Woman kayaking down a mountain on top of the world

The Trip That Changed My Life (Part 1)

While I was going through chemotherapy I was religiously reading a woman’s blog who had received the same diagnosis as me, but was about a year ahead of me and done with treatment. I had about two months to go when I read one of her blogs about how hard life after cancer had been for her. I remember being so confused by that because for me, life after cancer was going to be amazing. I couldn’t wait to get to the other side of treatment so I was confused when she was talking about all the struggles she was going through.

Fast forward a few months and I found myself in her exact position. There’s a lot to deal with after cancer and, despite the warnings on the blog I had been reading, the difficulty of life after treatment took me by complete surprise.

Finding the support I wanted

So many people told me to join a support group or reach out to others going through the same thing as me. Although I’m sure it would’ve been beneficial, that was the last thing I wanted to do.

I was forced to find other ways to cope because let’s face it, nobody can go through this alone. I made a lot of friendships and connections online with others going through a similar battle. That is one of the great things about social media. It allows us to easily connect with people we can relate to.

One of the people I had met online told me about a group called First Descents. It’s a non-profit organization specifically designed for young adult cancer survivors/patients. They provide men and women in their 20s and 30s with a free, all inclusive trip! These trips always involve some kind of activity such as kayaking, rock climbing, or surfing. It almost sounded too good to be true, but I applied for a spot immediately. It didn’t take long to get approved and shortly after, I booked my trip to Hood River, Oregon for a whitewater kayaking adventure.

A whole new perspective

The time finally came to get on the plane and travel across the country for this exciting adventure. I was starting to get nervous, but I had been looking forward to this trip for so long that the nerves were overshadowed by excitement.

I spent a week with about 13 other young adult cancer survivors, all living under one roof, and it was the greatest experience of my life. I entered that house as a stressed out, overwhelmed, confused, and depressed cancer survivor, but I left feeling like I was on top of the world with a whole new perspective on life and some new friends.

If you’re interested in learning more about the trip, read Part 2 and Part 3!

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