H. Alan Scott is a cancer survivor, comedian, writer, and actor and has performed at the Hollywood Improv, the Laugh Factory, Comix, Caroline’s on Broadway, and Chicago’s Lakeshore Theater. Scott is a featured blogger for The Huffington Post and recently started a new comedy project called #Chemocation about his experiences with cancer- the ultimate horrible house guest.
Tell us a little about yourself.
My name is H. Alan Scott. I split my time between Los Angeles and New York City and was diagnosed with Testicular Cancer two weeks after turning 30. Worst birthday gift ever.
No one expects to have cancer at a young age. What made you go to the doctor?
I was training for the New York City Marathon and had a pain in my groin. Originally I thought it was a hernia. Then the pain got so bad it was difficult to stand. My doctor originally assumed in was an STD (I wish, I could have used the street cred), but unfortunately it turned out to be a tumor.
Young adults have lots of unique issues to deal with. Are you dealing with any fertility issues, physical rehabilitation, fatigue, insurance or job issues?
All of the above! I froze my sperm near my Mom’s house so that she’d be near the grandkids. Now that I’m post-chemo I’m dealing with the typical problems, neuropathy in both hands and one foot, medical debt, dental issues, emotional anxiety balancing work and treatment. There’s a spot on my left lung that’s too small to biopsy but large enough to be something my oncologist wants to watch. This tiny little mark is on my mind every day, “Is it going to get bigger?” “It’s likely nothing.” “What if it gets worse?”
What does LIVESTRONG mean to you?
When I think of LIVESTRONG I think of support, education, and guidance. Initially I was turned off by the survivor/fighter types of language that is so often a part of the communication of cancer. If it works for you, great, but I just couldn’t relate to that. LIVESTRONG gave me the support I needed, the clear knowledge I craved and the guidance through this difficult period of my life, making it a little easier. Yes I fought it and am surviving it, but LIVESTRONG showed me how I could live with cancer with strength and honesty.
If you had one piece of advice for a young person just diagnosed with cancer, what would it be?
Go to the dentist before starting chemotherapy! I wish I had more of a grandiose piece of advice, but honestly, dental medical debt is one of my biggest expenses. OK, now I’ll be grandiose: There’s no one way to handle a cancer diagnosis, and there are so many people (including myself) sharing what worked for them, but in the end your cancer is unique to yourself. I created #Chemocation as a means to give people a label for my experience. My #Chemocation was the vacation I never wanted and the education I never knew I needed. Trust your instincts, your emotions, and what you feel to be right, doing this will help you get through the tough spots and come out living cancer free with strength.