Well’ and ‘Fit’ person you would definitely have a better chance of coming up on top.
Carpe Diem on that coaster
As tragic as it sounds; the worst experiences often bring out the best in people. Having something this life altering gives you a chance to take a step back and appreciate the small things; to admire the sky, to hug the life out of your loved ones, to find joy in life’s little mishaps. You’re young! You now have the rest of your life to carpe diem that thing to the ground! Go out, be brave and be just that bit silly. You’ve been given a second chance so early on, time to make the most of it.
‘You're too young for cancer' Maybe I am, but that’s not a bad thing!
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