StoryCorps at SHC: Christina Tecson and Karen Newcomb

You just connect in a deeper way with other people.

Christina Tecson (CT): I kind of had a little attitude when I came in, because I didn't think it was cancer. It's like, this is just going rule out cancer. So when I checked in at the desk, I was like, "Oh, so are they running on time today? Because I, I just like have an hour during my lunch break." And, and I think they, they went back to talk to the doctor and, and, you know, checked on that. Because they knew that I was the girl that they were going tell she had cancer that day.

My first thoughts and feelings were denial. They say, "That's, that's common." I mean, now I look back and laugh about it. I had the ultrasound, and I didn't know, but they knew from the images that it was cancerous. And so it was a nurse that told me before the doctor came in to prepare me. And yeah, I just told her, "Well, you don't, you don't know, yeah, you don't." Because in my mind I thought you needed to biopsy the tumor, or whatever they find is to determine if it's cancerous. And I, so I didn't realize that they pretty definitively knew from the images that it was already cancer. So I kept telling them, "Why, why are you telling me this now?" Like don't-

Karen Newcomb (KN): It’s almost like it didn't make sense.

CT: Yeah. Don't, don't, you have to do the biopsy. And, they were awesome about it because they knew it would help me accept it. This was on a Thursday, and they scheduled the biopsy next day for me. They-

KN: You didn't have to wait too long.

CT: I didn't have to wait. Stanford was on the ball. I, I wasn't one of those people that had to get like two or three opinions for whatever reason, I just, I got a good impression from my doctor, figured she knew more than me. At that point, early on at least, I just wanted to get started and listen to my doctor. I didn't even really want to read up on that much about cancer. What gets you through treatments is knowing that treatments are going be over, you know, in, in most cases, treatments will be over. You can get back to your normal life.

My biggest fear, I guess was how is this going to change me? You hear all these people that have, that have cancer and they do a different diet now, they, I don't know, have to do things, there's things they can’t do and shouldn't do.

KN: How is your life going to be different?

CT: Yeah. It, it was kind of more in the long term. Like my life is going just fine, I don't really want to change anything. I just want to get through treatments and go back to normal life.  My concern, my biggest concern at the time, which seems silly was just, oh I'm gonna lose my hair, I need to get a wig. I actually had a blonde wig that my cousin lent me. Somebody even lent me a red wig, red hair, long red hair. As silly as it is, that, when I was going through treatments that kind of made it fun. Sometimes I miss my wigs, just being able to go out and yeah I had my everyday wig, that I wore for work and other places, but for the most part I tried to just look like my normal self.

KN: Whatever that was.

CT: Yeah whatever, whatever that was the same sort of hair color and shading.

And it is going to change your life. But a lot of it is for the better you'll like yourself more. You'll have the confidence to do things that, you know, it's that voice in the back of your head that a lot of times you ignore. But you'll, you'll make a point to do some of that stuff. It's not that I was an unhappy person before but now I'm, just I feel like I have a lighter spirit. I make more time for people, to connect with people. I'm a more spiritual person. I do speeches for American Cancer Society. I found it amazing like how people open up to you when you're willing to share, like some sort of struggle. You just connect in a deeper way with other people. So that's actually been really gratifying, and it has been a big, a good presence in my life. This is a time of my life I'm not going to ever forget. So, let it be the story that you want it to be.

Sound Editor: Gabriel Maisonnave

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