Facebook for 29 Year Old Cancer Patients

Prior to my diagnosis, I took a little hiatus from Facebook. I didn’t delete it, but I took the icon off of the home screen on my phone to limit the temptation of opening the app. I realized that opening it and scrolling through the feed had become a default robotic action during any stagnant moment in my day. It was distracting and unproductive. 

On top of that, my life was feeling stagnant. I wanted to find a house and move. I wanted to get engaged. I wanted to start a family. I wanted Brian to get off the hamster wheel that is his life at work and find happiness. Everything felt stuck. I was cycling through feelings of frustration, sadness, anger… all of which were perpetuated by the parade of engagement rings, weddings, baby pictures, and statuses on my Facebook feed that declared how wonderful everything was for everyone else. Don’t get me wrong, I know that most of those status updates are for show, but still.

So, I made the choice to stop with the Facebook nonsense. I gave it up for about 6 months. I put this image as the lock screen on my phone as a daily affirmation: 

Before long, I started to feel happier. I was better able to recognize all of the good, but it wavered from time to time. Not far behind me I could feel the frustration lurking.  There was nothing I could do on my own to break us free of our perpetual lull.

Warning: This paragraph contains spiritual mumbo jumbo that may be poppycock to some readers.

After my cancer diagnosis I began to question the reason for my cancer forming. I know there is no scientific evidence that says stress causes cancer, but maybe it can. My cancer formed in a very strange place. It was in the lower, inner quadrant of my left breast, directly over my heart. In my research, only 5% of cancers form there. Over my heart is an interesting place for cancer to be. These last few years have been some of the most stressful and heartbreaking I have experienced in my life. I started my first grown up job, which was rewarding but had tons of responsibility for a first year speech pathologist. My grandma died. My family was all spread out. All of these things together caused a peculiar stress response. I experienced persistent tingling and twitching on the left side of my face for about a year. It stopped when I began working out like a fiend. I continued to seek out change. I was praying/asking/hoping for something to shake up my life. So, my wonder is if this situation was the solution.  Or was this cancer formed, how and where it was, due to the heartache and strife that I’ve struggled with for years?

Just some food for thought.

Anyway, back to Facebook. I allowed myself back onto Facebook for the purpose of cancer support groups. As a result, I am exposing myself to my Facebook feed again. If I look too much, it plants a small seed of self pity. I’m even farther away from all the things I was asking for… except Brian. I think this shook us closer together than I could’ve ever dreamed of. In that respect, I’m luckier than all of those Facebookers.

As for the support groups. I have (remotely) met some of the most lovely, kind, supportive young women who are dealing with the same scary things that I am. On the flip side, I have to treat those cancer groups in the same way that I treat my Facebook feed, for the more I read the worse I feel. Note to self: Do not read about everyone else’s cancer. Panic will ensue.


5 thoughts on “Facebook for 29 Year Old Cancer Patients

  1. Sarah, I have read this particular post no less than a dozen times. I am hoping that I can push through this without shedding a million tears. No, not sad tears, very happy tears. I am proud of your strength and quick wit. But mostly the level of vulnerability that you so openly share. I knew I liked you the first time that we met, more than a decade ago. What I did not know was that I would grow to love you so much, the daughter I never had. I am deeply touched by the words that you choose to express your feelings for Brian. I am so grateful that of all the foods that Brian rejects, without even tasting them, that he does love grilled cheese. I look forward to the day that you become Sarah Stichter.


  2. There is a direct correlation between how unhappy someone is and how much they post on fb; ie the more you post, the more unhappy you are since you need the instant awknowledgement from others. Of course this is all in my very unscientific research… 😉


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