Entries Tagged as 'Life on the Hill'

How it Feels… to be Diagnosed with Cancer

7.15.2018

Story by Brianna Childers

In spring 2017, University of Kansas student Brianna Miller, a senior from Mission Viejo, California, found out she had cancer. This is how it felt.

The day I found out I had cancer, my doctor called me an hour before my American Lit final. It was May 12. I had been having swollen lymph nodes for five months at that point.

My biopsy, which my doctor at Lawrence Memorial Hospital had sent to Mayo Clinic, showed I had stage 2 Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. The doctors wanted to get a second opinion but there was a 75 percent chance it was cancer.

I quickly texted my parents and went to go take my final. The day the doctor called a week and a half later to confirm that I had cancer I was nannying. I called my mom right after because she had already been making plans with an oncologist just in case. It didn’t really hit me for quite a while.

I had been researching Hodgkin’s and found out that a lot of times, it’s a very quick treatment and 95 percent of the patients, within the first two rounds of chemo, go into remission. In my mind, I thought “that’s not bad.’’ It’s easy to think on the better side of things when you haven’t hit the reality of it yet.

But then we went out to The Hawk that night. It was dollar night and I just got so drunk. We went back to my friend Claire’s apartment and I cried for the longest time, mostly about losing my hair.

I flew back to California three days later and I didn’t come back to school until spring semester of 2018. My first day of chemo was June 22, two days before my 21st birthday.

A lot of people don’t know things about cancer other than it’s a terrible disease. When you think terrible, you think there’s gotta be something that tells you that you have it. All I had were lymph nodes in my throat that were swollen, so I thought maybe it was a thyroid problem because I felt perfectly fine.

They popped up overnight, one on each side of my throat over my collar bone. They were the size of ping pong balls. I also had a tumor in my chest that was 10 centimeters long, which is more than a third of the size of my chest.  That means it had been growing for at least a year for it to get that big.

I had no idea, which is funny, because when you have a cold, you feel like you’re dying but you have cancer and you feel perfectly fine.

My last day of treatment was November 21. There is a 30 percent chance the cancer will reoccur. There is a chance I’ll develop breast cancer or heart disease because of chemo. There is a chance I’ll get thyroid cancer or have thyroid problems because of chemo.

I used to be a people pleaser, but after getting a cancer diagnosis, you think “shit, I need to change things around and do things that are for me.”.  The rest of my life I’ll be living with “well it could come back” or “I could get secondary cancer” so you really have to learn to live every day as your last. People say that, but it’s true for cancer patients.

Heard on the Hill

5.06.2018

HOTH crop

  • “Dora the Explorer’s not a soap opera?”
  • “Why do you need condoms when you have Yu-Gi-Oh cards?”
  • “Classes are canceled again today and my ass is extremely saved”
  • “And then it’s probably going to end with the money shot with people tasting it.”
  • “Does anyone else think this doorknob looks like the Haunted Mansion in Disneyworld?!”
  • Person 1: “Bro I’m so hyped for BLT’s today.”
    Person 2: “Bro me too! Wait, BDSM is for lunch?”
    Person 1: “No bro, BLT.”
    Person 2: “Oh… do u guys like BDSM?”
    Person 1: “Nah bro, i just like missionary.”
  • “If he wasn’t looking so desperately for something to love him, he’d be a great time.”
  • “My dad was a pipe organ major in college.”
  • “Is North Korea the country that likes anime?”
  • “I’m so pissed I could shit myself.”

 

Social Media’s Comparison Effect Causes Feelings of Depression

4.12.2018

Words and photos by Ashley Hocking

During the 83 days between Thanksgiving and Valentine’s Day, I opt not to log on Facebook.

Why?

This stretch of time is also known as Engagement Season.

It’s nearly impossible for me to scroll through the feeds of my social media accounts during Engagement Season without seeing twentysomethings posting about their significant others popping the question, bridal showers, bachelorette parties and weddings.

Forty percent of engagements occur during Engagement Season, according to the Associated Press.

I’m not the only one who elects to avoid social media at certain times of the year. University of Kansas senior Megan Doolittle decided to avoid social media on Valentine’s Day after a recent breakup.

“I’m pretty sure he or his new girlfriend would have posted something, and I would have seen it,” Doolittle said. “It’s really hard when you’re in the midst of a break-up or even just feeling negative about your love life.”

5 tips for avoiding social media depression

1.     Aim to not judge others based on their social media presence.

2.     Try taking a break from social media or reducing your social media usage.

3.     Be authentic on social media.

4.     Embrace your imperfections. Every photo on your Instagram feed doesn’t need to be FaceTuned.

5.     If you are feeling depressed, seek counseling or professional help.

Social media is a modern day tool that enables individuals to connect with friends, but also impacts the wellbeing of those using it.

Social media may help us connect with friends, but it also can depress the hell out of us.

Social media depression is the act of comparing yourself with others based on their on social media accounts.

Research by David Baker and Dr. Guillermo Perez Algorta from Lancaster University in Lancashire, England found that there is a significant association between feelings of depression and negatively comparing oneself with others when using Facebook.

Doolittle agrees with the findings of this research.

“Seeing how other people portray themselves on social media can affect you in a negative way,” Doolittle said. “It can cause a huge comparison effect and make you feel bad about yourself.”

Doolittle’s mom advised her to take a break from social media after seeing the negative effects it had on her daughter. Doolittle deactivated her Facebook account and deleted the Instagram app off of her phone.

“Social media is very toxic,” Doolittle said. “You’re almost all the time better off without it.”

Instagram is the worst social media network for mental health and wellbeing, according to a 2017 survey by Time Magazine of 1,500 teens and young adults. This survey found that Instagram was associated with high levels of anxiety, depression, bullying and fear of missing out.

Social media depression and negative feelings associated with comparisons were some of the key factors that made Doolittle decide to scale back on her social media usage.

“When you look at someone’s social media, it seems like they have everything. They have a good job, a happy significant other, good grades, money and fun vacations,” Doolittle said. “Seeing other people are in a really cool location and you’re not there sucks. They’re going to this fun place, and I’m here just lying on my couch.”

Jeffrey Hall, an associate professor of Communication Studies at the University of Kansas, said that social media posts tend to focus on the positive moments in a person’s life. Hall is the author of over 40 articles and book chapters on flirting, relationships, social networking and Facebook.

“It’s not as normative to post negative things on social media,” Hall said. “You’re less likely to use social media to gain social support if you feel lonely or blue, than to advertise positive things.”

According to Hall, there are many people who consider curtailing their social media usage.

“Interestingly, a lot more people say that they would be interested in taking a break from social media than people who actually do,” Hall said.

Despite its negative connotations, people can use as a tool to combat feelings of social media depression. Researchers stress that social media can help people with depression if it is used as a mental health resource or a way to enhance social support.

“It’s very possible that you might turn to social media because you might feel like it might help to lift depression,” Hall said.

Heard on the Hill

3.11.2018

HOTH crop

  • “There’s this guy who hangs out at tonic and juggles completely sober. I think I’m in love.”
  • “I don’t drink anything that isn’t blue. Blue is my favorite color.”
  • “Man, I love Cedric the Entertainer.”
  • “And then it’s probably going to end with the money shot with people tasting it.”
  • “Yeah, I watch anime and I’m not ashamed of it.”
  • “I’m dating someone but he doesn’t know we’re dating.”
  • “Everyone picks their nose on their own time.”
  • Person 1: “I’m not a huge country fan.”
    Person 2: “This is bluegrass, bitch.”
  • “Okay, but Goldfish are GOOD for you”
  • “I hope people don’t get creeped out by how much I look at their kids.”

 

Heard on the Hill

3.04.2018

HOTH crop

  • “I’m sorry I got lipstick on your blunt.”
  • “Guys at K-State are so much hotter!”
  • “This dressing is dry, kinda like Hillary Clinton”
  • “Ah, he keeps bitin’ his wiener.”
  • “Yeah, I watch anime and I’m not ashamed of it.”
  • “You bit my ankle when you were blacked out last night.”
  • “I would say you and I must be watching different porn, but with the amount of porn I watch that is statistically unlikely.”
  • “It’s not probable cause if a dog’s sniffing your ass.”
  • Person 1: “Why should my tax dollars pay for your medical expenses?”
    Person 2: “Because, TODD, we’re trying to live in a fuckin’ society here so maybe be a team player for once?”
  • “Does your vagina ever fall asleep?”

 

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