In the wake of this diagnosis, I have felt a tremendous sense of loneliness, fear, and isolation. But I have also felt a very renewed sense of purpose. To that end, I have started a new project. I am calling it Survivor Letters.
Today marks one month of life with cancer. The first month of the rest of my life. It’s been the hardest, most frightening month I have ever endured. But I don’t want to continue this diagnosis and treatment path living in doom and gloom, and I want something positive to come out of this experience. I wish that I had something that kept me from googling, from being on Facebook, from going down the rabbit hole of doubt and depression. I needed hugs and encouragement from those who had been in my shoes. And out of this, Survivor Letters was born.
I found tremendous empowerment from my local support groups. But what if someone who was receiving this diagnosis for the first time didn’t have access to that support? What if there was a place online she (or he) could go and be wrapped in a virtual hug from those who have been there, and those who are cheering on from the sidelines? What if there was a place where family and friends could read the words of those walking the same path as their family or friend who was facing such a diagnosis, and could gain strength from those words, and use those words to empower themselves to be a better support?
When you tell someone you have cancer, they immediately want to know what they can do to help. However, often it is just needing a place to go where you can know that it will be ok. All of this will be ok, even if those words feel trite and reductive. Survivor Letters aims to be the how and the why it will be ok, even if you feel like you got hit over the head with a cast-iron skillet and thrown into a washing machine on extra spin cycle. (Because really, that is what it feels like).
Please feel free to share this initiative with anyone you think might be interested. I’m so excited to begin writing and sharing this new chapter.