4
February
#WorldCancerDay
#WeCanICan

Benjamin, Germany

All stories
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My name is Benjamin, I'm 27 years old and I live in a small town in the south of Germany.

Until college time, my life was pretty usual. I spent lots of time studying, so I didn't wonder why I was getting sleepy and powerless. Suddenly some friends started asking why I was so pale - I had not noticed the change myself.

Things got serious, when I noticed that I lost a lot of weight. So I went to the doctor a few times. Then there was this call one morning - my blood values were very bad, and I should go to a specialist quickly.

Up to this time, they thought it could be an IBD or something. So there were further blood tests, a colonoscopy, a CT and...on May 18th 2010, the diagnosis: advanced colorectal cancer, aged 20!

I can't describe exactly what feelings there were... I can't quite remember, I suppressed a lot of stuff.

The time between the diagnosis and the first surgery was a time full of tests and examination, conversations with doctors and nurses, tears and fear, despair and uncertainty.

I got a combined radiation and chemotherapy in preparation for the surgery.
But things even got worse.

My mom got the same diagnosis, while I was in treatment. No words can describe this. It was just incredibly terrible. I've no idea how my father keep things going.

So time goes by... my mum was operated on and myself too. She came out early from the hospital: the cancer had spread, there was further chemo needed. In my case, they could just remove the whole tumor - I was very lucky. But I got an ostomy - something I'd never heard of before.

Spring 2011: I finished first treatment.... "cured" they said. I couldn't believe it was this "easy". But my mom was still fighting.

In October 2011, there was a recurrence. It felt even worse then the first diagnosis, because I knew what it meant - nothing good.

So, for quite some time, me and my mother went to the same chemotherapy each week. For a long time, we thought we would both make it. My family, my father and my girlfriend were a incredible support for us.

There were more and more radiations, chemotherapies and surgeries... to make it short: it was a hard time, but we kept carrying on. I think I realised too late that things were getting worse for my mother.... she always cared about me, and didn't talk too much about her condition. She got sicker and the tumors kept growing... while mine was in a "stable" condition, under maintenance treatment.

And then, in 2013, there was this call from my father, that mom was coming home - that was her biggest wish. To be at home with the family.  Everything was arranged, but it wouldn't be necessary...
She died on Mother's Day 2013. 

I can't clearly say, if I can handle it yet, in 2017. Looking back, there is so much, I should have asked her, should have talked with her about. The farewell was way too early.

Arround this time, my doctors told me, that I was incurable. Not that I'll die soon, as chemo works very good under this circumstances. I feel quite fine, but some day, the cancer will proceed.

Many things have changed sinced then. But some haven't. Suprisingly, my cancer still remains quiet.  I responded to the colostomy well, and I got also an urostomy after another surgery - and that's the best choice they could make - to avoid  being incontinent.

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Late 2013, I started to read a lot a stories of other young people battling with cancer. I decided to write about my journey and my life with cancer and all of its consequences. I've met many younger people with similar experience: other bloggers, activists and supporters. And, I got some experiences with telling my story to magazines, newspapers, websites and even tv-shows.

I am very active in social media and try to help as many other patients I can.

I fight for better acceptence of ostomys.
I fight for more education about colon cancer and early detection, especially for younger people.
I fight for connecting young people dealing with the same issues of severe diseases.

I want to be a voice of young cancer patients and tell them that they are not alone, and they shall not lose hope!
And that life can be beautiful, even with a deadly disease!

No journey is too far when we keep togehter!

I am Cancelling Cancer
You can.
We can.