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Twittering Through Chemo - Survivors Unite

2010 SXSWi Core Conversation with Drew Olanoff and Brian Simpson

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is it like being kinda pregnant?

  • Mar 18, 2010

(Reposted from my blog, Casa DeFrias, at the request of @ariajuliet)

I spent the last six days in Austin, Texas, attending South by Southwest. There are three tracks (Interactive, Film and Music), and I attended the interactive one for work.

The most impactful panel was a little publicized, intimate panel on the final day called "Twittering Thru Chemo - Survivors Unite" and was moderated by Drew Olanoff and Brian Simpson (the former famous of the #BlameDrewsCancer meme on Twitter).

There was so much love and power in the room, and I felt it kind of wash over me when I got up to share my story, and ask for advice.

"I'm a melanoma survivor, and am currently dealing with the uterine cancer I was diagnosed with 4 weeks ago. We're trying to harvest my eggs via IVF before they take my uterus out on April 12. My question is more of a comment, really: every time I mention I'm a cancer survivor, I feel like a fake. A phony.

Like I only kind of have cancer, since both times we caught it really early so I never had to go through chemo or radiation. So I feel like a fake survivor. Kind of like only being a little pregnant."

Both guys were gracious and understanding, and made me feel better about my situation. Surviving's surviving, no matter how much -- or how little -- you go through, they said.

It was at that point that I began tearing up again. Why? Because I'm so caught up in taking my IVF meds and keeping the schedule for them straight, plus mentally bulking up for the hysterectomy, that I forget the reality of what's going on really means. Wanting to be a mom, and also dealing with the cancer once more.

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March 19, 2010
I have to tell you Kara, that you might not understand why I personally was so moved by this panel, but the one thing I took away from it was that cancer affects everyone, and everyone needs support. And after the panel was over, I felt so much support it was insane. And I thank you for sharing your story, both in the room, and here
March 18, 2010
Thanks so much for sharing this, Kara.  I heard this was a really good, inspirational one and quite possibly one of the best panels at SXSW this year.  Glad to hear that you got to share your story there.  By the way, take care and I hope everything goes as swimmingly as possible with your procedure :)
March 18, 2010
thanks for sharing this Kara.
More Twittering Through Chemo - Sur... reviews
review by . March 16, 2010
posted in SXSW on Lunch
This panel was POWERFUL!      I don't know how to begin to describe it, but it was like a huge group therapy session in the best possible way.      Here are some highlights    There was head shaving   Gary Vaynerchuk showed up and then tweeted this            Micah tweeted this            And Jeffery tweeted this            …
Quick Tip by . March 09, 2010
posted in SXSW on Lunch
I'm really looking forward to this panel. Both Brian and Drew's stories are amazing.
About the reviewer
Kara Vichko DeFrias ()
Ranked #16
Member Since: Mar 17, 2010
Last Login: Mar 18, 2010 11:16 PM UTC
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Event Description:Two to three days a week for months chemo was lonely - twitter was there for me 24/7. No matter how sick I looked my tweets were all smiles. Social networks united me with the outside world! We are the greatest club you dont ask to be in. Twitter united us.7Tuesday, March 16 at 12:30 PM
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Date(s): Tuesday March 16

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