Survivors

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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Journaling Cancer in Words and Images

by Harriet Claire Wadeson, PhD, LCSW, ATR-BC, HLM

Cancer imposed its own special kind of helplessness as I was cut open and parts were either removed or irradiated and blasted with chemicals that destroyed cells and interfered with my physiological func­tioning. People turn to a number of outlets under this kind of duress – religion, meditation, music. For me, I needed to do something. Writing and making art were my saviors in times of trouble or pain in the past, so it was only natural for me to turn to them to help me through cancer.

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Living with Incontinence after Prostate Surgery

by Rick Redner, MSW, with Brenda Redner, RN

The experience with urinary incontinence begins after a much-anticipated event – the day your catheter is removed. I was delighted to be free from my catheter. For a brief period, it was a happy day.My celebratory mood would last a few brief hours before I experienced an emotional nosedive. I was totally unprepared to deal with my loss of urinary control.

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Regaining Control

by Barbara Delinsky

Loss of control is a major issue for those with breast cancer. It starts early on, when a problem is first suspected, and suddenly we’re taken over by fear, not to mention mammog­raphy machines, localization needles, hospital release forms, and biopsies. Then a positive diagnosis comes, and we’re really hit for a loop. We’re swamped by new information, con­fused by choices, intimidated by sterile rooms. We worry enough to lose sleep; we’re hurting from surgery, weak from anesthesia, and stressed over family demands; and we are not looking for­ward to the treatment ahead. There’s this big C looming over us, pressing us under its weight, threatening to dominate our daily lives for the next however-long.

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The Legend of Big Billy

by Craig Harrison

It was late in the winter of 2010, and the nights were long and dark. I lay in bed motionless hour after hour, listening to the wall clock mock me with its relentless chiming that marked each passage of time – a haunting melody that became the subtle, audible reminder of yet another sleepless 60 minutes I would never get back.

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Thank You, Cancer

by Nicole Malato

Dear Cancer,

Truth be told, I would have never invited you into my home. Being the party crasher you are, you barged on in anyway. Admittedly, I was confused and distraught when you first made your presence known. You were frightening and devastating. As time went on and I learned you were not planning to go away, it took a lot of reflection to realize that even though you are with me, I can still live a great life.

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Reflections on the Fourth of July

by Ginny Jordan

It is the evening of July 4, 2011. I am babysitting my granddaughter Isabella while her parents have a last night out before their second child arrives. I am slumped on their couch in the TV room, the windows wide open and a fan on at full speed. There is a drought in New Mexico, and now fires in Los Alamos have filled the air with smoke for miles. I have felt hot all day, and my eyes sting from the ash.

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Behind Enemy Lines

by Mike Verano

I have to confess that three years into my thymic cancer survivor­ship, I still have problems with the “war on cancer” mentality. I fully appreciate that the diagnosis of cancer brings on a reflexive fight-for-your-life response. However, I find it hard to reconcile the need for peace of mind with a battle against “the emperor of all maladies.”

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Out•li•er

by Glen Kirkpatrick

1: A person or thing situated away or detached from the main body or system
2: A person or thing excluded from a group; an outsider

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