A few weeks ago, I had the honor and privilege of meeting Ayush Maheshwari who is the founder of the I AM BIG SHOW, which is a weekly web-based program that focuses on what is working in a big way. I AM BIG focuses on what makes everyday life extraordinary. Ayush believes that there is ‘ bigness’ in each one of us. The purpose of this weekly show is to bring folks from day-to-day life and talk about what’s working in their life, what’s working in their personal lives, what’s working with their careers and what’s working with their connection to the community.
I had the rare opportunity to be interviewed by Ayush for his show and blog for his website.
Check out the blog I wrote for his show.
Ayush— you are undoubtedly changing lives one story at a time.
Can we write our own story?
Yes we can. Our guest Jenna Benn, at the age of 29, was diagnosed with a rare form of blood cancer. One of the hardest three words one can hear in their lives is ,‘You Have Cancer’. This was not part of her plan. However, she took control and empowered her life. As a result, ‘Twist Out Cancer’ (TOC) was born.
TOC is a movement today and helps survivors and their loved ones combat the feelings of isolation, loneliness, and helplessness that often accompany cancer diagnoses and treatment. In other words, Jenna wrote her own story and continues to do so. It is our honor to have Jenna on our show. The post below is from Jenna to You.
Writing My Own Story
When you are forced to come to terms with your own mortality at a young age, the way in which you see the world inevitably changes.
Diagnosed with a rare type of blood cancer that affects less than 300 people in the United States, I realized fairly quickly that I had two options. I could either turn into a recluse and cut myself off from the rest of the world or I could write my own story.
The need and desire to write and chronicle what I was experiencing was almost instinctual. Within days of my diagnosis, I had started a blog that served as my coping mechanism and strategy for managing life with cancer. While the rigorous treatments rendered me speechless, I found my authentic voice through writing.
As I documented my journey, I started to realize that I was in a unique position to be able to raise awareness about the unique set of challenges and issues facing the young adult cancer community.
I tackled what it was like to feel betrayed by my body, the inevitable regression and dependency on my parents, and the eventual loss of my perceived femininity. In addition to these challenges, I also painfully opened up about what it feels like to lose your own fertility.
The more that I wrote— the more that I shared— the more I felt the world opened up.
I no longer felt burdened or smothered by my cancer diagnosis, but rather I felt an inexplicable sense of freedom.
Silence is what shames us and so I was screaming.
I chose to find my voice, I chose to write my own story, and I chose to twist out cancer because it was what was right for me. I can only hope that my choices and my story will be able to help others.