Liz in a neck brace
Don't let the photo fool you: this is standard protocol at Kaiser.

Seriously. When have I ever let anything get in my way when it comes to cancer?

There is the battle itself. Seizures. Surgery. Rehabilitation. Chemotherapy. I can handle it.

And now that I live with cancer I’ve transitioned into a passionate cancer advocate.

A few weeks ago a cancer-friend of mine, Kim, recommended I join the UC Davis Adolescent and Young Adult (AYA) Cancer Advisory Board. When I received the invite I was stoked! I felt like it was the next step in my journey toward cancer activism.

My first meeting with the board was yesterday. I heard they were going to be taking pictures so I dressed up nice. All day at work I had butterflies in my stomach–good butterflies.

Then out of the blue, halfway through my day at work, I was walking down the back stairwell when my right foot tripped and I tumbled down the last the last four steps–landing on a concrete platform.

Needless to say, this was incredibly painful. The stairwell is isolated and not used often so no one could hear me when I cried for help. I pulled my pant leg up and saw that I knocked a shoe off, and my ankle was bruised and bleeding. My nice pants were scuffed and my clothes were dusty. My fingertips, wrists and ankles were sore. And I was scared because no one could hear me, and I started crying.

I was crying not so much out of pain, but because I was shocked that I had just fallen down the stairs. And for some reason it scared me, and I was alone. It was just… weird.

After a while I made my way out of the stairwell and into Human Resources. They got me band-aids for my ankle and an ice pack.

Even though I was now with other people my heart was still racing–I was still scared and my hands were shaking. I took deep breaths, but my eye started flickering. I was filling with anxiety and kept thinking, “Oh no, what if I have a seizure?”

The HR people told me I should leave and go to the hospital to get checked out. But I couldn’t… today was an important day because I had to go to the UC Davis AYA Cancer Advisory Board meeting. There was no way I was going to miss my first meeting. I didn’t want to be a flake.

After dusting off my clothes and wiping the running make-up from my eyes, I looked presentable. With an ice pack around my ankle and a bottle of water in my hand, I headed off to the Board meeting.

I was shaking and in pain when I arrived.

But I laughed when I walked into the building… It is typical of me to fight hard and overcome anything when it comes to cancer. Even a tumble down the stairs can’t keep me down.

Four hours later I went to the Kaiser emergency room for a check-up and X-rays. Other than bumps and bruises, aches and pains, I am fine.

Only now is it time for me to take it easy.