Treatment ends. Your hair begins to sprout anew. Your skin slowly smooths. Your energy levels rise. You can look in the mirror and see remnants of the person you once were. You’ve trudged through the hardest journey of your life and bear the scars that tell the story. Your doctors share the latest results from your scans and there is no evidence of disease. You’re cancer-free.
Tag Archives: stephanie madsen
by Stephanie Madsen, Living with Cancer
I’ve endured thousands of needle pricks, undergone painful surgeries, and have withstood innumerable grueling treatments. I’ve been sick, bald, weak, over-medicated, under-medicated, poked, prodded, pained, and simply desperate for life. I’ve been triumphant, encouraged, accomplished, fortunate, blessed, and hopeful. I’ve gained insight, wisdom, and more medical knowledge than I could have ever imagined. My perspective has flourished and evolved. I have found a depth of joy that many never will. I’ve grieved loss. I’ve suffered hardship. I’ve authentically experienced mortality. I’ve overcome. I am brave and strong and alive. Yet among those things, I am also overwhelmingly burdened.
by Stephanie Madsen, Living with Cancer
“I’m sorry to tell you, it’s cancer. You will need an emergency hysterectomy followed by chemotherapy and radiation.” With one fell swoop, my life, dreams, and plans dramatically changed. Not only did I learn that I had cancer, but also that my chances of bearing children were erased.
Finding “the one” in a world of seven billion can be a daunting task. Sifting through people while searching for compatibility, meeting with strangers for awkward conversation, and allowing yourself to be vulnerable with someone you hardly know is not for the faint of heart. As if dating isn’t difficult enough, dating with cancer can prove even more challenging.
“Welcome to Cancerland, here’s your new body. You may notice it looks a little different than your old one, but I can assure you… This is your body. Once you get past the bumps, bruises, scars, and bald head, you’ll realize it’s still you.”
As if I were waking up and looking in the mirror at someone else, I felt overwhelmed shortly after receiving my first cancer-removing surgery. My body was changing right before my eyes and I wasn’t sure I was able to cope with everything. My doctors told me to expect a large scar (from one hip to the other), hair loss, and weight changes. Not only would I have to wrap my mind around a life-threatening diagnosis, but I also would no longer be able to find comfort in the mirror.
Cancer Knowledge Network and Stephanie Madsen team up for Young Adult cancer patients and their cancer teams.
Read Stephanie’s Posts here:
“It is my goal that by partnering with CKN, our voices will be heard where often they are overlooked. I invite you to join me in the movement to shine the spotlight on our generation as we face challenges many simply do not face. Cancer doesn’t define your life, and I hope to rally beside the men and women of my generation to help pave the way for improved care and heightened awareness.” – Stephanie Madsen
Cancer Knowledge Network (CKN) is launching a social media campaign to come alongside the YA generation to help alleviate the fear and stress that many experience. CKN believes in standing beside those who have received a cancer diagnosis by offering readers a tangible and practical way of living with cancer. Whether viewers are newly diagnosed, long term survivors, caregivers, or oncology professionals, CKN provides the navigation system through which they can find their way. By providing abundant resources that address all aspects of cancer, it is our goal to empower those facing this diagnosis with the knowledge, wisdom, and inspiration to fight.
Through this campaign, CKN has partnered with a recognized voice in the young adult cancer community. Stephanie Madsen is a writer and motivational speaker. Diagnosed with a rare cancer as a newlywed in her mid-twenties, Stephanie is a four-time survivor. Having undergone 55 chemotherapy treatments, 30 radiation therapy treatments, and four major surgeries, her experiences have allowed her to provide a unique and relatable perspective to those facing similar life challenges. Given a less than 20% chance of surviving one year from diagnosis, she is now celebrating being cancer-free.
Stephanie’s blog, DerailingMyDiagnosis.com, has emerged as a beacon of hope in the worldwide cancer survivorship community. Stephanie candidly shares the highs and lows of her journey with hundreds of thousands of visitors, all the while maintaining the survivor spirit and unshakeable faith needed to thrive in an otherwise hopeless situation. Her written work has been featured on The Huffington Post, Everyday Health, Coping With Cancer, and Livestrong, and she has appeared on numerous local television and radio broadcasts as well as the Ellen DeGeneres Show. She shares her experiences with others and speaks hope at survivorship events across the world. Stephanie lives in Denver, Colorado with her husband and two dogs.
Together, it is CKN and Stephanie’s goal to bridge the gap between young adult cancer patients and oncology physicians. Our mission is to make the voices of young adults with cancer heard so that improvements can be made and standardized within the greater healthcare community. In this social media campaign, Stephanie will be sharing personal accounts of her journey fighting this disease and the experiences she faces as a young adult living with cancer. She is passionate about inspiring others to live life intentionally, to be proactive about their healthcare, and to speak to physicians about what it’s like having cancer as a young adult.
Each month, Stephanie will write an article pertaining to a specific topic. These topics may include but are not limited to fertility, dating and relationships, body image, and finances. In addition, several Twitter chats will be held in order to establish ongoing conversation within the cancer community. Through this campaign, Stephanie and CKN hope to unite young adults affected by this disease. Our aim is to establish a consistent relationship between patient and physician, so that treatment options can be approached with a team effort.
Please join us as we seek to provide YAs with the knowledge they need to regain control of their lives through heightened awareness about issues such as sexuality, fertility, body image, dating and relationships, and more. Follow us on twitter using the hashtag #YARally.
We need your help to spread the word about #YARally to your communities. Your feedback will be presented to major oncology groups who are studying YA issues. It is our hope that your comments will equip these researchers with better insight so they can improve best practices and standards of care for YA patients.
Do you need a referral to a Fertility Centre?
Canada: Please follow this link to find a Fertility Centre near you and to make an online self-referral to a Fertility Centre. Your oncology team can also use this form to refer you to a Fertility Centre. These fertility centres have been pre-screened to meet the needs of cancer patients and often have compassionate care programs for those in need of financial assistance.
U.S.A: Please follow this link to find a Fertility Centre near you or call the FERT LINE at 1-866-708-FERT (3378).
Visit our Young Adult Cancer Page here for more information.