a man and a woman hugging, between two palm trees, the man has a lei and a suitcase

We Don't Just Have Bladder Cancer, We Have a Life to Live

I recently had an opportunity to travel to the Island of Maui. I had never gone that far west and never to Hawaii. I was attending Project Koru, a camp for cancer patients who provide programs to inspire human connection and encourage personal growth and healing.

I needed to be re-energized

After a difficult 2019, coming off a very terrible stent with a potent chemo combination and then dealing with my mother being diagnosed with cancer, I was unquestionably in need of being inspired and healing. I needed to be re-energized and feel alive rather than getting up each day and going through the motions.

Dealing with anxiety

As a bladder cancer patient, I deal with anxiety often. I guess it could be due to dealing with frequent scan-anxiety, the constant worry of re-occurrence, the financial toxicity, and just the continuous C-word being in my head. Sometimes anxiety can get in my head to the point it starts to mess with my body, making me think I can't do this or I can't do that.

What if something went wrong?

As I was sitting in Dallas waiting to board my flight to Maui, my anxiety kicked into overdrive. I started to think of everything that could go wrong with my health, and what happened if something happened to my mom? I can't just jump on a plane and be home within an hour.

I almost let my anxiety win

Anxiety was trying to take over and stop me from getting on the airplane to Maui. I sat there and contemplated not getting on the airplane because it would be easier to go back home and let my anxiety win. Then I wouldn't have to worry about all the things that were telling me 'don't go to Maui.'

I felt empowered

I struggled through my fears and anxiety and boarded the plane to Maui. Once we started taking off, I felt empowered, powerful, charged, and there was this release of energetic energy. I knew I pushed forward and beat my anxiety telling me 'no'.

Nervous about what to expect

Once I was in the air, the next thing I was wondering was: am really going to this cancer camp with other cancer patients and survivors? I really had no idea what I was walking into once I landed in Maui. I had a packet of information that outlined what I needed to bring and what the itinerary was for each day.

Once I landed in Maui, I started to feel great as I walked towards the baggage area. Knowing I did not turn back because of my fears, I felt happy, excited, and I wanted to take in all of this adventure and all that Maui was going to offer me.

Meeting my Ohana

I met up with one of my camp counselors who welcomed me with a huge smile, hug, and the traditional Hawaiian lei. I also met one of my fellow campers who would become part of my Ohana (Ohana is a Hawaiian term meaning family).

I shared my journey to Maui with my camp counselor and fellow camper, and my counselor was very inspired by what I went through emotionally to get to Maui and how I pushed through my anxiety. All I could think about as I shared my journey is how I was going to celebrate in this gift of growth and life-changing adventure.

We can live better even with anxiety

I wanted to share my struggles with anxiety as, I can imagine, other bladder cancer patients deal with anxiety. Like myself, I encourage everyone to accept your anxiety and strive for the betterment of yourself. We, as bladder cancer patients, can have a life and live with our anxiety. Please read Part 2 of my Maui journey, where I will share why Maui was the place I developed human connections, personal growth, and inspiration to get busy living with bladder cancer.

Editor’s Note: With heavy hearts, we regret to inform readers that on February 27, 2021, Curtis passed away from stage IV bladder cancer. Curtis’s advocacy efforts and writing continue to impact many. He will be deeply missed.

By providing your email address, you are agreeing to our privacy policy. We never sell or share your email address.

More on this topic

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The BladderCancer.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Join the conversation

or create an account to comment.