Elephants And Tea - March 2021 - 11

very long, public announcement about my
diagnosis on Facebook and began an awareness campaign.
I shared bladder cancer facts, bought
awareness swag and asked all of the people
in all of my circles to wear marigold yellow,
blue and purple on the day of my procedure.
I asked them to post their pictures on social
media, tag me in them and tell everyone why
they were doing it. I got 100s of comments on
my posts and about 50 people made public
posts for me that day. Many others shared
the posts that were made.
The length of time from diagnosis to
returning to work was about 8 months. It
was a brutal time period filled with lots of
complications, weakness, twists and turns. It
was all I could do to get through it and post
updates on social media. About 2 months
after my last treatment, the writing began. I
decided to start a blog and I began sharing
my story there and in other public forums.
Gradually as I regained strength and energy, I joined in-person support groups in my
area - some of which I have continued to be
involved with and some, not so much. Then,
about 3 years from my last chemo treatment,
enter COVID-19. In-person gatherings had
stopped as well as any time with friends and
family. I was becoming disillusioned and
struggling, so I started getting involved with
digital meetups. They have been a godsend and
eventually led me to the AYAC Community.
I hesitated on joining in because even right
at my diagnosis, I was a bit beyond the AYA
window. Yet, I decided to give it a try. I figured
if I wasn't welcome, they would politely show
me the door, but I would try because I didn't
fit in with the usual cancer circles. In my area,
the general cancer support groups were generally older people or caretakers and 98% of the
women there had experienced breast cancer
and did not even try to understand all that I
had gone through. I could not relate to what
they had experienced most of the time either.
When I found the AYA community, I had
nearly given up on the cancer community
and had invested most of my time and energy
in the ostomy community because they understood and related more to the experiences
that I had. I was grateful that I gave it a go.
Not everyone has even heard of bladder
cancer there, as I had not, but everyone at
least empathizes with my experience and
I don't have to explain myself on the days
when I'm having a rough time. l

" When I finally got the results
of my cystoscopy, I was relieved.
Relieved that I had bladder cancer.
I was relieved that I was, in fact,
NOT crazy, NOT hysterical, NOT
imagining all the things I'd been
dealing with for at least 2 years. "

ELEPHANTSANDTEA.COM
MARCH 2021

11


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Elephants And Tea - March 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Elephants And Tea - March 2021

Contents
Elephants And Tea - March 2021 - Cover1
Elephants And Tea - March 2021 - Cover2
Elephants And Tea - March 2021 - 1
Elephants And Tea - March 2021 - Contents
Elephants And Tea - March 2021 - 3
Elephants And Tea - March 2021 - 4
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Elephants And Tea - March 2021 - Cover3
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