Cancer Survivors

 

Cancer doesn’t end when treatment does….From the souls of the survivors told in their own words, the stories of remarkable  survivorship – the diverse experiences, its undeniable challenges and the heroism behind the vulnerabilities.  The stories are showcased to give others fighting the disease more clarity, more courage and more hope.

This blog is dedicated to the families of those fighting cancer.  May you know how deeply treasured you are…

  • Extreme hopes are born from extreme misery. ~ Bertrand Russell Have you ever experienced such intense sadness that you couldn’t imagine ever feeling hopeful again? Maybe, like me, you once stood in the corner at a New Year’s Eve party you wished you’d skipped. As you...

  • On December 21, 2006 I began my cancer journey. On that day I never thought I would survive nor how I would change my thinking about what I thought about Cancer. After a routine mammogram, which was followed by a biopsy, I received a call...

  • My mother was a foodie. It didn’t matter what she prepared it was always amazing. Her cooking was simply delicious, always creative, and I can taste and smell certain dishes through my memories and the love they delivered. She could feed 200, 500 or a...

  • The day I was told I was dying..The day I was diagnosed. The day my life changed forever. My tumor was on the left breast on the bottom of it. It itched! I just knew it was a bug bite … Fast Forward to end...

  • Being diagnosed January 10, 2012, with triple-negative invasive ductal carcinoma was the game–changer in my life’s journey. I have ridden the ebb and flows of that diagnosis and continue to do so. At the time of diagnosis, I was told that the cancer was aggressive...

  • At the end of a busy Tuesday, I was driving to a party when I received the call that would change my life. After hanging up I decided to change my own.   I knew in that moment how I approached this news and the...

  • My name is Heidi Bright. I have fought two late-stage cancers, stage 3 Breast cancer since 2001 and stage 4 Head and Cancer since diagnosed in 2005 with two major recurrences in 2012 and 2013, requiring an 8-hour surgery, followed eight months later with a...

  • Thank you for reading my story. My website is: www.jodiesjourney.com I am a Mum with two beautiful special needs girls, who has fought blood cancer three times and in total have dealt with six medical traumas. Medical Negligence | Lymphoma 01 | Lymphoma 02 |...

  • It all began for me in the oncologist’s office in 2009. I got the terrifying message … there was no cure for the highly undifferentiated uterine sarcoma. I sat in shock. I didn’t even know what to ask. She told me I had end-stage cancer...

  • The past 2 years have been one of refinement, change, and emotional ups and downs. Taking my mother in to live with me after my father’s death has been an adjustment, but one that I strive to express God’s love and servitude through. Then, I...

  • The day I decided upon double mastectomy and reconstruction for treating my breast cancer was the day my spouse, Brett, came out as a trans.  When you face your own mortality, it causes you to take stock of what’s important in life. I cried when...

  • I never ever thought I would be the one in eight, with no family history, How could this happen to me? On October 26th 2007 days before my 40th birthday I found a lump. I already had a mammogram booked since I was turning 40....

  • March 14, 2015 was the day I found a pea sized lump under my nipple and after having a mammogram and a biopsy, I got the call. I was alone when the Dr called, other than my little kids being home. I took the call...

  • I am 52 years old and was diagnosed with breast cancer in May of 2017 – one week after my birthday, and one week after leaving my job to pursue a new career in real estate.  During these early deepest and darkest moments of despair,...

  • She noticed her stomach swelling to a point where she looked pregnant; it was tender but not painful enough to go to the hospital. She tolerated it for a while but it keep swelling up and her mom decided it needed to be looked at....

  • Dear Cancer,  I hate you. I hate everything you stand for. I hate that you have the power and control to hurt the people I love. I hate that you’ve caused me so much heartache. You linger like an unknown shadow in the back of...

  • I am praising God because the Lord has given me a new song. God is faithful and his grace and mercy endures forever. Over the past months, the difficulties of life dwelled at my door– I was stroked with a life-threatening situation. The thought of dealing...

  • When I was diagnosed with Stage II Invasive Breast Cancer in March 2012, I didn’t get mad.  I didn’t even get mad when I found out I had to have a double mastectomy, chemo and radiation.  Now, to be honest when I found that information...

  • In the fall of 2011 I got a piercing pain in my left breast and during a physical a few weeks later my Dr. discovered a lump. So off to mammogram and when the radiologist came in to do the ultra sound himself I already...

  • I have always said, if we all had “our story” written on our chest for others to read, we would all be more kind, more understanding, more compassionate and less judgemental. So lets just do that without knowing the story, because words are powerful and...

  • She wears her SCARS like a warrior, for they remind her of how hard she fights… #breastcancer #strength #scarsproject #skindeep#getchecked #yeg #everyonehasastory #bekind#beagoodhuman — with Vivianne Poirier, Rhayne Thomas, Shirley Nowicki, Linda Symbaluk, Madena Reimer, Linda Urlacher, Petra

  • You can say he saved her life.  He persisted she get checked again and she really didn’t want to because she was just there, just had the mammogram done and the Dr. said, “everything is fine, see you in two years”.  So, in reality, her...

  • She walked past the oncology sign not noticing the direction the arrow was pointing and not realizing it was the very same direction they were headed.   She walked past several kids who had no hair, she looked at them and they looked back at her...

  • She was simply enjoying a meal in the Oberor Hotel’s Tiffin Restaurant when two young men armed with AK-47’s began shooting. The date was November 26, 2008. Linda Ragsdale was on a meditation retreat. It was a time of learning, renewing and finding the treasured space of inner...

  • I’m a 23-year breast cancer survivor, retired Texan, high school teacher, wife, mother of 2 wonderful adult kids and Nana to two precious grandchildren.  I am also the Founder of Breast Cancer Initiative East Africa (BCIEA) Inc. The BCIEA serves low-income communities in Texas and...

  • Who am I? I’m a daughter….a granddaughter…and a sister. I’m a mentor. I’m a best friend. I’m a fundraiser and event planner. I’m a volunteer. I’m a music lover….an outdoorsman….and a writer. I’m a thrill seeker. I’m an activist.

  • I just knew I had leukemia. Like a shouting child insistent on his way, my secret disease seemed to scream in my face, “Told you!” Shaking my head in frustration, I attempted to dislodge the thought. I was nineteen years old. I couldn’t have cancer....

  • Today is April 12, 2014.  I have been encouraged to keep a journal through my journey. I was diagnosed with breast cancer on March 28, 2014, three weeks after turning 33 years of age. Sadden? Yes… Shocked? Definitely. Was this a coincidence, test of faith,...

  • The Hero’s Journey is a narrative template identified by writer Joseph Campbell. It is said to be the greatest story ever told because it has appeared over and over in some of our most beloved stories and movies such as Jaws, Star Wars, and my...

  • I am Laura Mac Jeffers and I’m 46 years young. I’m a 2-year breast cancer survivor. In the words of Dolly Parton, “it costs a lot to look this cheap!” My story is a success story as I, like many survivors, tend to regard it...

  • On every Friday night, the complications of life slowed down at the packed to capacity Kijiji’s Coffee Shop on Jefferson Street. Poetry turned the stressful juggling of business, family, health, dating and everyday survival into a magical place where words and feelings sprung uninhibited from...

  • Small town Ohio, March of 1987, married with two sons and working as an elementary school counselor. I felt the lump as I showered.  Mastectomy and 7 mo. of chemotherapy.   –tried desperately to keep working but lacked physical strength and stamina. Chemo had messed with...

  • Oh, cancer!  After my initial go-round, seven and again eight years later, you decided to storm in and try to invade my space for the third time, but with a vengeance, as stage 4 Metastatic Breast Cancer. Well, this time I RISE UP! I will...

  • It was Blizzard Jonas…the Blizzard of the century. I got stuck on a business trip in Washington DC to launch a 3-year national project to improve women’s health locally. There were no flights back to Nashville for at least 4 days. Making lemonade out of...

  • I want to tell you a little about myself and what my life was like “B.C.”.… that’s Before Cancer, as I like to say. I was a typical kid. At the beginning of the school year I got the teacher I really wanted. I had...

  • My story is not about answering the phone when I was three months pregnant with my third daughter. Or hearing the ominous words, “You need to come right in.” Somewhere in there I heard the word “cancer”. I was on my way to dance class...

  • I was 15 I was diagnosed with stage 2B ovarian cancer after getting both ovaries taken out the lack of horomones made my eating habits go crazy and I ate everything insight. Fast forward 6 years, I finally had enough of being the “bigger girl”...

  • My story is a little different from most here. I am not a survivor, that is, my own body did not endure the assault of cancer to it directly. The cancer that I survived was my son’s burden. He unfortunately did not survive after a...

  • In 2011, according to the Center’s for Disease Control and Prevention 20,593 women in the United States were diagnosed with ovarian cancer. This is important because in October 2011, I was one of those women diagnosed. Unfortunately, 14,346 women in the US died, only 30% survived. My...

  • I was only 6 years old, and it was hard to think about such things. I had never heard the word before, and I had no idea what it meant. When she lost her hair, and we saw she was in pain, my sister and...

  • The year of 2010 was a difficult year for me. I watched my mothers health decline to daily loses and indignities. Watching my mother suffer was heartbreaking. In October, I went for my annual mammogram and was informed I missed a year. Following the examination...

  • At 4pm on Friday, April 29th, 2011, I received a call from my doctor telling me that I had breast cancer. Yes I was shocked. I never smoked, drank or did drugs and it certainly did NOT run in my family. I took good care...

  • Being diagnosed with breast cancer, having a bi-lateral mastectomy, dealing with the emotional trauma of telling my kids I had cancer to facing the psychological scars of survivor’s guilt has been part of my 2nd act. But when it comes to breast cancer I’m not...

  • Cancer was the journey, survivorship is the destination. This is a mantra that I live every day as I reinvent myself as a wife, mother, friend, teacher and human being after my cancer diagnosis. I lost my father when I was young and my brother...

  • Over the years, I have experienced love, loss and everything in between. My husband, Raymon, was diagnosed with testicular cancer just one year after we were married. He was only 23 years old. Fortunately for him, the cancer was caught early and he has been...

  • I am a wife of 32 years to my wonderful husband Vernon and a mother to 3 beautiful children, Brandi, Brian & Brittney! I am also known as MeMaw to my adorable granddaughter Ellie! My 1st act with cancer started in 2009. I choose to...

  • Join me on my “Previvor” journey. From past, present and future. I have never done anything like this before, but it’s good therapy. “LORD: Show me your will, your Way, and give me your words.” Women like me not yet sick, but are facing a...

  • I have learned to accept people. People I know – who I thought would be by my side 100% of the way and then they disappeared – was it fear of the unknown or what they have known others to go through… was it too...

  • I was in my childhood home, celebrating my 28th birthday and my bridal shower for our May wedding, when it happened. The phone rang, and I heard my doctor’s voice on the other line filled with sadness. Two words. One answer. Breast cancer. You can...

  • Feeling strong and beautiful was something I tried to do during my cancer journey. Wearing lipstick, rocking my bald head and embracing what was happening to me was something I strived to do every day. In 2008, I was a 26-year-old girl living and working...

  • In 2010 I went to an ENT, I was losing my voice. He had done a biopsy, said nothing was wrong. The following year was not better, just got worse. In 2011 I went to another ENT, and did another biopsy. This time a spot...

  • The first time I was diagnosed with cancer I learned a lot about life, but the main thing I learned was that our personal relationships are our most valuable possessions on life, and material objects have no real value at all. During my treatment, I...

  • You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have. – Cayla Mills On January 1st, 2016, I finally got to marry my best friend and soul mate, Dee Scott.  I knew there was something very special about this...

  • Why did the chicken run across the road?  This chick ran across the road to outrun her cancer. Seriously. My story began at age 30 with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome.  At 48, it was high blood pressure. At 53, type 2 diabetes. But at 57, Endometrial...

  • PURPOSE. It’s something that we are all pursuing. To walk in the true meaning of our existence. Allow me to take you on a journey about how my purpose was confirmed through my cancer diagnosis. I’d been battling acid reflux for a few years and...

  • At 46, I was a workaholic mother of two teenagers, wife of a local politician, and daughter whose mother is a breast cancer survivor and suffering from Alzheimer’s. And then I was diagnosed with Stage 3C Ovarian Cancer. After three misdiagnoses, I was driving with my...

  • 5 years Ago I joined a wonderful group of people I now consider family. Live Like Liz, a group dedicated to a young girl with the same cancer I was diagnosed with. I learned that she was a warrior. In her honor 2 educational scholarship...

  • When I was diagnosed with a rare form of ovarian cancer at age 36, I was the CEO of a three-million dollar company, a part-time river guide, an active volunteer in my community, and I was single and living alone. That last piece became the...

  • As a cancer survivor of 10 years, I can say it changed my life in a positive way. It’s like I get a “do-over” and I feel very liberated. My faith is stronger, I don’t sweat the small stuff, I am in tune to what...

  • “Life is the journey”, cancer is a bump in the road of life. Cancer does not discriminate against us nor define us, it is a part of us. We are “Turtle Angels”, slow and steady. My husband and I have two boys with Hemophilia, a...

  • Don Stranathan made headlines in 2012 when he met and fell in love with another cancer survivor, Penny Blume. Since her death in January, he has shifted his attention to the national stage. “My last promises to Penny were that I would continue to live...

  • December 2009….like everyone else I was busy preparing for the holidays. I had an appointment for a routine gyn check up in the middle of the month. As it got closer to the date I thought about changing it until after the new year as...

  • One thing cancer has shown me is that no matter how much you prepare and educate yourself, you can never fully understand the enormity of what it means to have cancer. Oh, I wasn’t diagnosed with cancer. My wife was. When one person is diagnosed...

  • On December 23rd 2011, I found out I had cancer. Who get’s cancer for Christmas?! Well, obviously I do and all the others that packed the waiting room at my oncology office. I thought to myself, ‘I’m only 39 years old how can this be??’...

  • I’m the lady who came to church on crutches, then wearing a wig AND who can’t sing a lick! I fell from a ladder, shattered my leg, endured three surgeries and a blood clot. (I wasn’t as young as I thought I was!) Eight months...

  • On the last day of my chemo treatment from breast cancer, my daughter Erica marked up my car windows saying “Last Day of Chemo” along with a big sign for me to take pictures with. Erica was going to be with me for the treatment,...

  • I was diagnosed with Stage IIIB (E,P, Her2 +) breast cancer at 38 years old. With three children ages, 4, 7, and 9, my prognosis was only a 34% of surviving 7 years. With such an aggressive cancer, I wanted to focus on my health...

  • I am fearless! Well I used to be. I have jumped off piers, photographed wild black bears, swam with wild manatees and flew an open air biplane. I did not fear what others called dangerous ventures. I was crazy, I never thought once about death,...

  • Breast cancer taught me that I wasn’t powerless and there were ways I could empower myself to make a difference in my own healing experience. It taught me get clear within myself what my priorities were and to make decisions that aligned with my top...

  • My husband & I had been married for 4 years, and were relishing being new parents. Our son, who was perfect in every way, was just 9 months old. We thought we had our whole lives in front of us. Then came the diagnosis: Breast...

  • You’re asking yourself how can it be a gift? Being diagnosed with this sometimes deadley disease became my gift for me, my family, my friends and everyone else that was with me along my journey. Let’s go back to the summer of 2010. This was...

  • My name is Heather Hall.  On July 10, 2010 my family moved to Tennessee from Michigan.  We lived a simple life, so we thought the move wouldn’t be difficult.  Friends came easy.  I had two young children and my favorite pastime was building recipes andspending time with them in the...

  • Walking through cancer is tough. Linda knows…she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2006. But through that journey God has given her a new passion for encouraging women to walk their difficult roads with faith and joy. She understands that painful circumstances can challenge one’s...

  • My name is Jacqueline Cain and I am a truly living ‘My 2nd Act”.   I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer on my 48th Birthday after working hard for 10 months to get diagnosed. I had very “Dense” breast tissue, therefore, making it harder to get...

  • I lost my breasts but have gained perspective or at least a glimpse of what was missing before the clarity of cancer entered my life. The effects of this experience are much deeper than the 6″ scar across my chest. Perspective for me was gifted...

  • Life certainly is a winding road, full of surprises and challenges. In April 2009, my husband of thirty five years passed away after a 12 year battle with a degenerative disease. We often talked about the ‘silver lining” that came with serious illness, the ability...

  • My Transitional Act began in a hotel room in October 2006. It opened with a very strange to me activity, eating a hamburger in my hotel room at 10:00 pm.  I felt as though some of the burger was stuck in my throat.  I could...

  • SURVIVORSHIP IS THE JOURNEY! When people find out that I have Brain Cancer…they say, “You don’t look like you have Brain Cancer!” And sometimes I say “Good…What does a Brain Cancer patient look like?” When my doc at Memorial Sloan Kettering told me I had...

  • Many people think that’s a very odd thing to say, but I believe it with all my heart and soul. After being diagnosed with breast cancer and having a mastectomy in 1996, I found a new direction in my life. I made a promise to...

  • A phone call in August, 2010 changed my life forever. That was the official beginning of my personal relationship with cancer. After contending with blood tests, MRIs, CAT scans, EEGs, PET scans and biopsies, the results revealed Stage IV lung cancer with metastasis to the...

  • Hearing the words, “You have breast cancer” came out of the blue. An intuitive friend had suggested getting my female parts checked out so I made a medical appointment and a small lump was found. I was 37, single and my biological clock was ticking...

  • Three years ago, I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer and had a lumpectomy and radiation and regular visits with my Oncologist.  Being diagnosed and treated was two different animals that has defined my life, my view on life, and my today’s’ action in living life...

  • If cancer is the narrow spot in an hourglass and I am the sand, I have traveled from the top through the tight spot to the bottom “the same sand” only with a different arrangement. A soft, non-painful lump turned out to be a 6-inch...

  • Days before my diagnosis, I was laid off from my job as a special education parapro. At the time, I was understandably upset but now I know I was being prepared for a journey that would change my life! I had been putting off my...

  • Our daughter Magnolia Grace was born 12-1-2011. Late in life parents, this was something neither my husband nor I had thought we’d ever experience. From the moment we met her, we were goners, head over heels in love. Our bubble of bliss was short-lived. On...

  • Maybe I was always strong but didn’t know it. I had always thought because I cried at weddings, at parades when marching bands went by and when I heard our national anthem that I was not very emotionally intact. After having breast cancer in 1996...

  • Cancer, especially breast cancer is not a stranger to me and my family. When I was 15 years old, my beloved grandmother died of the disease. When my mother was 70 years old, she developed it also. Then when I was 61 years old, on...

  • I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer exactly two years to the day that my Mother lost her own battle to cancer. First melanoma, then brain cancer. It was heartbreaking not knowing how to comfort and support the woman we loved more than anyone. As desperate...

  • As I sat on my hospital bed and looked out over the city – my last week of whirlwind medical tests, scans and poking (by doctors), was fresh in my mind.  Tears rolled down my cheeks on a regular basis, my heart was heavy and...

  • Over six years ago, I was told “Mrs. Arnold, we are sorry but it is most likely too late.”  This came after four months of hearing “Mrs. Arnold, there is nothing seriously wrong”.  What a jump, a mind stretching leap from “not to worry”, to...

  • I was diagnosed with Inflammatory Breast Cancer, a rare, aggressive form of breast cancer that has a five-year survival rate of about 40 percent. Facing my own mortality at age 27, being single didn’t seem like my most pressing issue anymore.I started chemotherapy 10 days...

  • Having worked in health care since 1980, I’ve been promoting mammography for more than three decades as the single best way to find cancer in its earliest most curable stages. And I’ve had annual mammograms since I turned 40. Imagine my shock at being diagnosed...

  • My journey with breast cancer was like a rollercoaster ride and all I knew to do was to hold on really tight. It started with the diagnosis of breast cancer in the first breast and then I was urgently scheduled for an MRI to later...

  • I call myself an accidental advocate. I was also a very reluctant survivor because I did NOT feel like I had survived anything when I was dx with cancer at the age of 22, in fact, I felt powerless to the whole process. I felt...

  • My cancer journey began in December of 2009 when I decided to clean our bathroom. My weapons of choice were bleach and Scrubbing Bubbles, or bleach and ammonia! Evidently I got a little heavy handed, accidentally combined a little too much of the cleansers, and...

  • My name is Kellee Southern and like most women, I thought had my life under control. And then on my Dec., 27, 2012 my 45th birthday, I received the news that would forever change my life. This is my story. I’m just a regular everyday...