As a young professional, I accepted the fact that the difficult hours spent studying, learning, practicing and preparing for my career were paving the way for a more comfortable future. Even the near-term was looking pretty awesome – I’d lined up one of those once-in-a-lifetime vacations and managed to carve out more time to spend with my family.
A quick pre-trip checkup led to almost a month-long stay in the hospital’s ICU undergoing a battery of tests to decipher what was going wrong inside my body. Despite the time spent in the hospital pondering potential causes, it was extremely difficult to swallow the final cancer diagnosis – mediastinal b-cell lymphoma.
Medical studies reported that my cancer responded well to treatment. Having favorable odds of becoming a “cancer survivor” did not make treatment easy. Chemotherapy is gnarly. My long hair fell out … so did my eyebrows … only 2 eyelashes managed to hang on & stay connected. Chemo makes you look sick – bald, pale, skinny, fatigued – and people usually stare or avoid you. I learned not to let it get me down. On the good days I enjoyed being outside, even if it was just a short walk around the block before exhaustion wiped me out.
Just over a year after being diagnosed, tests indicate that I’m doing alright. The aftermath of chemo is still playing out. I’m taking a fistful of pills daily, have regular doctor visits, and who knows how chemo infusions will affect me 40-50+ years down the road.
Through this journey I met people of all ages who have been inexplicably diagnosed with cancer. It opened my eyes to what unexpected events can happen in life. The experience obviously changed my life but it also spread profound understanding and appreciation to the people I live and work with. Collectively, everyone at Uncaged Ergonomics agreed that we should try to positively impact the cancer community. This month, we’ve decided to support First Descents mission to provide cancer patients and survivors with an epic “out living it” trip. If you’re able to, feel free to make a time or monetary donation to First Descents or another organization doing positive work in the cancer field.
Finally, it’s likely that you know someone who’s been affected by cancer. Through our personal experience, we encourage you to reach out to them – stopping by for a visit or a quick phone call does make a difference.