May 21, 2015
What I'll miss after melanoma treatment
BY Tolley St. Clair
One more treatment to go. ONE. MORE. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. It's been a long road since my melanoma diagnosis, to say the least. Scans, blood work and too many doctors' visits. You know the drill. To say cancer was a wake-up call is putting it mildly.
When I received my melanoma diagnosis, I was living and working in San Antonio (hundreds of miles away from my family), and dating someone. Now, a year-and-a-half later, I'm two years out of college, living with my parents (and not working) in Florida, participating in a clinical trial, and single as a bird.
I'm one treatment away from being free. Done with the clinical trial, done living at home, and hopefully closing this chapter of my life. And, while I'm looking forward to moving on, there have been some positives to my melanoma treatment.
How my life changed during melanoma treatment
I've been fortunate enough to live at home and not work during my treatment. My parents and sister have been amazingly supportive, and I will never be able to thank them enough or show them the gratitude they deserve.
Over the past year-and-a-half, I have found out who truly has my back and who loves me. Yes, it took something so drastic and big to figure that out, but I'm thankful that I've figured it out sooner rather than later.
Cancer also has allowed me to explore a whole new world of food and fitness. Yoga has been one of my saving graces, and I am now a full-blown yogi. That may have never happened if I hadn't been diagnosed with cancer.
I've also truly had this year-and-a-half for myself. To get to know myself, to think about what matters to me. How many twentysomethings can say that?
I've also used it to help others. I now volunteer for myCancerConnection, MD Anderson's one-on-one support program that connects patients and caregivers with survivors who've been there. I've learned just how important helping others and giving back can be.
What I will miss
While I'm very glad my cancer treatment is ending, I know there are some things I'll miss. I will absolutely miss living at home and being with my parents. Most people don't get the chance to live at home after high school.
In an even weirder way, I will miss seeing all the nurses and my doctor every three months few weeks.
I have learned so much from my entire melanoma journey. While it's not an experience I'd recommend to anyone, cancer has made me more open to life and experiences. I don't want to lose this part of myself once I go back to work and "real life." So, I'm going to work hard to make sure that doesn't change after my cancer treatment journey.
To connect with other cancer patients and caregivers through myCancerConnection, please call 800-345-6324 or visit myCancerConnection online.
While it's not an experience I'd recommend to anyone, cancer has made me more open to life and experiences.
Tolley St. Clair