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Big C in the V…


TRIGGER WARNING: (cancer and reproductive organs)


Well it’s always something. For the past month or so I’ve been going through the process of getting diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. It’s been a process that I will be writing about and documenting because I’m me and that’s what I do.


It’s hard to talk about having this. It’s even more uncomfortable to talk about having cancer in the places we rarely use the correct terminology to discuss or describe. This is vulva cancer. I’ll be sharing more information about it as I learn but from what I have recently learned it’s slow growing, responds well to treatment, and has a very high survival rate. It appears that I’ll just need surgery and it hasn’t spread so I likely won’t need chemo or radiation. I have my first oncology appt on Friday and I’ll know more then.


There’s so much to be learned by this process. And I already have a couple of ridiculous stories. I’m sitting in the duality of it all. It’s cancer and it’s in a very intimate part of my body. All cancer is bad but this cancer is not as bad as it could be. I’m grateful for that. I’m grateful for incredible medical care. I’m grateful for my loving and supportive family and friends. I’m grateful for the ability to learn, grow, and make meaning from this. And I have cancer so I’m also a little scared and I’ll never have not had cancer.


There’s lots more to process. I’m good at talking to other people about their bodies and I’m struggling to talk about mine. And - the reason things like this can get missed or we don’t know about certain things is because we don’t know how to talk about it. So I’ll be uncomfortable but I’ll say it. Vulva. Vulva. Vulva.


Also - every time over the past few days that I’ve said, “I have a little bit of cancer” to someone I spend the next few minutes shaking all over my body. I’m guessing that will get easier. I’m shaking right now.


My insight at this moment is this:

1. Check your bits and pay attention to changes. Don’t gaslight yourself into thinking something is nothing. Even if you’ve been medically gaslit you’re entire life and called a hypochondriac.

2. Tell your children to check their bodies and to be dialed in to changes. Don’t encourage them to dismiss or ignore things.

3. Have uncomfortable conversations.


I process difficult life stuff by being creative. I’ve been writing like crazy and I created a logo for my cancer journey. I’ve created a separate Instagram for insights and documenting. If you want to follow along you can do so at @BigCintheV over there. I realize this may seem weird to some and that’s ok. If you remember in my TEDx I talked about the importance of telling your story but also the power in humor. Don’t worry, I’m also processing all of the other feelings but laughing at this is going to be important for me.


I love you all.

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Emily Russo
Emily Russo
Dec 07, 2022

always doing the hard things with courage, and laughter. I hate this for you and I love you. I’m here for anything. 💕

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