I picked up my 2-in-1 superhero cape/security blanket in St. John’sSeptember 5, 2013
By Elise Bonder
I push myself in every aspect of my life; I don’t sit still and I don’t do boring. I was 30-years-old, flying though every day. I had a beautiful country home near Ottawa, a challenging career, and I had just married my sweetheart. We had three energetic dogs and we were talking about kids.
Cancer came into my life on January 31, 2012 during my first colonoscopy. I was diagnosed with stage 2 colon cancer. My first thought was that I was not too special to have cancer. I knew I would push myself through cancer like I have everything else. I had a right bowel resection followed by six months of chemo.
I had terribly blistered hands and feet throughout chemo. I could barely walk or touch anything. I was trapped in my own body for six months, yet I felt severe anxiety as the end of chemo approached. I knew that I was doing everything I could to kill cancer, but I knew it would end soon and it would all be left to my body to decide what would come next. How do you even begin to share this with the ones you love? People can’t wait to finish chemo, right?
Colon cancer screening starts at age 50 in Canada so I hang out with A LOT of people over 50 for my cancer stuff! I get funny looks a lot when I go to colon cancer meetings. For a while, I wasn’t sure I needed YACC. I must have felt a void because I jumped into Retreat Yourself Adventure 2013 to connect with others.
Having cancer doesn’t bring tears to my eyes; it’s just a diagnosis to me. Realizing that the majority of my peers in a room have walked the same shitty journey as me brought me to a place I never thought I’d go. I was normal as a 31 year old who had beaten cancer.
YACC gave me two things in St. John’s:
1. I met people I will love forever. People who share my fears and joys. Friends who hear about my scans and pains before anyone else does because I know they will happily share the load. My security blanket.
2. I pushed myself physically to a place I wasn’t sure I could still go, and then I pushed even farther to see what would happen. And it rocked! I picked up my super hero cape.