Twelve years ago cancer nearly took my life.
Over the course of two years of chemotherapy, radiation, relapse, stem cell transplantation, liver disease and immunotherapy I transformed from a vivacious 22 year old redhead who loved to dance, to being emaciated, bald, and wheelchair-bound. My recovery since then has been complete and I’m dancing the night away once again. But my hair never grew back.
Despite my diagnosis I don’t see cancer as my enemy; it’s made me the person I am today. Indeed, how can I conceptualise any other life when both my identity as an adult and my identity as a cancer survivor formed simultaneously? Cancer survivorship is the only adulthood I’ve ever known. It’s shaped my ethos, my focus on health, and my career. For me, cancer the disease is long gone, but the ongoing experience will be part of me forever.