My first month in the hospital I couldn’t help but notice a new ABC Family show was launching. A show about a 20-something writer, living in Boston, whose life is turned upside down when she is diagnosed with leukemia.
I threw my stuffed owl at the TV after watching the first preview. I was shocked someone was already making money on my story when it was just getting started.
Of course, I watched the first episode – and every episode since then. While I was disappointed someone beat me to my story, it was nice to have something on TV that showed a small piece of what life is like for a young adult with cancer.
Watching has given me an outsider’s view on everything that happened, I was allowed to re-watch the past year of my life – commercials included, of course. It has been a way to process the moments and feeling that I couldn’t while in the thick of treatments, as well as a way to face fears that I’ve been avoiding- although when brought up in a support group, we all agreed it wasn’t the easiest show for us to watch. But who doesn’t love an ABC drama?
Then Episode 10 happened. The episode when we discover her dad had been diagnosed with ALS. Hold up – sound familiar? It should: my mom passed away of ALS. How common is it for someone in their mid-twenties, in Boston, to be diagnosed with leukemia AND have a parent pass away from ALS?
Not very common, I’m guessing.
While I realize there have been slight differences – she has AML versus my ALL, her dad died of ALS versus my mom, she didn’t tell anyone when first diagnosed versus me having a friend and both parents there when it happened, she has a whole love triangle thing versus my stable relationship… but really?! Where are the video cameras? Who from ABC has been peeping into my super secret journals to find out what’s next?
I kid, of course. But as the season continued the coincidences were uncanny – though unfortunately, my hair didn’t grow in like hers. Sadly this is the last season, so we will never know just how close to my life they would’ve come.
In its short-lived two-season stint, Chasing Life helped shine some much-needed light on the thousands (millions?) of us out there who are dealing with these issues, as well as helped those of us who were still working through many of the issues the main character was facing. While I may still be a bit jealous they shared part of my story first, I look forward to continuing where they left off and hopefully shining an even brighter light on young adults with cancer and what we go through.