Survivorship

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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Man’s Best Friend

by Rachel Mihalko July 3, 2020

I haven’t experienced loss to this degree before. At least when I was old enough to remember. I had no clue this would be so hard. And throwing cancer into the mix – or even the possibility of cancer – makes this so much harder. I know what it’s like to go through that. But the difference is, I made it out on the other side. 

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Speaking of Sex: Be H.E.A.R.D.!

by Marloe Esch June 29, 2020

But often, such conversations are an important and necessary part of addressing any worries, concerns, or questions you might have about your sex life.  Cancer can change how our bodies look or how they respond to sexual touch, how we feel about our appearance, and our interest in being sexual.  And yeah, bringing up any of these sensitive topics with your partner can feel really awkward.  But is it impossible?  Of course not!  

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Find What Works For You

by Rachel Mihalko

It still hits me all over again sometimes. The fact that I had cancer. But the difference is, now I have people to turn to who feel the same way. People who are actually close to my age and have had a port, been administered chemo, gotten radiation. I might be the quietest person on those Zoom calls, but it still makes such a big impact on me. 

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You Can Drop the Act

by Ruzette Solis June 26, 2020

You are enough for the world just as you are. There is no measure of worth, there’s no perfect cancer “survivor.” There’s no “weakness.” There’s no guidebook (although I’m sure there are some attempts out there) to tell us how to play the crappy card we’ve been dealt.

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As a Survivor, I Felt Invisible.

by Madison Chapman June 22, 2020

I wanted people to see me as brave, but I saw myself as selfish, a coward, ungrateful for having survived when so many wouldn’t, and so self-absorbed and narcissistic with my pain. I saw photos and blog posts of other survivors who seemed to be doing so well. I compared myself to them and thought “I am doing this wrong. Maybe I didn’t deserve to survive this.” Then, I hated myself for thinking I didn’t deserve to beat cancer, because I had fought so hard to beat my disease, and because I did—and still do—love life, so, so passionately. 

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When Your Life Becomes the Story: Poetry and Prose

by Rachel Mihalko

The thing about the stories we read or watch is that there’s typically an ending. You can wrap the plot up in a tight little bow and be done with it. That’s not life. We are continuously growing and changing and recreating our own narrative. I definitely have trouble with that concept; if I had my way, I would just skip to the end: the parts where I’ve recovered emotionally from cancer and have put the pain of the past completely behind me. 

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Survival is Insufficient

by Mallory Casperson June 19, 2020

Now there is scientific research showing that the young adult cancer population, aged 18-39, is the most isolated age-group who experiences cancer, and that this isolation is linked to all sorts of quality of life issues.  It affects survival rates, reintegration into normal life, and a host of other things.  There is data showing that surviving cancer is not enough, we must also be helped to thrive.  There is data showing that survival is insufficient.

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This Is My Reality

by Rachel Mihalko June 15, 2020

Until now, I haven’t realized that, two years after my cancer diagnosis, once I’ve reached that state of running on empty, a lot of unresolved anger about cancer resurfaces. I’ve tried to tuck it away for so long, but I have to face it eventually. I remember how angry I was when I had to do more chemo. That was when I knew I had to take a semester off of school. I would have to miss out on time with friends and just living like a normal college student. 

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Skywalking

by Mafalda von Alvensleben

Reveling in the swashbuckling joy of learning something that few people have ever dared try. Just watch me. It’s in the click of a switch flip between my fingers, my body reverberating with the power of the engine, and bathing in the smell of kerosene flowing into open air. That is where I feel a little braver and a little less broken– because if these feet aren’t made for dancing, I’ll have to settle for flying.

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2020: What Fresh Start?

by Lisa Orr June 1, 2020

If I’m being completely honest, ‘survivor’ is still a term I struggle with. Something I often ask myself is: will I always feel this way? Is it hard for me to accept this term because the wounds are still so fresh?

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