For a list of survivor stories by cancer type, click the Type of Cancer and follow the link at the bottom of the page.
The Night the Lights Went Out
by Kate Cassorla
Eleven months after my non-Hodgkin lymphoma diagnosis, I awoke in the middle of the night to a power outage. Assuming that the whole neighborhood was without electricity, I set the alarm on my cell phone and went back to sleep. When the alarm rang, I proceeded to my eldest daughter’s room to wake her up for school. Oddly, her bedroom had power, as did all my neighbors’ homes.
My Cancer Philosophy
by Liora Hess
In the spring of 2007, about a month before my 39th birthday, my reading shifted to spiritual topics. I started meditating daily and began a serious effort to de-clutter my home and simplify my life. Looking back now, I see that I was anticipating something, though I didn’t know it at the time.
The Road From Grief to Grace
by Nicole Zechella
One week after my 30th birthday, I was told I had a large melanoma in the center of my back. The dermatologist informed me that I had an appointment for that afternoon with a surgeon to discuss the next step. My denial started as soon as I hung up the phone. Like in the movie of the week, I found myself in front of a very impressive, degreed doctor nodding on autopilot as he told me directly, clearly, quietly, “Nicole, you have cancer.”
Time to Fly Away
by Rob Wahrhaftig
My eight-year-old nephew Steve often asks me, “Did you get out of cancer yet?” I tell him that you don't exactly “get out” of cancer, that it's not like being in a jail. A jail is where you are put when you have done something wrong, and people with cancer have not done anything wrong. No, having cancer is more like being stuck in a barrel.
Waiting All of My Life
by Theodore R. Westfall
The nagging pain had been distracting me for over a week. Laura, sitting next to me, had been distracting me much longer. When we arrived back to my apartment, I winced as the nagging pain worsened. Laura urged me to see a doctor as soon as possible. A colonoscopy confirmed that a large polyp had penetrated the intestinal wall. I learned that it had been there for possibly ten years. I was diagnosed with Stage III colon cancer.
What Kind of Survivor Do I Want to Be?
by Louise Shelby
When I reached adulthood after surviving childhood cancer, I had to deal with many of the long-term effects of my treatment. There was always another conundrum that couldn’t be solved. At times, it was overwhelming to know that so much was wrong with me. I talked to other survivors who felt the same way. Some were full of anger; others had become mired in the anguish of their cancer situation.
If You Teach a Man to Fly-Fish …
by Patrick Case
The discussion at our first Reel Recovery “Courageous Conversations” meeting at the Big K Guest Ranch in Elkton, Oregon, started easy enough – our facilitator, Coy, asked each of us to state our full name. That done, we were each asked to share a story about our first fishing experience. Also easy enough … but it didn’t take a particularly bright person to see this was only the prelude to discussions of the real reason we were here: cancer and its impact on our lives.
by Patricia Bateson
The date October 8, 2003, will be etched in my heart forever, for it was this glorious day that my life would be transformed in miraculous ways. I was diagnosed with breast cancer in July 2003, and I experienced shock, anger, and fear, like many newly diagnosed cancer survivors. Once I grappled with these emotions, I attempted to take control of my life, or at least I thought I did. My goal was to complete my treatments as soon as possible so I could return to my career.