One night, I’m standing in a hospital room showing a friend on the verge of colon surgery my colostomy appliance and hoping I don’t inadvertently flash my junk.
One morning, over breakfast with another friend, we compare notes about the ravages of chemotherapy-induced fatigue.
Another morning, I’m on the phone with someone I barely know sharing a blow-by-blow of my cancer journey.
These are scenes from the front lines of the cancer battle. Think one-on-one, hand-to-hand combat. Something far more personal and intimate than what occurs at the research bench or in the halls of Congress.
In September, I stepped away from my job at the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, where I served as media advocacy director for the 14-state South Region. Mentally and emotionally, I needed to leave because talking about and living cancer 24/7 was exhausting.
The reality is, cancer is always present, at least for me. My body bears the scars and the stoma left by rectal removal surgery.
The good news, quite literally, is that I’m building a positive cancer platform. It’s been in the works since my diagnosis, but it took on serious momentum after I left ACS CAN. My book, It’s Not Harder Than Cancer, is in the hands of an editor. This web site was built by a dear friend. I’m powering up to become a motivational speaker.
All of that to say, it’s time to rejoin the battle I left last year. I’m going back to ACS CAN, this time as a volunteer. Today, I participated in my first statewide conference call as the ACT Lead from my Congressional District.
It was exciting to be back, and I’m looking forward to reconnecting with my now fellow volunteers and the amazing staff partners here and across the country … all of them friends.
I hope my legislators are ready for this. I’m a thriver on a mission to make eradicating cancer a state and national priority.