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A Young Woman’s Cancer Story

By Anonymous
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Cancer related image Photo: Getty Images

This week I was invited to do a radio interview at the major news station in my hometown of Seattle. It was about being a “web-savvy” patient, the topic of my new book. I was thrilled to be interviewed by Herb Weisbaum, an anchorman at the station, as he is famous among national consumer journalists. For years he’s been the guy doing the “toy tests” on the Today Show and Good Morning America during the Christmas holiday season.

After the interview Weisbaum said there was something else I could help with. He explained that a 25-year-old woman on the news staff had just been diagnosed with a blood cancer – either a leukemia or a lymphoma. Could I speak with her? Of course!

The young woman came into the studio and we began to talk. Me, the 60-year-old cancer survivor, 10 years past treatment. Her, 35 years younger and only a couple of weeks after what she thought was a backache was diagnosed as a serious blood-related cancer. Rose Egge was only hours away from seeing a specialist at the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, a renowned center and home to some of the world’s foremost leukemia experts. It’s also where they invented the bone-marrow transplant, for which a Seattle doctor won a Nobel Prize.

A transplant could be in her future. She is facing this head on, and is sharing her journey through her blog. Fortunately, tremendous progress has been made fighting blood cancers and in perfecting transplants, which can be a cure. My hope is things will work out for her. But, of course, this is a frightening detour for a young adult.

Beyond connecting with the best doctors – and I think she is – I told her it was important to connect with people like her, young adults who – out of the blue – have faced cancer. I was happy to recommend the I’m Too Young for This Cancer Foundation
founded by Matthew Zachary. Zachary is a supercharged young man who was diagnosed with brain cancer while a concert pianist in training at Julliard in New York. He survived and went on to marshal attention for the fact that young adults can develop cancer too.

None of this is meant to frighten you. Yes, it’s a reality check, as it was for the woman who sat across from me being courageous and seeking information. But truly things are looking better. People do get past it and go on with their lives and their hopes and dreams. It could be you, or a friend, and I hope it will be the woman I just met.

About the author: Andrew Schorr is a medical journalist, cancer survivor and founder of Patient Power, a one-of-a-kind company dedicated to bringing in-depth information to patients with cancer and chronic illness. Audio and video programs, as well as transcripts, help patients make informed decisions to support their health in partnership with their medical team. Patient Power is at www.PatientPower.info and on Facebook. Schorr is also the author of “The Web Savvy Patient: An Insider's Guide to Navigating the Internet When Facing Medical Crisis." http://www.websavvypatient.com/

Edited by Alison Stanton

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.