When I was diagnosed with cancer I was 26 years old.
I had a year of treatment, which left me to have a birthday about 3/4 of the way through everything. I kind of remember it, which brings me to this post.
After about eight months of treatments (chemo and surgery at this point) I was left with not a lot of strength, and my memory had been suffering quite a bit too. It was difficult to remember a lot of things, I was slow at processing data and I couldn't really get around very quickly on my own. Not a great place to be.
When my birthday did come (that August), I felt like I was turning 60 years old. To be honest, I couldn't even tell you today where I was at or what I did for my birthday I was in such bad shape. I think I was in the hospital for either chemo or because i was sick, but I couldn't say that for sure. This was the state I was in.
As the months went by, I still felt very old and slow. When I finally finished treatment I did start (am still) getting my strength back. It is a weird place to be really. Young but old at the same time. I know from speaking with other young cancer patients that this is not an uncommon feeling. You are young (age is more than a number for me) but you cannot do many of the "active" things that so many others your age can. It was quite a difficult and stressful time.
This year I will turn 29, and as odd as it sounds, I feel a bit younger with the last few birthdays. 28 was not great, I was still pretty tired and hadn't recovered totally and this year when I turn 29 I am sure I will still not feel as great as 26. I still feel physically slower than where I want to be (especially when I try to run, mainly because my leg still doesn't allow me to). I don't feel 60 anymore which is nice, I still feel older than I am, but younger by the year too as I eat better, exercise more, and keep moving forward with my rehab. If that makes any sense at all.