Cancer leaves a lasting mark on an individual, even for those who live with the promise of survival. The unfortunate reality is rooted in coping with the thought of it returning and the battle ahead, the combination often causes depression and anxiety. This inspired me to create an online community known as TreatmentDiaries.com, to support people living with any type of chronic illness along with those who care and advocate for them.
In 2004, at 41-year old I was diagnosed with melanoma, a term I had never heard before. In an attempt to calm my fears, I searched the Internet to learn more about the stage-three skin cancer I was up against.
What I found was a lot of negative news. There was not a lot of good information about the prospective of beating the odds. I think I went into denial after that. It took me a few days before I could even accept the diagnosis.
Today, I consider myself lucky. Seven years after the jarring diagnosis, I am cancer free. But there is something about battling this illness that has never left me.
It’s constantly something that’s always top of my mind. I have experienced reoccurrences of skin cancer but nothing as severe as the melanoma I fought in 2004. I think once you’ve had something as life threatening as Melanonma, you’re always worried it will come back. It’s something that becomes a part of you.
Understanding first-hand the amount of support those dealing with complex medical conditions need, I wanted to help others so I created a web site that can build a support network for those who need more than a physical support circle, or want a little more anonymity, or just need support on a more regular basis. Members turn to the TreatmentDiaries site to share their thoughts about the medical battles they’re fighting privately or publicly through condition-specific web pages that connect members sharing similar medical struggles.
For me it's about never feeling alone again, no matter the condition, stage or prognosis. Patients, caregivers, family members and advocates all need to feel support and inspiration from those who can identify with their journey. I am thankful for my cancer and the opportunity it has has given me to make a difference in the lives of others.