Take What You Have and Build Community

“This, too.” ~ Tara Brach

Trevor Maxwell is one of my favorite human beings. He is a kind, connected, enterprising person who holds his family and friends at an extraordinarily high level. When Trevor found out he had stage four colon cancer at age 42, the pain of the illness was nothing to him compared to the pain his diagnosis placed on those he was closest to.

His first reaction when he got the news was to shut down, to remove himself from those he loved most. For a year after his diagnosis, he struggled through multiple surgeries and chemotherapy only to find out that the cancer kept returning. Trevor was in for the fight of his life but he didn’t want to fight. He wanted to crawl into a cave and disappear. Depression, understandably, overwhelmed him. But the bonds he’d formed over the years with family and friends meant that no one was ready for him to disappear. His wife told him simply, “You are still here. And you have to fight.”

Trevor is a professional writer and started writing his story, expressing his fears and his hopes. And he started writing to others on a mix of social media sites. Others found him incredibly helpful as he explained various options for those with similar cancer diagnoses. By reaching out, he gradually became part of a larger cancer community. And he started to connect in person with doctors and others in Colontown, “an online community of over 100 “secret” groups on Facebook for colon cancer patients and survivors.” You can find out more their site at colontown.org

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