Cancer Warrior Michelle Zwirn
Throughout my experience with cancer, there have been countless ups and downs and times of fear and uncertainty, but there is one thing I can absolutely say for sure - I would never have come this far if it wasn’t for the human connections I have made along the way. About a month after I was diagnosed, I decided to check out a breast cancer support group at the Cancer Support Community. Although that did not turn out to be the group for me as I was the youngest person in that room by a landslide and I just couldn’t relate to what they were talking about-divorces, being angry at their grown children who refuse to help, being retired-and not to mention the frowny head tilt sad pity looks I was getting from everyone in that room, it was the start of me seeking out others in the same boat as me who I could relate to. The facilitator of the group suggested the women under 40 group where all cancer types were welcome, and THOSE turned out to be my people.
Between that group and being a regular at YogaCycle, I was connected to Sara and soon her and I were out to dinner where there was an instant connection over all the crap we deal with as young cancer warriors like how different dating is now, the struggle of holding down a job and supporting yourself, infertility, and so on, but she was also the first person I had met to have gone through it to assure me that along with all of this crap, there is also a crap ton of beauty if you allow yourself to see it. She was so passionate about her Cancer Warrior Foundation that it really showed me that I can turn my experience into something beautiful too.
I have since been connected to a bunch of other young cancer warriors who quickly became some of my best friends. I cannot emphasize enough the importance of having people in your life who understand what you are going through. My friends and family are always there to listen, but I can’t call them freaking out about a scary blood test result, or how I can’t keep my food down after chemo without guilt tripping myself over feeling like a huge burden to these people. With my cancer warrior circle I can bring up all of this (and then some) and be reassured that I’m not alone and that I am still normal and not an alien no matter how much it may feel like it. Instead of giving me the frowny head tilt sad pity looks when telling them my hair is finally falling out from chemo, they volunteer to come over and shave my head. They know the importance of what may seem others like small victories. Most importantly, they know when I am in dire need of a giant hug, and they give the best ones!!!