This year, I was honored to not only be the co-captain of the Brandeis Alumni Relay for Life team but also was asked to give the survivor speech. In front of an audience of seven hundred, primarily students between the ages of 18 and 22, I told my story.
But survivor stories are so often boring. My story bores me most days. I agonized for weeks about how to make my timeline clear while also leaving a message behind. So often, I think “What if?” What if I pushed my doctors more when given so many diagnoses that never addressed the issue? What if it was caught earlier? What if I hadn’t rolled in toxic sludge that one time? Many who have gone through life changing or life threatening illness have the same thoughts. We can’t change the past, but we can positively influence the future. If one student hears my words and risks seeming like a hypochondriac to reach a cancer diagnosis, I’ll have won.