How I Share My Story
Last updated: April 2023
A lung cancer diagnosis is often unexpected. To be blunt, it's frightening. When I was diagnosed with lung cancer, my sister called Imerman Angels, and I was set up with a cancer mentor. Being able to ask questions, I felt a lot less alone. I wanted to speak with someone who was my age and going through the same thing - because I was diagnosed with lung cancer at such a young age. She shared her story with me, and I found it to be very helpful.
At that point, I decided that I would share my story. I've done so in numerous ways.
My cancer story is art
I was invited to participate in an art exhibit. A driver picked me up from my home, and we headed to Chicago, where I went to a studio. I shared my story. It was put into sound bites, and an artist made a display out of it. My husband and I were invited to the art show.
I share my story through blogging. When I was first diagnosed with lung cancer at a young age, I started by writing blogs for personal use. I was never consistent, but I updated it every so often.
Blogging about my lung cancer story led me here!
I then started blogging for this website, LungCancer.net (you can find all of my other posts in my profile.)
The "Something in the Wilderness" podcast is an Andrew McMahon-themed podcast. We discussed one of the artists’ songs, and I shared my story. I have been following Andrew McMahon for roughly 20 years, so it was easy to talk about. We chose the song “Diane the Skyscraper.” The song was written for Andrew’s nurse while he was going through cancer treatment.
I have also shared my story in person. It was a lot easier to do this pre-pandemic. I hosted the Breath Deep Kankakee event two years in a row.
Though I am not great at public speaking, when it is a topic like sharing my cancer story, it is easy to talk about. I did stutter a lot and overused the word "umm," but I shared my story both times.
Also, I am a phone buddy within 3 different organizations. I can share my story one on one. After getting a buddy match, we email first. Then we talk over the phone. I love sharing my story one on one to give hope to others who are newly diagnosed. Often, I say that it helps just as much as it helps them.
The importance of sharing your cancer story
I am now almost a 9-year survivor. I feel that it is important for us to share our stories because lung cancer is often overlooked as a cancer that is self-caused. The stigma behind lung cancer is real and we need to show that anyone with lungs can get it.
Tell me in the comments if someone has helped you along the way and how you share your story!
Happy Lung Cancer Awareness Month! What does self-advocacy mean to you?