I am deeply vested in multiple cancer organizations, each meets a different need I have. I advocate with an amazing organization, Cervivor. My family meets locally with support groups at a great facility, The Cancer Support Community. Both of these organizations that I participate with are intimately important to me. I don’t know where I would be today without Cervivor and the CSC. I didn’t know if there was enough space in my heart to let in another group. I didn’t know I needed to open up to another group. I thought I was totally fine. I was wrong. FD filled a void I didn’t even realize I had.
I was desperately missing out on authentic interactions with other young adults who have had experience with cancer. I didn't even know that it was something I wanted, I thought I was completely fine. I found out about FD by reading someone's blog while researching cervical cancer. One of the amazing experiences she had before she passed away was attending a FD1 experience. I immediately researched FD and applied. I honestly just wanted to go out and do something cool, I never imagined that I would develop such a bond with the people. I was thrilled when it came time to find out if I would get to attend an event and embrace their motto of #outlivingit. I thought it would be a lot of fun to learn to do something new and as a bonus I would get to meet some other people. I never imagined what I would take away from the week. If you know me personally, I am not a crier. I cried more after the final evening event at FD than I have my entire cancer experience combined. I wasn't ready to go back "to the real world." I'm still not ready. I'm here though. Moving forward and working to embrace my life, working to be out living it!
We spent a day "off the water" and our entire group headed out for a visit at Hawk's Nest and Mills Creek where we took an airtram ride down the mountain, hiked up, and spent the afternoon playing in the waterfall.
After the waterfall fun, our group split up and some of us went to visit the Mystery Hole, if you don't know what it is sorry. First rule of Mystery Hole is you don't talk about the Mystery Hole. We ended our afternoon off by visiting Fayetteville.
Each night we were greeted by our amazing chef and sous chef with the best tasting healthy food I have ever had. The amazing BissyLou and SouShee Not Fired were rockstars! FD even has a cookbook with amazing recipes available. They would come out to the porch and just make you feel at home. We would have time together as a group to be spent as we wished. There were many impromptu games such as volleyball, tetherball, corn hole, and I even convinced many of them to play Scattegories one night. We would finish our nights together with a campfire and each one was nothing short of amazing.
Although the time on the water in the rapids was amazing (I'm looking for a kayak now) what I took away from my FD1 experience is a family. I took away the FD Family Love. I will never forget the amazing things I was able to experience and I can't wait to experience more FD and get involved. I am in it for life now!
My heart absolutely grew while I was in West Virginia. It grew enough to hold all the participants, volunteers, camp leads, and guides. However, it also feels like it broke off into pieces too. As I was reading through the posts by my amazing FD Family I read one that really spoke to me, a quote found and shared by the amazing BissyLou: You will never be completely at home again, because part of your heart will always be elsewhere. That is the price you pay for the richness of loving and knowing people in more than one place. It is well worth the price, I think. I really couldn't have explained my feelings better than this. There was most definitely enough room in my heart for my FD Family, it just means my heart is spread across many miles. FD Love to my FD Family. Until next time. XOXO.