Every year on the first Sunday of June, the world celebrates Cancer Survivors Day. A Life in a Day talked to the cancer survivors that have contributed to our immersive experiences. They shared their deeply insightful stories about their own cancer journey and what they experienced from diagnosis through to treatment and recovery.
Read also: MEET THE PATIENT JO: A CANCER SURVIVOR
A Life in a Day have founded a patient community from the people who were generous enough to share their stories of living with cancer. They revealed the truth about how the diagnosis, disease and recovery has impacted their families, social lives, relationships and daily routine. We would like to share some of their stories.
Cancer Survivors Day: Real Stories by Real Patients
The disease is just the start of the journey. However, during the recovery and beyond the patient can face many new challenges.
62-year-old cancer survivor Victoria shared with us that she still feels anxiety and some nights she cannot sleep.
“In the early days after I was diagnosed, I could not sleep at all. So many things were going on in my head. What did the diagnosis really mean? What did the future hold for me? How bad is it going to be? What’s going to happen to not only me, but my family too. I just could not turn it off. Somehow, and I don’t know how, I got myself through that but still now I have nights when I don’t sleep very well because I’m anxious,” – Victoria said.
John who was diagnosed with kidney cancer told of the intense impact he felt when he received the news about a malignant tumor on the right kidney.
At this point my world stopped. Everything else the consultant said to me was just a haze, like I was walking around in a daydream. The only two questions I managed to utter to my consultant were ‘Do I have cancer?’ and ‘Am I going to die?”
53-year-old Daniel remembers that one of the most frustrating aspects was the waiting.
“Waiting for appointments, waiting for scans, waiting for blood tests, waiting for results, waiting for diagnosis, and then waiting to start treatment. Cancer patients are on limited time, and we waste so much of it waiting,” – explained Daniel.
“I don’t trust my body anymore”
Another patient shared that he never had any major symptoms, and his original diagnosis came as a complete shock.
“After that I don’t trust my body anymore, so waiting for results is always terrifying even if I feel fine.” – he added.
Important: screenings are one of the most important things we can do for our health – they can help us find problems early on, when they may be easier to treat. All contributors of immersive experiences in A Life in a Day advocate this.
One of the A Life in a Day journeys is focused on the experience of a breast cancer patient.
Breast Cancer: What Changes After the Immersive Experience
A Life in a Day team went through the breast cancer immersive experience and lived for 24 hours in the shoes of a patient with breast cancer. Our colleagues shared what they will do differently after going through the experience:
When we developed the A Life in a Day experience, all the patients that we spoke to had discovered the lump completely by accident. So, what I want to be doing differently is checking myself monthly and I am going to pass the information about how to do it to the people that I love”
Our Client Relationship Manager Cora Graham said that after going through A Life in a Day experience she faced difficult news – her best friend was diagnosed with breast cancer.
When she phoned to tell me, I had already gone through experience, so I was able to give her far calmer response and support"
Managing Director of A Life in a Day Kate Jackson shared that on the next day after immersive experience she checked her breast and reached out to all her family to make sure everybody does it regularly.
The last thing I wanted was for anybody I love to have to go through the same experience"
Digital Marketing Manager Nick Lester told us that after the experience he immediately called his mum.
She was diagnosed with breast cancer several years ago. And once I was aware of metastatic breast cancer, I realized the importance of aftercare support. Not only from the professionals but from the friends and family"
What will you do differently after YOUR A Life in a Day experience? Watch our video now