Gynecologic Cancer Survivor Stories

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The Trouble with Hope

by John Ptacek

I had a strained relationship with hope before my wife was diagnosed with cancer. To me, hope was a high waiting for a low, a fix with a nasty flipside. Far from the precious entity exalted by legions of poets and philosophers, hope was just another coordinate on the pain and pleasure cycle, existing in infinite balance with its opposite.

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My Doctor Fired Me!

by Michele Forsten

“You’re no longer my patient,” Dr. L, my trusted gynecologist of 15 years, told me. “Where do you want me to have your records sent?” What had I done to deserve this? Argue relentlessly about a bill? Get caught stealing K-Y jelly? None of the above. What I did was try to take care of myself the best way I knew how.

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Spring Fling

by Joanie Shawhan, RN

I do not send Christmas letters, not because I am lazy or too busy, but I rarely have anything newsworthy to share. I am unable to testify to the exploits of talented, gifted, brilliant, amazing, or perfect children, as I have none. I am not the proud owner of a clever pet, such as a chocolate lab that consumed a string of popcorn from the Christmas tree and carefully rearranged the cranberry strand over the bare boughs.

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One Hat, Two Hats, Red Hats, Blue Hats

by Joanie Shawhan, RN

My sister said, “We have to make this fun!” I had just had surgery for ovarian cancer. I was devastated, in pain, scared, and unsure of my future. The chemotherapy would make me sick and bald.

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That’s What Friends Are For

by Katharine Hoffmann

Just when life seemed a little too easy, I received a phone call from my doctor. She said the results from my Pap smear came back abnormal, but not to worry, “it’s probably just nothing,” she reassured me. The samples were sent to the lab for further testing, and a few hours later, I got another phone call. “You have Stage IIA cervical cancer,” my doctor told me.

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Changing Your Stars

by Michelle Whitlock

Star light, star bright, cancer came into my life one night. Initially, it turned my universe upside down. Cancer shook the ground beneath my feet and blinded my sight.

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My Cancer Journey

by Linda Townsend

May 2005 was when I first heard those life-changing words, “You have cancer.” I felt as if I was receiving a death sentence. My mother had been diagnosed with cancer at age 54 and was given a 90 percent chance of recovery. But she lost her battle just three years later.

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From O. R. to P. R.
How Cancer Taught Me to Pursue My Dreams

by Fran Di Giacomo

I needed to write a book, and I had every opportunity an author would need to fail. As a professional artist and career cancer patient I’d been on chemotherapy for five years. I didn’t have a computer, fax machine, cell phone, or college degree. I just knew how to juggle multiple tumors, surgeries, chemotherapy sessions, art galleries, portrait commissions, and armies of medical staff, and how to enjoy life.

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