is it like being kinda pregnant?

I spent the last six days in Austin, Texas, attending South by Southwest. There are three tracks (Interactive, Film and Music), and I attended the interactive one for work.

The most impactful panel was a little publicized, intimate panel on the final day called "Twittering Thru Chemo - Survivors Unite" and was moderated by Drew Olanoff and Brian Simpson (the former famous of the #BlameDrewsCancer meme on Twitter).

There was so much love and power in the room, and I felt it kind of wash over me when I got up to share my story, and ask for advice.

"I'm a melanoma survivor, and am currently dealing with the uterine cancer I was diagnosed with 4 weeks ago. We're trying to harvest my eggs via IVF before they take my uterus out on April 12. My question is more of a comment, really: every time I mention I'm a cancer survivor, I feel like a fake. A phony.

Like I only kind of have cancer, since both times we caught it really early so I never had to go through chemo or radiation. So I feel like a fake survivor. Kind of like only being a little pregnant."
Drew and I

Both guys were gracious and understanding, and made me feel better about my situation. Surviving's surviving, no matter how much -- or how little -- you go through, they said.

It was at that point that I began tearing up again. Why? Because I'm so caught up in taking my IVF meds and keeping the schedule for them straight, plus mentally bulking up for the hysterectomy, that I forget the reality of what's going on really means. Wanting to be a mom, and also dealing with the cancer once more.

I've been replaying the panel in my head since yesterday, and as I reflect, I'm thankful to Drew and Brian, who took time out of their busy life to make me feel a little better. :)


Afterword, Halle Tecco from the Huffington Post interviewed me for her article on the panel:

"Twitter Therapy: Cancer Patients Tweeting Through Chemo"

For the full list of panel comments, visit the panel hashtag list on Twitter.


Jackie said…
it's amazing the things you can get through in your life when you focus on the details of getting through it. and it's really hard not to let the big picture overwhelm you. but you have to let it sometimes.

you're doing it all beautifully - and that grace under fire is a valuable characteristic.

Unknown said…
Hey listen - No one in life goes through anything to the same degree. Every cancer survivor has a different story.

I feel the same sometimes about my two miscarriages. Like your cancers, they were relatively early. I did not go through stillbirth. But you know what? I hurt for my lost babies. I wish they were here. I am usually the only one who remembers on their angel days.

It's not the degree to which you go through something difficult that binds you to others. It's the experience itself. There is no membership form to fill out in these crappy clubs, life just sticks you there.

*Hugs* to you. We do the best we can. Consider for a moment the very idea that your cancers have not been crappy enough. Then smile at the absurdity of it all.

Kara DeFrias said…
Thanks ladies.

Linds - That's a good slant on it. Even though it's early uterine cancer, and I'm not doing chemo, I'm still having something taken away from me/out of me, so there's loss. Thanks.
Gingerbreadmama said…
I agree with the other commenters and don't think i could have said it any better. xoxo

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