Never in my life did I think I’d be writing this, for a magazine for young adults affected by cancer. But then again, never did I think I’d get the exclusive invite to this horrible cancer club. But here I am, and if you’re reading this, chances are you’re in the club too. So let me introduce myself!
I’m Jennifer Anand.
My golden ticket to this society was given to me on January 10th, 2012. My life was on a perfect trajectory- I was in my final semester of high school. I had been accepted into both the colleges I had applied too, and was on the brink of a full ride to both. I was competing in science fairs, and music scholarships. And then, one Tuesday at my annual pediatrician visit, I described to her the swollen nodes that had been under my arms and neck for months.
And for just one split second, I saw my doctor’s face and I knew my life would never be the same.
That afternoon, I had a chest x-ray on the way home. That night, I got a call that there was a 10-inch mass in my lungs, and that CT and PET scans had been scheduled for Wednesday morning.
Thursday I had a surgery consult.
Friday I had my senior pictures taken. Pictures that show my long curly black hair. The numbers 2-0-1-2 spread on the floor in front me, my violin in my hands. Pictures that captured my life, up until that that January morning.
The next Wednesday, I had a mediport surgically implanted, and immediately began chemotherapy for stage four Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
To finish this summary, I had chemo and radiation for 8 months, began college at the University of Akron, and then relapsed on Christmas Eve 2012.
In March 2013, I had an autologous bone marrow transplant.
This year, I celebrated 5 years! I’ll delve much more in my cancer experiences through the course of these posts, but I’d like to share when and why I started writing. I’ve been blessed with the writing gene from my mother. Her handwriting and the content are incredible, and I’ll never match her abilities. But that’s not going to stop me from writing!
I began my formal writing through a blog I started when I relapsed. Through my cancers, I realized two main things: young adults weren’t sure what to expect when they were diagnosed with cancer, and non-cancer people had no idea the type or extent of the struggles we endure. The day I was diagnosed, one of my dad’s coworkers emailed him his blog, after his life with cancer. It helped my dad get a better idea of the road ahead, and cause him to worry less.
I want my writing to do the same- to encourage the cancer peeps, and educate others. I want to allow people into my life. To give them a glimpse of the struggles, of the disappointment, the successes, the victories, the friendships and opportunities, and so much more that come with cancer experiences. So through this column, I want you to share in my life. I want to share with you things I wish people had told me.
My life will never be the same, and my hope is to use my experiences to better prepare you for your journey, encourage you in your struggles, commiserate in your disappointments and show the world that cancer will not overcome us.