Well, yes, I am young. I was young at diagnosis. 17 isn't exactly an old age to get cancer. In fact, in my mind, I was probably younger than 17. I did, however, have to grow up pretty quickly, so it was a little stressful in that respect.
How I dealt with it was another story. When I received the news, I did cry. A lot. I cried quite a bit after the fact, when I was alone in my room. I was petrified of everything that was awaiting me, whatever that could have been. When I left the doctor's office, though, I had stopped crying and made all the phone calls I needed/wanted to make. I called my then-boyfriend, family, friends, church, etc. Everyone I trusted. I didn't, however, contact many people from school. I maybe told my closest friends, which consisted of maybe three or four people. My diagnosis was three days before graduation, so I kept it quiet. I didn't Facebook it until later on in the year, and even then, people were commenting saying, U HAVE CANCER?! OMG DORI R U OK!? Yeah. So, I didn't really spread it to the world until later.
If you're asking why, well, I'll tell you. Graduation was a big day, not just for me, but for everyone else in my class. I didn't want to ruin the day, nor did I want any pity hugs and false smiles. I just wanted to feel normal for a day without any drama. I didn't really even talk much about it at my graduation party. I only discussed it with people who asked me questions. These were big days for me, and I didn't want to feel like some alien, which is exactly what I felt like. Being with my friends and family and celebrating my success was normal to me, and I wanted as much normal as I could get until my surgery.
A lot of people were shocked I didn't tell them, like friends and acquaintances. But, really, understand this: cancer patients may not really want their business out there right away. It may take some time for them to grasp it and accept it. Sometimes people never do. Even now, I sometimes wonder if it really did happen to me, if I really did go through all of this. It's a lot to take in, and it changes your life forever. If I didn't get cancer, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't be the person I am today. I don't really even want to think of who I would be; it's not worth it. I wouldn't have been me, and that's what matters.
Telling the people I told right away helped me accept it a lot quicker. It gave me more of a reality check, and it kept me grounded. I wasn't in the clouds, thinking and wishing I was somewhere else or someone else. I kept myself in check, and told myself everything would be fine, even though it was so difficult to even think that at the time. "Fine" was simply my way of evading any "How are yous" and "How is everything goings." Each day, I just did my best to go about life as normal, and kept myself very busy. As things started happening, I just kept going. Sulking and sobbing was never an option for me; I never let it become one. Why bother? It does no good.
When I was student teaching my 6th graders, I came across a part in the novel Hatchet that really struck me. Brian (the main character), is crying "self-pity tears, wasted tears." What is the point in feeling sorry for myself when it would have done nothing for me?
As always, I wish you all love, happiness, and -- most importantly -- good health.