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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Once Upon A Time

by Chelsey Gomez March 16, 2023

Once upon a time, I was diagnosed with cancer. I had a wonderful support system, my treatments were easy on me, and I went right back to my normal life after treatment ended. Oh, and I looked fabulous bald! The End.

Just kidding. The real story is less of a fairy tale and more of a comedic tragedy.


The First Rule of Cancer Club

by Siobhan Hebron March 14, 2023

Trigger Warning/Content Warning: cancer, death, recurrence

The first rule of Cancer Club is you DO NOT talk about Recurrence. The second rule of Cancer Club is you DO NOT talk about Hospice!

One of the most delightful characteristics of youth—that you are indestructible (until you’re not)—is one of its greatest risk factors, as well. Cancer is the largest disease killer of adults under forty. […] The numbers are far from insignificant, especially given the social costs of the number of years of life (read, productivity) lost. Yet until about five years ago, virtually no oncological attention was given to this demographic” (1).


This Road of Survivorship

by Mallory Casperson March 12, 2023

Carol Anne was my friend. She took lovely photos, had the fluffiest cats, and she passed away a few months ago. We spent hours and hours together in online programming with Cactus Cancer Society. I had the pleasure of hearing her writing, seeing her artwork, and listening to her creative and generous take on the world around us.


Panic! At the Ultrasound

by Nicole Smith March 9, 2023

Alone, I walk into one of the buildings in the conglomerate towering over me. Past the check-in desk, then left across the atrium. Pink ribbons dapple the windows looking into the waiting room I am heading toward. It isn’t long before a young woman in pink scrubs appears and calls my name. She seems remarkably unbothered, while I am bracing for the ground to drop out from under me. It could happen at any second.


Dude, Where’s My Erection? Part I

by Marloe Esch RN, BSN, OCN March 7, 2023

Warning: Mature Content

One of the most common sexual problems that survivors with penises experience are changes with erections (6,10). Unfortunately, erections don’t get a lot of air time during clinic conversations. For one thing, sexual side effects of treatments sometimes don’t show up right away, and over time survivorship concerns may no longer be on a provider’s radar (though they should be!).


Not Like the Others

by Aubrey Danielson March 1, 2023

We have made this drive before. However, the rocking of the car as it hits various cracks and potholes now leaves us worried about tire alignment rather than whether my mouth is aligned with an emesis bag.

I can stave off the beasts of negativity that paw at the edges of my mind until we reach the Cancer Center.


You Are Not Alone, and I Love You, Too

by Mahwish Syed

From the moment I received my diagnosis, my world as I knew it was no more. “Like Persephone, I had suddenly descended into a completely different landscape,” I wrote in my book, PURGATORY TO PARADISE: How Cancer Helped Me Design an Authentic Life. “Like the Underworld, this landscape was carved with rivers of chemo that burned the cancer cells growing inside of me.”


To My Mother, A Plea

by Madeline February 22, 2023

Editor’s Note: This article was written in May of 2022

As I write this, I am reveling in bits of good news during increasingly dystopian times. Two years out of active cancer treatment and nearly 32, my annual MRI came back clear this week. Before each scan, I spend days in purgatorial scanxiety, keenly aware of the possibility for bad outcomes.


One Day More

by Ashley Snyder

Strand by strand
Never expected you to go
Always there
Protected me
Hid me
I’d see more and more of you falling away
Red and shining you laid on my pillow
Red and shining you became tumbleweeds across the floor


Bird Mobiles

by Soraya Fata February 17, 2023

Fuchsia, yellow, turquoise and purple; sad birds on tired wires spin above me in a desperate ballet

Their soft feathery texture, here to warmly greet me in contrast to the cold hard table where I lay

A presence meant to calm and soothe, forget the void of living without the sound of children’s laughter