For a list of survivor stories by cancer type, click the Type of Cancer and follow the link at the bottom of the page.

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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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Overcoming Cancer with a Full-Court Press

by John Krejci

I don’t like the metaphor of “fighting cancer,” or even the never-ending “War on Cancer.” Less so, empowering cancer by personifying it as “The Beast.” Most people are uncomfortable with these violent, combative modes of dealing with this illness. Let me suggest another metaphor, an alternative to war and violence.

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I Once Spent Time on the Mountaintop

by Harriet Cox

When I was first diagnosed with breast cancer, I felt a mental numbness. Because I didn’t hurt, it was hard to believe that I had a life-threatening disease. As time wore on and treatment was scheduled, I began to believe it, and the numbness was replaced with a fear and despondency so strong that I struggled through each day.

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Lessons from Cancer

by Pamela K. Steele

The last two and a half years have been a bit rough. I’ve said goodbye to my mother and my father, discovered my own early stage ovarian cancer, and supported my brother through his battle with stage IV prostate cancer. While these experiences and realities have led to a great deal of grief and uncertainty, they’ve also given me the opportunity to reflect, reprioritize, and rejuvenate.

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The Transformative Power of Cancer

by Meme Hieneman, PhD

My friends and family say I have changed since I was diagnosed with cancer, that now I am often unpredictable. And they are right. Cancer has caused me to question all that I thought I believed and wanted. My moods vary from peaceful to irritable, ecstatic to depressed. I am mediating an ongoing conflict between who I was before, who I am now, and who I ultimately hope to be.

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by Nicole Patterson

My hair didn’t come out all at once or in big clumps like I had heard about from others enduring chemotherapy treatments. It fell out gradually, strand by strand. I found my hair everywhere – on my clothes, my pillow, the back of the couch, the bottom of the shower. I had a generous quantity to start with, and for a long time no one noticed. “Thank goodness you haven’t lost your hair,” I would hear from a well meaning friend.

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The Healing Power of Movement

by Julie Dial, MA, CES

A wise seven-year cancer survivor defined coping this way: Find the Courage to Overcome obstacles, Position yourself for the future through Introspection, Negate looking back, and Get moving. Does the “get moving” part of coping sound challenging?

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Everything I Learned about Life after Cancer,
I Learned from a Flight Attendant

by Ursula Daiber

My cancer journey began a week before Christmas 2003 and took my family, my friends, and me by complete surprise. There were no real symptoms. A little blood here, some bouts of diarrhea there. It wasn’t until I couldn’t use the bathroom for five days in a row, a first for me, that I knew I better see a doctor. An emergency colonoscopy was scheduled, and the next day it was determined that I had a large cancerous tumor in my rectum, only 3 cm from entry.

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