This week, in partnership with the American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life of the LGBT Community, we are sharing stories of LGBT cancer survivors and friends. The LGBT community is affected disproportionately by lung cancer, prostate cancer, and cervical cancer. By sharing these stories, we hope to raise awareness of cancer in the LGBT community. To learn more, visit http://www.relayforlife.org/LGBT.
If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with cancer, call 1-800-227-2345 or visit cancer.org to find out how ACS can help.
My name is Daniel Seda, I’m from Raleigh, North Carolina.
I don’t think I would be the man I am today without surviving cancer, working through that process, seeing death at a young age and knowing that you have to live life, you have to be who you are, you can’t be afraid. I saw so many kids die. I had a really good friend who taught me sign language, and she had the same thing I had, which was acute lymphoblastic leukemia. And I didn’t understand that I was suffering so much. Why did I have to suffer? What made me so different? Why did she have to die? Why did I stay? Once you know what pain is when you’re young, it almost makes you be a little mad at you having to feel that pain as a young kid. Like, why can’t I just be normal? So that was pretty much the theme of my life growing up: Why can’t I just be normal?
Eventually after chemotherapy and radiation therapy, I got to leave the hospital and I got to enter life as a so-called “normal kid.” I was always the kid with cancer or was that fat kid or was the effeminate kid. I just wanted to fit in. There was one time when I was in the cafeteria–and I used to get made fun of a lot, you know, I had the bowl cut in the 90s, just after my rat tail phase, and I was really big, I was about 180 pounds in 8th grade. And one day I was in the cafeteria and I was eating my little sandwich and all of a sudden, out of nowhere, this huge thing hits me in the face and I’m like, “What is that?” Just out of the blue. And I was sitting by myself and I looked down on the floor and it was this banana. Like a nice, ripe, hard banana. And I look up and all I hear is this jeering all the way across the cafeteria and I couldn’t even see straight because my eye was just throbbing. And there were a lot of those situations where I was called “faggot” and called all these things, walking down the hallway and having the girls behind me be like, “He got so much sugar in his tank.” Because my butt was really big, it shakes when I walk. But you know, you just deal with it and eventually I just learned to laugh it off. And finally I said, “Waitaminnut, okay, so I have all these things going on that make me so-called ‘different’, might as well just embrace it.” So that was that.