Re "Big C in the course work," Column One, July 28
In September 2005, I had just returned to USC to begin a doctorate in gerontology.
As a 35-year-old mother of two young children and a former geriatric social worker, I was eager to begin my advocacy and academic career to impact policies and to help older adults.
But I found a strange lump in my neck. The next thing I knew, I was walking into USC Norris Cancer Center for some tests. The irony of going back to school to study aging, and ending up in the cancer hospital with "all those old people" just a few weeks later, was quite palpable.
However, cancer is not just for old people, and I now know firsthand the horrors of experiencing six brutal rounds of chemotherapy, being poked and prodded and left to wait for hours, and ultimately being treated differently by some staff because I was wearing a hospital gown.