This is a blog post by Laurie Edwards, my friend and author of Life Disrupted: Getting Real About Chronic Illness in Your Twenties and Thirties . I asked her if I could reprint it here since is related so much to the article I just wrote about “You’re too Young to be that That Sick!”
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Clearly I am passionate about the needs of younger adults who juggle typical age-related challenges like dating, marriage, building a career and starting a family—all with the added complication of illness. So when I heard about Kairol Rosenthal’s new book, Everything Changes: The Insider’s Guide to Cancer in Your 20′s and 30′s, I was excited to see someone else focusing in on the younger adult population…And interested to see where the similarities and differences in emotions and experiences between patients in her book and those in Life Disrupted: Getting Real About Chronic Illness in Your Twenties and Thirties emerged. “But you’re too young for this!” How many times have you heard this? Whether it’s a physician, another (older) patient, or even a well-intentioned friend or relative who says it, the effect is usually the same: it dismisses the reality that patient is experiencing. When it comes to diagnosis, that kind of attitude can be dangerous. When it comes to diagnosing cancer in young adults, it can be lethal.
One of the things I appreciate most about Rosenthal’s book is her blend of personal and patient insight—she traveled around the country taping interviews with many young adult cancer patients—with factual urgency. Young adult cancer patients are typically diagnosed later and at more advanced stages because they are “too young” for cancer, and some 70,000 young adult cancer patients are diagnosed each year.
Rosenthal lets these patients tell their stories in their own words, and steps in to include her own observations and experiences in each chapter. From navigating the dismal world of health insurance to employment challenges to the need to advocate for your own health, Everything Changes covers the topics most salient to cancer patients at this stage in life.