by Pat Taylor, AYA Advocate, CKN Editor
Connor O’Leary was a nineteen year old professional cyclist competing in Europe when he discovered a lump on his testicle. As an advocate for AYA cancer awareness since my own daughter was diagnosed with cancer in 1997, I was stunned at how little I knew about testicular cancer and the men living with it. I needed to learn more. I needed to go to the source. My editor, Karen Irwin at CKN agreed and the idea for the TC Cancer Series was born.
Connor was one of the men I invited to join me for breakfast in Denver, Colorado while we were attending Stupid Cancer’s CancerCon 2017 Conference, to discuss the short and long term effects of living with a testicular cancer diagnosis. When Connor told me, “Nineteen year olds don’t want to talk about their parts to their mothers,” I knew that Connor would offer an important perspective to the series. What follows is my interview with Connor, testicular cancer survivor and Chief Mission Officer for the Testicular Cancer Foundation.
by Dan Duffy, Survivor, Advocate, Author
“I cheated with my cancer.”
A friend of mine said that to me once, feeling that she somehow didn’t really go through cancer because hers was caught so early, with no chemo or radiation necessary.
“So the double mastectomy doesn’t count?” I asked, needling her. (Cancer patients can do this to each other.)
by Pat Taylor, CKN Editor
“Small, slow steps. Don’t stride. Don’t rush. If you rush, you’ll fall, or burn out. Either one could kill you. Take small, slow steps. Small, slow steps and you will get there.” It’s Valentine’s Day, and my brother’s words repeat over and over in my mind like a record skipping, as I climb the snowy hillside above our ranch with freezing feet and shattered heart.
by Pat Taylor, CKN Editor
For me, an AYA (adolescent and young adult) cancer advocate for the past 20 years, World Cancer Day conjures up feelings of passion, patience, persistence and perseverance.
Passion for all those AYA cancer awareness organizations and individual advocates around the world who have campaigned to have the voices of the AYA cancer community recognized, heard, acknowledged and sustained – from prevention education, through diagnosis, treatment, short and long term effects, metastic/advanced stages, palliative care, end-of-life and beyond.
I first met Drew at Stupid Cancer’s 2014 OMG Summit in Vegas and then again at various conferences over the following four years. I was struck by his intense curiosity and willingness to learn everything he possibly could about the AYA cancer community, in which he included not only survivors, but caregivers too. Over the years we have often chatted about the ever-evolving language surrounding the experience of cancer, and the joys and challenges of communicating within it. As a pithy way of sharing those conversations with a wider readership, I have asked Drew to create a Top 10 List: What Not to Say To Someone Living With Cancer. Have at it, Drew!
– Pat Taylor, CKN Editor
by Drew Bolognini, Caregiver/Advocate/Videographer/Editor
To begin with, let’s get one thing straight: I’ve been as guilty as the next guy of saying the wrong thing at the wrong time. I still make mistakes. We all do, but I believe we mean well, really. I hope this list will make us all smarter. Well, the rest of you readers anyway. I’m not sure anything can be done about me.
by Dan Duffy
I was talking to a friend a few weeks ago when she told me about her impending retirement.
“What are you going to do with your free time?” I asked.
“I’m going to volunteer at the local hospital,” she said.
“That’s great! What do you want to do?” I asked.
“I’m not sure, but I figure they’ll give me something,” she said.
I wished her well in her new endeavor, but I knew that her volunteer position would not last two months. Six weeks later, she was back on her couch.