The old people at the cancer center always look at me funny.
"Why the hell are you here?" they seem to ask. And it it's a fair question. How the hell did I ever get cancer? I was 35 when diagnosed with a child not quite 2 years old.
In the waiting room, I'm always a third of the age of the other patients, many of whom stare off into into space watching Fox News on the wall. When they leave, they will go back home, encouraged by their doctors to take up gardening or something relaxing to make them happy.
After I received my treatment, I had to go back to work. And my work day would look like this:
Being a therapist while receiving chemotherapy, an ostomy bag, and radiation at the same time seems like a practical joke, but it's totally been my life. My poor patients...this is what they've had to put up with:
Young adults, or at least this young adult with cancer, worry more about money than dying. We wonder if we'll be leaving our family with this huge financial burden. If I could have quit work for awhile so I could meditate, find myself, and just do my cancer comics all day long, I totally would have. But no such luck. The benefits of working while fighting cancer is that keeping busy keeps you positive and goal focused. And sometimes it just sucks. And this is assuming a young adult with cancer can work. Many have to quit their jobs due to advanced staging and intense treatments.
Want to help a young adult with cancer? Money's certainly nice. Or hook them up with fantastic organizations like Stupid Cancer and Critical Mass. Their whole goal is to connect young adults to resources and organizations that address medical and financial issues. I just had a month's rent paid for because of an organization Stupid Cancer helped me find.
Cancer isn't just an old person thing. It's a very real young person-who-has-small children-a full time job-and all kinds of bills thing.
Society just isn't ready for so many young people getting cancer, so we kind of have to find our own way in it all. As for me? Maybe I can make some money doing cancer comics! That'd be nice!