Social media. A platform that women in Miami and a lot of other cities across the world use to show their assets. And by assets I mean they really do show their ASSets. Check on Instagram, and the majority of girls are posting half naked selfies of their butts in thong bikinis, and pretty much in bras. If they’re not posting selfies, they’re posting pictures of their hand bags, material goods, watches, or on some 80 year old man’s private jet. Or even bragging about how “perfect” their lives/boyfriends/husbands are, how “blessed” they are, or whatever bogus crap they want to post about to boost themselves up. Instead of turning next to the person we’re laying next to in bed to say I love you, we live in a society where we feel the need to showcase our feelings to 1,000+ strangers on social media, who truly don’t give a crap about how we feel on any given day. Is it to make people jealous or is it to hide an insecurity that we may have? It’s very clear that a lot of people use social media to fulfill their need for confidence, and use it as an outlet to show their bodies and their possessions for likes and comments. In my generation, people post to paint a perfectly handcrafted picture of their life or the life that they wish to portray in the eyes of others. They don’t post their actual reality.
I was very hesitant to start a blog and go public with my Lymphoma cancer journey, not only because I’m usually very private, but because of how social media is portrayed, in the exact manner listed above. I know that people post things on social media for attention, and I didn’t start this for attention or for people to feel sorry for me. (Enough people feel sorry for me hahaha! My mom literally told every person in my building that I was sick. Sorry mom you’re getting called out because if you do that again in my new building, you’re toast!!) I originally posted my blog with my first post being my story of what happened to me, because I was sick of explaining it to everyone, and at the same time because I was angry and I wanted to create awareness.. because you always think that it won’t happen to you. Until it does. I shared it, my friends started sharing it, and it went viral. So many people with similar stories reached out to me, who are survivors and fighters. I kept writing not only as an outlet for myself, but to help others who are on the same Lymphoma cancer journey, since when you have cancer, your doctors don’t give a shit about your hair falling out or your panic attacks, and side effects, they just want to cure you. Those are first world problems to them. For us cancer fighters, these things are trivial to our docs, but not to us. Oh, you can’t feel your hands or feet? No big deal, it’s just a side effect of Vincristine or Procarbazine. You can’t walk? No big deal, go to physical therapy (as they put a bright yellow FALL RISK band on me. Like come on doc, I’m trying to pick up cute residents and you’re single handedly killing my game with this neon bracelet.) I use my blog and my Instagram account as a way to motivate other Cancer patients, which is exactly what it does. I’ve connected with SO many amazing people through Instagram who have Leukemia, Lymphoma, even Colon Cancer, all from them reading my blog. I talk to all of them a few times a week and it’s amazing. It’s like having a cancer army. I receive so many touching messages from a new handful of people daily that bring me to tears, because we are all straight up going through the same thing. States away, even countries away. I reply to every single person, because I think it’s so important to try to help as many people as I can, and they help me too. We all learn something from one another. THIS is what I think social media should be used for.
No, I’m not just posting selfies of me in different wigs. It’s not about that. I’m not posting pictures bald for attention, I’m not like that. Believe it or not, these images give other cancer fighters the courage and motivation that they need to try and be okay with their situations. I’ve been through absolute hell within the last 4 months, so I understand everything that someone who was just diagnosed is going through. I can help them get through it. In a strange way, cancer connects people, no matter what country you live in. I used to cry every single day for 14 days straight as my hair fell out in chunks. I sat in my bathroom and looked in the mirror, and cried. I didn’t know how I would survive at the time. That one picture of me with no hair can change someone’s attitude and ultimately save someone’s life, and realize that it’s okay, and they aren’t alone. It helps people continue to fight. When you put on a wig, it’s extremely difficult. Your friends and family can tell you “at least you don’t have to do your hair every morning” but the reality of it is that I would cry every time I put mine on during the beginning. It’s not your hair, and it’s a daily reminder that you have cancer and you’re fighting for your life, and you’re embarrassed, it brings you to tears. Those pictures of me wearing 5 different wigs gives cancer fighters the hope and courage to realize that other people are going through the exact same journey and it’s okay, and they will survive. They will eventually develop the courage to have fun with their situation.
I feel that creating my blog and helping raise awareness is by far the best thing I’ve done so far in my life. The feedback and connections I’ve made have been beyond rewarding. I have an amazing support system and I’m so thankful for all of my friends and family, but at the same time, they can only take so much, and don’t fully realize what I’m going through. The things that you go through during chemo and radiation can’t be understood by people that have never experienced them. To be honest, I don’t even think doctors fully understand what it’s like. That’s why it helps to connect with people who are going through it, and who have been through it. So many times I have felt like giving up, SO many times. Even now, sometimes I feel like it’s a never ending journey. My hair obviously fell out, but when my eyelashes and eyebrows all went too, it was traumatic for me. I didn’t leave my house for a week. And then two of my chemo drugs messed me up so bad that I couldn’t walk. I would be embarrassed to leave my apartment because I would literally fall down multiple times, every time I tried to walk. I drive home after radiation only to have to pull over on the side of the road to vomit, unfortunately only someone going through this can understand. I thought I would be done with chemo now. I’ve had set backs, and even last week, I broke down and started crying at my Doctor’s appointment when he told me that our plan is to finish 20 cycles of chemo and two more cycles of chemo, then do a pet scan and pray it’s clear. All I want to be able to do is return back to the job that I love doing. If my scan isn’t clear, they send me to transplant. It’s hard not knowing what will happen, and my cancer friends through social media help motivate me in a certain way when I vent about this, because they’re going through it too, or have been through it. So at the end of the day, we help each other.
The type of exposure that I’ve been receiving also brings a lot of fake and opportunistic people around, because I’m doing something good, and they want to be a part of it. I can’t tell you how many insincere people have reached out to me. People have come out of the wood work, they want to hang out and take pictures with the girl who has cancer and comment on social media posts, to make themselves feel better or look like a nice person on social media..because everyone knows I’m sick. Girls I haven’t talked to in years who don’t even like me, they actually can’t stand me, are trying to comment and reach out. An ex who never even gave a shit about me either is trying to act all “concerned” to make himself feel better, people who just weren’t even part of the last 4 months of my crazy journey, or people who came to see me in the hospital then disappeared, are suddenly wanting to hang out, once they see the social media exposure. Not knowing I’m doing this to HELP people, unlike them, and not for attention. Where were these people when I was in the hospital or stuck at home bed ridden for the last 4 months struggling with chemo and radiation and relapses? You know who you are, and I definitely know who you are too. People with Cancer are smarter than you. We’ve been through all of the bullshit and we see past it. We also won’t think twice about you, just know that we totally get it and what you’re trying to do. It doesn’t phase us.
In summary, social media has its positives and negatives. I hope to continue to use it as a platform to spread awareness and help others. No one fights alone. No one. No one should ever have to fight alone.
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