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kristensmiles
Posts: 1
Joined: Sep 2006

Hi everyone. My name is Kristen and I'm a 23 y.o survivor of colon cancer. Pretty young to have gotten it, but the doctors believed it progressed from an inflammatory bowel disease I had had since I was 3. I underwent chemo during the last semester of my senior year of college ( i was determined to graduate on time...plus I was lucky to have only one class left to take). My friends and roommates and parents were so supportive. They helped me laught about it and I got through it...and then decided to switch careers to nursing. So that's what I'm doing now, nursing school, and I'll have my degree by the end of next July. I thought that once I finished chemo my life could go back to normal and I could almost forget about chemo and cancer and being sick. But lately I realize how untrue that is. I had a PET/CT scan done in March which showed "a variation of normal" in a lymph node. But when the scan was repeated a month ago there was no further change. I just can't believe that feeling of almost waiting for bad news. I so desperately want to move on but it's so hard when I need to go get another test every 3 months. And then there are so many other issues on living after cancer...like dating! I never would've thought that would be so hard. I don't know how to tell someone that I had cancer. I don't know when the right time is for that. I'm so scared that it will scare them away. And then I feel kinda guilty even getting into a serious relationship in case the cancer comes back. And I can't even hide it for too long because I have a few scars from surgeries. Does anyone have any advice? I'd really appreciate it. I'm having an emotional weekend and found the CSN site. THanks! and God Bless.

mc2001
Posts: 344
Joined: May 2003

Hello kristensmiles,
Congratulations on your survivorship of cancer! It is wonderful that you are returning to school to hopefully become a nurse. Your experience and desire to help patients will make you a great nurse! About going on with life and with dating... well.. *it ain't easy*. A lot has to do with how you think about it. I have caught myself many times wishing my life was the way it was pre-cancer. It is a nice thought, but unrealistic. It doesn't have to be bad though. You have goals and views of life you probably hadn't before your cancer. ANd I am sure that is a positive. Not to say that you didn't have goals, but now they may be formed by different influences, such as your past cancer history. Dating is difficult. Do I tell him? When do I tell him? Where do I tell him? How do I tell him? Do I drop a cancer pain pill in his drink when he is not looking before I begin to tell him of my cancer? ok.. just kidding with that one. But I would say that being honest early on is best. "Hi, my name is Michael. I had leukemia when I was 21 and almost died.... three times. Can I buy you a drink?"... is probably not the best way to do it. But, after you have gotten to know someone is safe. Hope this helps. Take care. And Welcome to the site!
-Michael (Pre-B cell ALL survivor)

Simbluej's picture
Simbluej
Posts: 13
Joined: Sep 2006

Hi Kristen,
Welcome to the site. I have found this to be a wonderful place. I've had great friends and family for support (as most of us have) but sometimes only people who are going through the same thing can really understand. I'm 25 diagnosed with stage III rectal cancer. With your colon cancer we probably have some of the same surgery scars. Not to mention how nasty a resection can be in the first place. I'm am not yet finished with my treatment thought. I still have a few more months of chemo.
I too worry about the same things as you. First of all I was worried I would end up with a colostomy bag after surgery (thankfully I didn't). I thought that would be the end of my dating life as I knew it. I worry about when I should tell people. Although I avoid bars as much as possible now during treatment...in my attempt to maintain some sense of normalcy in my life I still go out with friends sometimes. I never know what to do when guys offer to buy me a drink "sorry I can't drink I'm on chemo". Thats enough to send someone running for the hills. Not that I'm interested in the least with dating right now, but when treatment is over and you still have to worry about what will happen if it comes back what do you do?
I used to be in the military and I've been to Iraq and I used to hide that from guys because it would scare them away a lot. Now I have this cancer thing too. "Hi I almost died at war and then of cancer...wanna dance?"
Anyways, I wish I had some magical words of wisdom for you, but I just wanted you to know there are others out there who are worried about the same things. Just remember that this whole ordeal has made you a much stronger person and if theres someone out there that can't handle that then you have no time to waste on them. You went through cancer and treatment and still had the drive and determination to finish college in time..if thats not strength then I don't know what is.

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