Being a young adult with cancer comes with its own unique circumstances – and Lauren Leonard is no stranger to those hurdles. Diagnosed with stage IV primary bone diffuse large b-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma at 22, and now in remission, Leonard has faced challenges in all parts of her life as a result of her diagnosis as a young adult.
In a Facebook Live conversation with Karen Fasciano, PsyD, Director of the Young Adult Program (YAP) at Dana-Farber, Leonard and Fasciano discussed how Leonard coped with isolation and the feeling of being left behind during and after her treatment. She feels lucky that she had a support system of friends and family who were there for her when she was diagnosed. But, Leonard noted, while her friends were developing romantic relationships or moving forward in their careers, she was confined to her bed – and had to put her life on pause.
“I still felt alone, which was a really hard thing to understand at first,” she said. “I felt really stuck in my life, as I felt like everyone around me was continuing to move forward.”
Leonard offered advice for other young adults with cancer, including how to cope with emotional challenges and the existential questions that can come with a cancer diagnosis at a young age.
View the webchat below:
YAP@DFCI provides emotional support services, opportunities to meet other young adults receiving treatment, and educational programs aimed at enhancing knowledge and self-advocacy skills. Learn more.