At the end of August 2014, I moved from my home state of Minnesota to Southern California. I figured I couldn’t handle one more winter. I’d gotten into the best shape of my life and was excited to take off my shirt and walk down the beach, daily. And then, 1 1/2 weeks after I moved to California, I felt a lump. And then I found out it was cancer.
When I was first diagnosed with testicular and lymph node cancer in September 2014, my plan was to take it on as quietly as I could. I had a small group of less than 10 people that I was updating in a private email chain and I asked them to keep it to themselves. I had a touch of a negative outlook on people in general. I was never one to get excited over big family gatherings, to hear about what’s new in my extended family’s lives. I had a small, close-knit group of friends, and was really close with my immediate family. And I was happy with that. I enjoyed the loner life I had.
My mom suggested I at least start a CaringBridge blog so we could send updates to close friends and family. I figured it was easier than replying to a bunch of emails, texts and calls. So I set it up. And started writing. And I was blown away by the support.
If I didn’t think I’d hear from someone, I heard from someone. If I thought it would be a simple well wish, it was a personal message letting me know they’d be open to coming to California to hang, if I needed someone. I heard from my senior year prom date, and I literally hadn’t talked to her since I dropped her off at her house after prom in 2004!
I had an Instagram account that I was using to track my weight loss and fitness goals, @eric_t_glynn. So I started updating it with pictures as I went through chemo with detailed descriptions of how my battle was going. I was overwhelmed with thousands of comments of well wishes, people sharing their own battle, telling me they were thinking about/praying for me. All the love really helped me fight my cancer with flare.
After five surgical procedures and four cycles of chemo, I was told I was in remission on December 30, 2014.
The biggest takeaway from my battle was my outlook on people. That people step up and give you strength when you are weak, perseverance when you want to quit, well-received company when you think you want to be alone.
I wrote a memoir about my cancer battle, titled “Kicking Cancer : My Battle Told Through Social Media.” I combined the blog entries of my mom and I, along with Instagram content to tell my story of how much friends, family and strangers helped me in my bout with cancer. It’s going to be published sometime in April, and I can’t wait to show off how amazing my cancer army was. I also hope it will motivate others not to battle alone. You can do ANYTHING with a little help from your friends.