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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It’s Not So Bad - You Are a Survivor

by Patricia A. Bauer

The waiting room is comprised of one small loveseat in a brightly flowered pattern. Two straight-back chairs of an anemic maroon color join a small, generic lamp that claims a small space on the magazine-laden table. Although a magazine wall-holder clings to the wall, it is empty. A square mirror that is desperately crying out for a squirt of glass cleaner is suspended above the table. This completes my first vision of the waiting room I would soon come to know very well.

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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.

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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.

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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