I made it – 30 posts in 30 days!
The last day of NaBloPoMo is a sentimental one, as it falls on my cancer-verary. This year marks 14 years of being cancer free. I’ve never been more reminded of my survivor status than in my new job, where I’m marketing to young survivors who want to build a family. My job hits so close to home, it’s pretty awesome.
Next year is the big 15-year cancer-versary. To celebrate that AND my birthday, I’ll be traveling for work and participating in Cancercon. My company will have a booth where young survivors can stop by and chat with us about starting a family as a survivor, what their options are and how the whole process works. But, more than that, I believe I’ll actually be speaking on a panel about my survivorship, and growing my family through surrogacy.
Speaking to a crowd is not new to me, I did it so often in my last job. But speaking about cancer, that IS new to me. It’s not that I don’t like talking about it, I just don’t usually find myself in a situation where cancer is the topic. Also, not many people knew I was a cancer survivor. Not that I was hiding it, but if they didn’t know me when I HAD cancer, it felt like a weird thing to bring up out of the blue.
I spoke about cancer and survivorship one other time, about a year after my diagnosis. My oncologist had asked me to come and speak at a women’s cancer conference at Dana Farber Cancer Institute (where I was treated).
There were about 100 women in attendance. Mr. KK came with me as moral support (he was definitely a minority in that room!). We took a seat at a table where 5 other women – in different stages of cancer and survivorship – were sitting.
One woman struck up a conversation with me. “You’re awfully young to be here,” she told me.
And I was. I was diagnosed at age 30, just 8 months shy of my wedding.
I just smiled at her. I knew I was young. But cancer doesn’t discriminate against age.
“What type of treatment are you going through?” another woman asked me.
“No treatment,” I told her. “I opted for surgery.”
When presented with my choices for treatment, I just wanted the cancer OUT. I chose surgery.
“Well, you’re lucky,” she said, touching her scarved head. Lucky? I’m 30 years old speaking at a cancer conference, I thought.
As if reading my thoughts the woman next to me spoke up. “No, being lucky would mean not even being here in this room.” She gave me a slight nod, survivor to survivor.
That day, I told my story with a shaky voice. It was all still so new at the time, and I’m not sure I had processed it all. Next year, though, I’m ready. To share my story, how surrogacy changed our lives for ever, and reflect on what I would do differently. I’m ready for you, Cancercon!
Well, this is the end of NaBloPoMo. Thank you for reading along. I won’t make empty promises that I’ll continue to post often because, let’s face it, that never happens.
Instead, I’ll leave you with some of my favorite NaBloPoMo posts from past years: