The Little Things

I recently participated in a young adult cancer conference. Due to the pandemic, the conference was held virtually. Put on by Elephants and Tea and Lacuna Loft, the conference was held for three hours each night for five nights. The name of the conference was Gab Fest.

For five nights I felt a connection to other young adult cancer survivors and appreciated their stories. Each day consisted of a webinar, a panel, and a social hour. On Thursday there were three separate tracks to choose from. As a lung cancer survivor, I chose the metastatic track. There was a caregiver track and a sexual health track as well.

Simply wanting a normal life back

During one of the social hours, someone mentioned how they did not have an extensive bucket list post-diagnosis but rather they just wanted to get back to doing the everyday little things that life consists of. I related very much to the conversation.

After my diagnosis, I took some time off from work, and in those moments, I did not fully embrace the idea that at that very point in my life my main job was to just survive. I do remember thinking that I just wanted to get back to waking up in the morning with a purpose.

My mom tried very hard to get me out of my funk. She stayed with us for many months and helped me gain some weight and made sure that I ate. We often would take a road trip to her house, about 30 mins away, just for an escape. She tried her best to make my days as normal as possible and sometimes it was difficult. The cancer diagnosis was weighing heavy on my mind and looking back I was probably depressed. On a normal day, my mom made me breakfast, typically a fried egg or pancakes. I got to watch daytime TV and there was a specific game show that was my favorite. Once, for a fun break, we took a trip about 45 mins away and had some fun playing games at Dave and Busters. I got the biggest plate of tater tot nachos and I could not eat even a quarter of the plate!

We can still live a life we love

Today, I wake up every morning thankful for a new day. I fill my time working, taking care of my pups, writing blog posts, learning bookkeeping, and all those little things that are often taken for granted.

I love writing to-do lists or rather, writing out the things that I have accomplished in a day. I get the most done on the weekends and even with COVID-19, I love taking road trips or just cleaning the house. I still spend a lot of time with my mom, my sister, my husband, and my dad.

A lung cancer diagnosis can be very hard on the mind and makes it difficult to think about the future. By sharing my story I would like to give at least one person hope that they too can live a life they love.

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