Every 8 minutes a young adult is diagnosed with cancer. And every hour a young adult loses their battle with cancer.
Cancer is now the #1 disease killer in young adults (ages 15-40) and this is not okay.
If you are reading this, you know me. You already know that it just was one week after my 29th birthday when I lost consciousness at work, suffered a grand mal seizure, convulsed uncontrollably for five minutes, then peed my pants in front of my new boss at Williams + Paddon Architects + Planners.
Goodbye, brand new dream job.
Within the next few weeks I had the first of two brain surgeries and was diagnosed with a grade 2 astrocytoma--a slow growing brain cancer.
While a cancer diagnosis is hard at any age, it is magnified when you are a young adult just learning how to run your life—let alone manage a life-altering disease.
In my case, I had just bought a condo, and found myself without income and insurance. If it weren’t for a magical boyfriend (now husband) named Brett and The Liz Army, I would have died. Yes--I believe that.
For 24 months I took a chemotherapy pill that greatly reduced the size of the tumor in my brain. But even so, today I still have cancer, epilepsy and a loss of tactile sensation on one side of my body due to brain damage.
Even though I know all my friends love and care about me, being diagnosed with cancer as a young adult is an isolating experience.
One day, on my own, I discovered the I'm Too Young For This! Cancer Foundation, the largest support community on young adult survivors and caregivers in the US.
Online at http://stupidcancer.com they give survivors like me a voice and raise awareness for the unique issues that I face as a young adult; issues like isolation, fertility, insurance, career building and more.
Their annual conference, the OMG! Cancer Summit for Young Adults is a pivotal health care event that inspires thousands of survivors, caregivers and providers—along with scores of academic, advocacy, research and support organizations—to get organized, build community and unite as one to drive change.
I want to attend the OMG! Cancer Summit and meet other people like me: people who think cancer is stupid; people who want to do something about it and give back to the world of young adult cancer. Just by blogging at http://thelizarmy.com I've been doing something. Now it's time for me to take it to the next level and start networking in this world of cancer community.
Stupid cancer. Survivors rule.