What Every Young Women Facing Cancer Needs
There was a moment immediately following the phone call where I was told that I had breast cancer where I became frozen. I stood, still on the phone with the nurse practitioner as she was telling me what I needed to do next, but I wasn’t listening (although I probably should have been). The world continued, almost in hyperlapse, yet there I stood watching it happen, unable to move. I had processed what she had said, but had no idea what that meant. Was I going to have to have surgery? Who was going to take care of me? What doctor did I need to find? Was I going to die?
These questions are so common following any diagnosis, but for a woman in her 30’s, being told that our lives are about to drastically change, there’s an element of surprise. For many women, our 20’s are for finding out who we are and our 30’s are meant for enjoying who we have become, and a cancer diagnosis really throws a wrench into all of that. Regardless of if you’re married, single, in a relationship, a mother, an auntie, cancer in your 30’s is a really difficult pill to swallow.
After the initial shock of my diagnosis had settled, I did what any woman would do, I hightailed it to my local bookstore to find a book that fit my needs. I was looking for books for a 32-year-old woman who just found out that her regularly scheduled life had just been interrupted and would, in actuality, never be the same.
That book didn’t exist.
I couldn’t believe that there was nothing available for women my age. Nothing to help guide me through this process. I wish I had known about Sharsheret. What the organization provides is EXACTLY what every young woman needs; support, understanding and answers that don’t come from an antiseptic surgeon. I feel so grateful to have found this amazing network of women at a point where I can be a sympathetic ear, a resource, a shoulder to lean on. No woman should have to answer all of their questions alone and thanks to Sharsheret, they don’t have to!
Meredith Goldberg is the author of, From Cocktails to Chemotherapy: A Guide to Navigating Cancer in Your 30s, now available.