My name is Janet, I was diagnosed with anal cancer in May 2011. Like many others, my cancer was misdiagnosed for almost 2 years.
I had 33 radiation treatments and 2 doses of chemo which were standard care at that time. I was embarrassed about this "lifestyle" cancer and angry that such a stigma was attached. When I googled anal cancer, I saw Farrah Fawcett - who died and HPV which linked the diagnosis to anal sex and promiscuousness. It was devastating! Not only did I have a rare cancer, but now the ridiculous assumptions about my lifestyle. I even had a physician I was working with make an insensitive comment. Uneducated idiots!
This cancer is NOT a lifestyle cancer and despite its negative rap, both men and women are afflicted with this cancer. HPV is often a factor and it would be great to track it down and blame someone for giving it to us, but it is so common that most people have had or carry some form of HPV in their bodies at some time. We are just the unlucky ones who developed the cancer.
I want to share a website that helped me so much! Blogforacure.com - Blog for a cure is an online website that allows people to identify with others who are suffering or have suffered from the same cancer. These loving people were so wonderful to me as I walked this lonely journey. I am Jana Lynn on the website if you want to read my journey. The Anal Cancer Foundation also has a great site and mentorship program, of which I am a member.
Today - I am a anal cancer THRIVER! I live a mostly normal life. I have some residual effects, but overall am able to do anything I want. I am very grateful. If you would like to reach out by email, text or phone please feel free to do so.
Here are my main tips:
* Accept NO SHAME - this cancer is like any other and can happen to anyone
* Ask for help, use the websites, support groups or any understanding people
* Just get through the treatment! It is brutal - but your body will heal
* Take pain medications - there is no need to suffer
* Listen to your body, hydrate, rest do as much or little as you feel like