This season, we’ve talked about the pivotal moments of life with cancer, and the ripple effects they have in our lives. We find ourselves unwitting participants in a trial by fire, and emerge from the acute situations forced upon us with bewilderment at the drastically different lives we find ourselves in. That just about sums up my last six weeks. After discovering my brain mets and undergoing stereotactic brain radiation, I had a follow up with my oncologist the first week of May, in which she ordered a surprise abdominal CT Scan. Which showed, you guessed it, more progression, with four new liver lesions, and a brand spanking new cancer spot in my left lung. Honestly, it’s not great. It’s pretty terrifying, actually. I’ve been having some tough conversations with myself, and with my family members and close friends, and have been really reckoning with the understanding that I might really only have a few years left if we’re being pretty optimistic. What do you do with that information?
Well, honestly, coming from that situation personally, you just put your head down and figure out your priorities and power through. Last Friday, my oncologist ordered a liver biopsy so we could get some more information about what might be fueling my disease, as it seems fairly resistant to hormone therapy now. I’m off the clinical trial, and this week started an oral chemotherapy drug called Xeloda. The first week has been surprisingly ok, but I do know it will keep hitting me harder as the drug builds up in my system, and one of the toughest side effects is that your hands and feet will start to peel and the skin will slough off – it’s called hand and foot syndrome. If you were jealous of my glamorous cancer life before, well, you’re going to be raging with envy over this one. On the plus side, I won’t lose my hair. So small wins. I will hopefully continue this drug for a long time but will be on it until it stops working. So I guess I’d rather have no fingerprints or skin on the bottoms of my feet than be a walking ball of tumors?
If I sound a little sarcastic right now, it’s because I’m processing a lot. It’s just been so much shit getting thrown at us, over and over and over. And honestly, it’s been so difficult to just get through the days, when there seems like there’s so much to do – so much I want to do, and so many different directions I feel pulled. How do you fit an entire lifetime into the prognosis of “months to years?”
Today’s guest, CC Webster Marrone, found herself in one such pivotal life situation when she was diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma. One minute she was working balls to the wall corporate marketing job, and the next, she was undergoing chemotherapy, pulled from the breakneck pace of her previous life to a near standstill. CC captured this experience in her book “So That Happened:,” a memoir of her life after her cancer diagnosis.
CC is a young adult lymphoma survivor and author of So That Happened, A Memoir. After her diagnosis of Hodgkins Lymphoma in 2016, at age 29, and completing six months of intensive chemotherapy, CC learned how to redesign her personal and professional life to accommodate a new, unexpected set of priorities. As the founder and creative director of Webster Works, CC is a branding and marketing consultant specializing in working with health and wellness brands and businesses. She is based in New York City.
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