20. The real side effects of cancer

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In this episode, Dorothy explained what it was like to be diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 26 and how being at high risk for developing ovarian cancer within the decade made major life decisions incredibly complicated for her.

Before speaking with Dorothy, I didn’t fully understand the unique challenges young adults face when they are diagnosed with cancer. Because my dad was already in his 60s, he didn’t have to deal with how cancer could have impacted big life decisions like finding a partner or having children. Retirement was the only key decision on the horizon for him and that was really a no-brainer.

So it’s been really eye-opening and humbling for me to hear about how cancer has complicated Dorothy’s young adult years – having to live with fear, anxiety, and guilt. It’s amazing how she has moved through all of that and is now channeling her energy towards doing things she wants to do in life, like writing a book and starting the foundation to help others dealing with cancer.

The other thing I really appreciated about Dorothy is how perceptive she is of the experience for her husband as a co-survivor (which BTW is a new term for me). It’s very apparent that she cares deeply about how he’s impacted by the experience of her cancer journey and this incredible empathy really has served as the foundation on which they continue to have tough conversations and grow together.

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