The Elephant in the Room is Cancer. Tea is the Relief Conversation Provides.


The stories and experiences are written by people after cancer treatments. These stories are written for those learning how to get back to work, college or just trying to be themselves again. Just getting past treatments isn’t enough, it is surviving and thriving that is key to being you again.

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Seeing Beyond the Labels

by Chelsey Gomez September 27, 2023

If you were to visit the social media page of a cancer patient who openly shares their diagnosis, I’m willing to bet $5 that their comment section would resemble something like this: “You are so brave!”; “You are so strong!”; “You are an inspiration!”; “You are a warrior!” Seemingly well-meaning comments that end up feeling less like compliments and more like expectations.


Dude, Where’s My Erection? Part III

by Marloe Esch RN, BSN, OCN

We’ve made it to the final installment of this series! Part I highlighted how and why erection problems can occur after cancer, and Part II outlined some of the pharmacological options available to help improve erectile function for cancer survivors. However, not all erection issues require a prescription, and not all penises respond well to medicines. 


Is This Mic On? Testing…123…Testing…

by Michelle Lawrence September 25, 2023

What we say to each other matters. Most of us know that but often speak before thinking. I know I have and will; I am human and make mistakes. I try to ensure my language is helpful, supportive, and sassy. I have learned that disclosing your cancer diagnosis invites people to share unsolicited thoughts, cancer stories, medical advice, opinions on your lifestyle, and so much more.


Saying the Word Cancer for the First Time

by Ashley Coplin September 20, 2023

I remember the first time I said the word “cancer” out loud, admitting to myself that I indeed had the diagnosis. Saying this type of word for the first time was much like saying a cuss word for the first time—a forbidden fruit of sorts and brace yourself for impact kind of moment. Once you form the words and the sound of the word echoes in your ear, the initial fear of the word slowly subsides and you begin to slowly process your diagnosis.


Words Have Power

by Elizabeth Papautsky

Research shows that the statement “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me” is untrue. Words not only influence how we feel but how we experience the world around us—our reality. They can lift us up or bring us down and even cause harm (e.g. bullying).

Thus, they can be a source of great power, but also, of incredible disempowerment.


Just for Today

by Tawny Rachelle September 18, 2023

Can I tell myself just for today
that I love myself
That if ever I was to love myself
It would be today in this moment


Understood Listening

by Theresa Rees September 11, 2023

The word “understand” seems like a simple word to comprehend, but it is not as simple as it seems. When I was diagnosed with cancer, I had a slew of medical professionals try to deduce my symptoms and the side effects I experienced without looking at me as an individual. They read and looked at their words but did not listen to my words. They chose to lessen my words.


Oh F***, You’re the One

by Madi Fishtrom September 8, 2023

In 2017, I was an undergraduate student at the University of California, Santa Cruz. One of my (many) jobs was in the IT Office on campus at the Helpdesk. This cute guy would walk up to my desk and chat with me, and I thought he was a graduate student until he asked if I was in a large lecture class. I was and so was he! We found out we were both majoring in Technology Information Management and began studying together.


The Things You Said, the Things I Heard

by Becky Holden September 7, 2023

The things you said versus what I heard… these are words that we hear and the way they warmed.

“I am happy to drive you”

Thank you for not only offering something specific but attaching emotion to this offer. Thank you for knowing that driving is not my favorite thing; my car is not reliable and driving can be exhausting.


What Happens To Me Affects Who I Become

by Rebekah Palmer September 6, 2023

The mainstream rhetoric for a reality lived with cancer is filled with battle imagery and military terms. As if cancer and the human being diagnosed with it are opposing forces destined to have met on a battlefield set in array for the epic fray of good (the human) versus evil (the cancer).