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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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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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.

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Why Wait? Live Your Life Now!

by Dawn Sesto

The radioactive tracer substance was injected into my veins. Now I had three hours to wait until the bone scan to see if breast cancer had spread to my bones. As I sat waiting, thinking about the “what ifs,” I was both numb and restless. I’ve been here before; I’m a two and a half year breast cancer survivor.

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Keeping Hope Alive

by Ann Brandt

You cannot battle cancer alone. A vital factor in survival is hope, an ingredient to be shared with others like a treasured gift. When my husband, George, was told that the four large tumors imbedded deep in his brain would take his life within a few weeks, hope seemed far away indeed. There must have been a tiny spark, however, that caused us to take the option of using heavy doses of chemotherapy, which was offered by the treatment team as a last resort effort to save George’s life. The future seemed grim, and the road ahead would be hard.

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Where Cancer Won’t Go

by Jennifer Vorraro

Cancer isn’t picky. It doesn’t care about your hair color, your childhood, or what type of degree you hold. It doesn’t care that you don’t have medical insurance, or that you haven’t had the chance to have children, or that maybe you do have children that need you. It doesn’t matter if you’re single, married, sad, or happy.

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If Cancer Was a Gift

by Laura Parisi King, LMSW

It is absolutely maddening to me when people say that cancer is a blessing or a gift. “It wasn’t until I got cancer that I started to live my life,” they say. “I didn’t realize how wonderful my life was until I got cancer.” “After going through treatments for my cancer, I learned to meditate and started to take yoga classes.” “It’s the best thing that’s ever happened to me.” ARGHHH!

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Breast Cancer Survivor Deanna Favre Steps into the Limelight

by Laura Shipp

Deanna Favre, a shy, small-town girl from Kiln, Mississippi, has always been what she calls “a behind-the-scenes sort of person.” Though married to famed Green Bay Packers quarterback (and her high school sweetheart) Brett Favre, Deanna shied away from the limelight. However, in December 2003 during a Monday night football game, the limelight found her. As a grieving Brett led his team to an emotionally charged victory immediately following the unexpected fatal heart attack of his father, television cameras focused in on his concerned wife, introducing Deanna to a national audience she did not ask for. The next year, another family tragedy, followed by her own breast cancer diagnosis, led Deanna to become grateful for her celebrity status because she could use it to help other women.

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Gayle, You Have Lung Cancer

by Gayle Zinda

“Gayle, you have lung cancer.” I had just had a hysterectomy and a right hip replacement. Two weeks later, I had a left lower lobectomy.

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