Facing Cancer in Your 20s by Suleika Jaouad


Life, Interrupted: Facing Cancer in Your 20s


Suleika Jaouad
Emma Dodge HansonSuleika Jaouad
Suleika Jaouad writes about her experiences as a young adult with cancer.

I was so excited for what lay ahead, I nearly forgot to wave goodbye to my parents. Armed with a college diploma, my first job offer, a one-way ticket to Paris and a new pair of heels, I was ready to take on anything. Little did I know, I would be back in New York seven short months later. But my parents would not be taking pictures at the airport or chatting about my future plans. I would be in a wheelchair, too weak to walk.

In Paris, the doctors had struggled to make sense of my symptoms — anemia, fatigue and persistent infections. They ran test after test — I was even hospitalized for a week — but the results were inconclusive. I was just 22, but the doctors released me with a diagnosis of “burnout syndrome” and orders to rest for a month.