10/01/2020 By Liza Marienthal
I was known as the girl with long hair and big eyes. “Lit’” is the first word I remember saying after I got the news. Why I’m not really sure but after being told by my primary care physician that I was either pregnant and lying, or I was really sick. I remember meeting my oncologist thinking I was going to die, he repeatedly told me there wasn’t much wrong, just a cyst and I was probably pregnant. Waking up from surgery he told me it didn’t actually matter if it was cancer because I didn’t need chemo and would be able to have my own children. None of which ended up being true, thus with the word lit my cancer journey began. Cancer stripped me of my identity and spat me out a stronger, funnier and an albeit more optimistic person.
GRYT is being diagnosed with old lady cancer at 21 (a month after your birthday), after watching your dad, grandma and nana die from this very illness.
GRYT is fighting with your medical team to be seen and heard and respected despite your young age.
GRYT is continuing to work during chemo therapy despite the side effects, and keeping a smile on your face during treatment. Or always responding with a joke when people give you those sympathetic eyes.
GRYT is saying I can deal with cancer and chemo but I can’t deal with you: when you just can’t find the right answers for everyone.
GRYT is finding yourself and finding your tribe from stupid cancer and finally realizing that just because you had this disease doesn’t mean it defines you.