I am feeling such a surge of positive energy! I don’t know where it came from, or why, but I am not one to ask questions. If I am feeling on top of the world, I’ll take it. Perhaps it is because I have been channeling the vibrant and brave energy of Zach Sobiech by listening to his song non-stop today:
I am in week three of the Transition to Survivorship group. I find that not a ton of what we cover fully applies to me. For example, this past week a representative from Livestrong came to teach us exercises to help with cording and lymphoma (common in breast cancer patients). She is operating under the assumption that we are all breast cancer survivors. This is true for most of the group, but not all of the group. I am happy to see that some members reaped the benefit of her presentation so it was not at all a waste of time. Part of being in a support group is supporting each other more than getting support for yourself.
What I have gained from this group is an ongoing opportunity to be introspective. We often talk about “what is my place in all of this?” more than “why me?” I am certain that every woman in this group has anger and resentment regarding this illness but generally I hear people saying “what can I do now?” in a productive sense.
I think about this constantly. I lived. My chances of dying were huge and apparent but I got to live. What now? This is two dimensional. One dimension is “what do I need now” and “what can I DO now”.
What I NEED:
What I need is the camaraderie of young cancer survivors. I need to talk to an interact with other young people that are facing/have faced this disease in one way or another. Today I took action. I joined the www.studpidcancer.org facebook page for the Northeastern chapter. Stupid Cancer is an organization that supports and advocates for young people with cancer. There was a regional conference in Boston that I missed but other than that I haven’t seen much activity in my area. So I took the plunge and decided to post on the facebook page. I simply asked if there were any other young people in the Providence/Boston area that are involved in Stupid Cancer events or meet ups. It turns out that I am not the only one because within a few hours I had nine responses! It seems as if I am not the only young survivor feeling a little isolated. I proposed that it would be fun to have a little meet up event like dinner/drinks/bowling/etc. The social aspect is really important often more than an intense support group. It’s just really nice to know that someone knows, REALLY knows, what you are going through. In the upcoming months I hope to organize something between Providence and Boston to get together some with young survivors for a fun evening. I will keep you posted if this comes to fruition.
What I can do:
Now that I am healthy, strong, and have my normal life back, I am in a position to give back. I expressed this to my group on Tuesday. I feel like because I was so well taken care of, I owe the world in some karmic way. Little by little in small ways I will repay the kindness of others by putting that energy back into the world to the best of my ability. Thanks to the Livestrong rep I learned that I can host a fundraising party with a local business. I have emailed the local RI chapter of the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition to propose an idea for a fundraising/awareness event in Providence. I do not want to reveal too many details until I have confirmation that I can represent this charity as a third party fundraising host but my fingers are crossed that it works out. Again, I will provide more details as they unfold. Even if I raise $100 it is a tiny bit more that we can use to find preventative care for women to screen for Ovarian Cancer.
Also- I want to publicly congratulate a dear friend of mine, Eli Dunn on his engagement to his beautiful girlfriend Pam. From the moment I met Pam I knew she was “the one” I wish all the happiness in the world to a wonderful couple.
Finally, I want to wish my Dad a very happy birthday! I will always be your little girl. Thank you for the love and support, always. Have the best birthday of your life!!!!
I love Zach’s song as I do his spirit!
Thank -you Jess for being our daughter in this lifetime. You are our gift and our joy and have made our lives so much sweeter for having experienced this journey with you. Your strength and positivity and desire to give back are inspirations to us all.
Thank you Jessy for being the great young lady that you are,you have a great future ahead of you.You were always a leader so it’s no no wonder that you wan’t to raise funds for a great cause,and organize young woman with like situations ,to bond into a larger support group.
I love you
You already give to others in so many ways, one of which is this blog. I love to read it, you are amazing and Mom is right, you are an inspiration to so many.