In Part 1 of Anna’s Story, Anna shared her personal story of finding out she had cancer and how she and others responded. Today she delves into some of the impacts of going through treatment and resources she tapped into.
Anna, you talked about losing your hair from chemo in your story but how it is growing back now. A lot of people who go through chemo are afraid of losing their hair.
What was it like for you? How did you feel about it? What did you do to deal with it (some people wear colorful scarves, wigs, baseball caps and some just “go with it”?
I was nervous more than anything about losing my hair. At first, I wore hats indoors and at night because it was winter, but I got a wig soon after I lost it. I’ve actually never gone out without my wig, but I’ve seen people go out completely bald, which doesn’t bother anyone!
After I lost my hair, I didn’t think much of it. I just went along, and truthfully, no one knew I wore a wig except my very closest friends. This made me feel better about the situation, too.
How did having cancer impact your friendships?
Having cancer sure defines your great friends. I had a pretty good amount of friends before I was diagnosed, but I wasn’t close with them all. While going through treatment, I can think of four really great friends who both acted as if I were just living life with no cancer and had no problem asking me questions if they were curious. My two close friends had lots of questions about my wig (they must have been amazed) and my other two close friends asked how I was doing and always made sure I was feeling well. All 4 of them knew my chemo schedule and kept notes for me when I was gone. If I surprisingly showed up one day, they’d ask why I wasn’t at the hospital. That’s how well they knew my schedule!
Did you ever connect with other young cancer survivors? If so, did that help and how?
While going through my treatments, I met two girls who had Hodgkin’s like I did. One was a survivor, and the other was going through treatments around the time I finished mine. This did help me, because I learned how the survivor coped with the disease and I helped the girl going through chemo by telling her some things I learned through receiving my chemo. They were both such wonderful people!
Click HERE for the final part of Anna’s Interview as she reveals how surviving cancer has changed her life.