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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Dear Cancer, This Has Not Been a Linear Journey

by Sha’Leicia Simpson May 31, 2022

Dear Cancer,

Last year I wrote you a letter like this one, but now I am in a very different place, and I have a lot more to say. Last year when I wrote to you, I was a 23-year-old patient struggling with the effects of chemo. Now I am a 24-year-old survivor trying to heal and find my footing again.

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No One is the Same

by Michelle Burleigh May 27, 2022

The survival rate of Acute Promyelocytic Leukemia, assuming you make it through diagnosis and Induction (the first phase of treatment), is somewhere between 90-95% chance of full recovery. However, one study by the American Society of Hematology’s website Blood Journal, predicts “an early death rate of  5-10% within the first month of starting All Trans Retinoic Acid, mainly from intracranial bleeding.”

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Losing Through Cancer

by Liz Hiles May 25, 2022

I remember the first-time cancer claimed the life of someone in my life. I was eight years old and in second grade.

My Great-Aunt Dorothy lived in New Jersey with her Italian-immigrant husband, my Great-Uncle Steve. She was my favorite family member because every time they came into town to visit, it was like a week-long party filled with Italian food and huge family gatherings.

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Don’t Shut Your Feelings Out

by Alyssa Latham May 24, 2022

Dear Younger Self,

I’m sorry I never took it seriously. You know, those hundreds of adults who told you that your fair-skinned complexion would never make you tan—no matter how much time in the sun is spent with no sunscreen in sight.

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Finding Grace Through Grief 

by Aerial Donovan May 19, 2022

The first time I remember experiencing grief we were visiting my grandfather in hospice. I was ten, he had prostate cancer, and we were there to say goodbye. It was shocking to see how much he had changed.

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The Only Way out is Through

by Jen Donovan May 18, 2022

I was 20 years old and in college when the terrorist attacks of 9/11 took place. I remember watching an interview in the months following in which a survivor from one of the twin towers talked openly about how guilty she felt for surviving. And I didn’t understand.

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Dear Younger Self, You’ll Come out on Top

by Sam Dean May 17, 2022

Dear Young[er] Sam,
I want you to remember that you’re a heartfelt and passionate woman. When things get hard, taking a deep breath really does help. Sometimes you just need five minutes away from the situation to get a handle on it. Also, remember to grieve.

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Conservation of Matter

by Madeline Bennett May 16, 2022

Oh to have a body
Messy, beautiful
Fluid and dust and stars sewn up
In the breakable harmony of our organisms

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What Matters Most in Life

by Brandi Benson May 11, 2022

Dear Brandi, 
When it comes to making an impression, the old adage “first impressions last” definitely applies. From the moment you were born, you were destined to be a fighter.

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Scrambled Eggs

by Steven Mynott May 10, 2022

Getting out of bed has been so difficult lately. It’s been months since I’ve had a good night’s sleep. It seems like no matter how many blankets I use or how many layers I wear at night, I’m always freezing. Last night I woke up twice in a cold sweat.

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