← Return to Living with AYA cancer: Introduce yourself and meet others

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@colleenyoung

@jessica0, I'm sure you and @haileyc and @stephtubman have immunotherapies experiences to share.
I bet your son and daughter are your inspiration and distraction from cancer. But I can also imagine that discovering cancer while pregnant compounds all the worries of both cancer and parenthood. Where did you find your emotional and mental support?

Hey @taybro4, congrats on finishing school and your activism. I hope you'll let other AYAs at BTM know about the Mayo support group here and the Zoom meetings. COVID has interrupted life for everyone around the globe, but for the pandemic to hit just as you were figuring out post-treatment life is also a double blow. Has the fact that the world kinda stopped or slowed down, too, been helpful and given you more time to reflect and make a plan? Or has it been like holding back a bull ready to get out of the pen? What did you study as ASU?

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Replies to "@jessica0, I'm sure you and @haileyc and @stephtubman have immunotherapies experiences to share. I bet your..."

Thank you! I have found a few friends with chronic blood disorders within my BTM connections, but none that are on track for transplant or have a cancer diagnosis at this point. I am always happy to share about this group with those who would benefit.
I think that COVID has definitely slowed down my progress and your analogy is on point! I had to stop shadowing a doctor and some of the activism I was doing was also paused. It made me pivot in my plans. Instead of applying for medical school right away, I decided I would try the workforce first and in a couple of years I would decide if it was still something I want to do. I just actually accepted a job at the NMDP/BTM so I am so excited I get to continue this work and have found something amazing to be apart of even when the world is paused. I will get to contact, educate, and help our donors that are identified as matches. And if I ever do decide to apply for medical school, I believe I will be more ready, mature, confident, and prepared.
I studied biomedical engineering at ASU, so by the time I got sick I already knew a fair bit of biology and tried to look at my illness as a case study at times. I have learned so much about hematology and the whole experience has really shaped my goals for my future and my career.
Even though covid slowed everything down and brought a lot of the same anxieties about not working towards my goals that I had when I first got sick, I feel I am in a good place now and have made the best of my situation.

I didn’t know I had cancer till after I delivered my daughter which looking back was a blessing because I don’t think I would have wanted to know while pregnant. I had to really lean on my husband, mother in-law, and father in-law to take care of my kids and I got to just come along for the ride.
I didn’t really have a particular mental or emotional support resource, but I would share whatever I was going through with my closest family. My husband is definitely the one who took on my most honest moments. Also just playing or holding my kids was a huge stress relief for me too. My goal was to be here for their next birthdays and to do normal things that mom’s do independently.

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