We Get It
Over 7,000 young adults are diagnosed with cancer each year in Canada, almost all will deal in isolation from their peers who truly “get” what they are going through. We Get It is an effort to reach out to more young adults, and tell them we do get it and that we’ve got programs custom-made for them.
Too many of our friends have died trying to get into the young adult cancer community. Can you imagine knowing you have something growing inside, knowing it isn’t right and being consistently dismissed as a hypochondriac, worrisome or even crazy? It happens more than you could imagine and way more than is acceptable.
Disintrajectorized–originally coined by YACC retreat alumnus Travis Gobeil in 2005–is a term that describes what happens to your life when you get cancer as a young adult. Your life is disintrajectorized off its current path and onto another completely different path.
Would you talk about sex with your grandmother? Most every young adult with cancer has had the experience of dropping in on the local cancer support group only to find they are a few decades younger than the average age, it’s much the same as their trips to the chemo room, surrounded by people their parents and grandparents age. With only eight support groups for young adults in the whole country, it’s no wonder isolation is the other top issue for young adults with cancer.
For a massive percentage of young adults, their treatment permanently or temporarily kills their fertility. This is obviously not the same issue when you’re 60. Fertility preservation options can be extremely limited or nonexistent depending on where you live, and that’s IF your doctor remembers to discuss it with you before starting treatment.
There is hope. Thanks to the work and mission of the organization Fertile Future, young adults facing fertility issues now have a place to go. Fertile Future is pleased to offer patients a number of key services before, during and after they have completed their cancer treatment. Check their website for more information.
Just when we get a taste of independence cancer showed up to rip it away. Moving back in with the parents–if we have the option–is often the best one. But let’s call it a less than ideal set-up. Physical independence is one thing, increased expenses from medical bills at a time when your income is reduced or negated entirely is another serious element of the struggle for independence. This video hits this issue on a few fronts, moving back in with your parents, reduced income and increased expenses.
Cancer is the ultimate friend filter. We guarantee once you are diagnosed, you will see so clearly who is friend and who is acquaintance. Hopefully this is a lesson you can learn without the diagnosis! The dating side of this issue is so different for young adults; we’ll go out on a limb here and say that 99 per cent of marriages (the first ones) happen during the young adult years. When do you drop the “c-bomb”? First date? 10 weeks? It’s definitely another point of stress and uncertainty.
The cancer experience does not stop with chemo’s last drop. Many patients/survivors say that the toughest parts of the challenge come when treatment is over. Survivorship is a term with many definitions, for us we’re talking about the path you travel to make the rest of your life the best of your life, the obstacles you face and how you deal with them. At YACC helping young adults through this process is a major focus of our programs.