In honor of National Young Adult Cancer Week, we are sharing stories of real cancer survivors ages 15-39 that have faced the disease and all the difficult aftereffects cancer can bring. Young adults face unique challenges that their older and younger counterparts do not: lower rates of insurance, finishing school, starting a career and preparing for having a family. Below is an interview from a young man named Woody Roseland. I met him after seeing his YouTube video “S#!% Cancer Patients Say” earlier this year and was impressed with his hysterical sense of humor. A big thank you to Woody for offering to share his story with the world. LIVESTRONG, Woody!
What is your name and where are you from?
My name is Woody Roseland and I am from Denver, Colorado.
What type of cancer did you have and how old were you when diagnosed?
I had Osteo Sarcoma (Bone cancer), I was diagnosed at 16 years old. I was training for football during my Jr. year of Highschool and a pain in my left leg turned out to be a bone tumor which required a knee replacement, and later amputation.
What did you notice about being a young person affected by cancer?
Being diagnosed at such a young age taught me that there is a significant difference between what my perception of having cancer was and the reality of having cancer.
It was also great working with all the pediatric cancer foundations. They have been an incredible resource for me.
Did you deal with fertility issues, physical rehabilitation, fatigue, insurance or job issues? How did you deal?
I dealt with all of those issues. The biggest thing that assisted me with these things is that I had a great supporting cast around me. Whether it was my nurse practitioner properly preparing me for what I was going to go through, My family helping me out while I wasn’t able to work due to treatment, my employer being understanding of my inability to work, or my parents helping me deal with insurance and bills. It also helped that I was still on my Dad’s insurance.
Do you notice any stigma surrounding your cancer diagnosis from your community? How do you deal?
With my diagnosis the biggest thing I had to deal with was educating those around me. People often hear or read incorrect information about cancer. So a lot of the time I spent teaching them about what cancer really is.
If you could give one piece of advice to a cancer survivor just diagnosed, what would it be?
Try not to concentrate on the big picture of doing X number of rounds and surgeries. Try to take it one day at a time, or one week at a time. Its much more manageable.
But first and foremost is that this is beatable and you can never start to think otherwise.