AYA Cancer

Who He Was

by Jillian Locke October 2, 2022

There is a drawing of a small bird that is nestled in my dresser drawer amongst my most treasured memories. I take it out occasionally, sometimes on a particular date and sometimes when a memory whispers for my attention. I never know when the thoughts will come, and years ago, I thought they would eventually fade away; but survivor’s guilt doesn’t choose to be graceful and exit quietly to stage left.


Cancer Does Not Play by the Rules

by Allison Stults October 1, 2022

It can happen to anyone. Cancer does not play by the rules!

In Fall 2020 I was training for an ultra marathon. My goal was ultimately 50 miles! I was rocking it. In October I locked in 175 miles, and 150 miles in November, even though, surprise, I was expecting our fourth child!


Fight Stubborn with Stubborn

by Amber Takesh September 29, 2022

One day I’m a normal 22-year-old girl, living and working in a new city. You hear awful things, you see crazy storylines on TV and in the movies, and you never imagine these bad things could ever happen to you. As humans, we take our health for granted until you realize how valuable it really is. 

In March of 2021, I was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia, a rare form of blood cancer. Everything paused, everything was turned upside down, and everything was terrifying.


Chemo Kitty

by Naomi Volain

Meet Ginger, my chemo kitty. She’s the pet I adopted after swearing I’d never get another pet, after my last cat Xena died a few years ago. Uh-uh. That litter box needing constant cleaning. The pet sitting logistics. That pungent cat food aroma. None of this appealed to me as I was going forward in life and time. But circumstances were different with cancer in the time of COVID.


“E” is for Emotional Intimacy

by Marloe Esch RN, BSN, OCN

Cancer has a way of disrupting almost every aspect of a person’s life, including sex. If you’re like most young survivors, you may be struggling with a number of things that can affect how sexual you feel, or whether or not you’re interested in or able to engage in sexual activity. This is totally normal. Sometimes, though, altered sexual routines can also impact a couple’s emotional closeness. If you are in a romantic relationship, it’s important to remember that there are lots of ways to share intimacy that don’t include sex.


Give Yourself Some Credit: Body Image and Self Esteem 

by Rachel Mihalko September 27, 2022

“I am enough.”
“I will live in the present moment.”
“I love the life I am creating.”
“I am in control of my own narrative.”
“I am strong, and that strength isn’t going anywhere.” 

These are all things that I wish I could tell myself on a regular basis—and believe them too. I know the importance of reciting affirmations, and I know it takes time to start believing them. But they still feel ridiculous sometimes.


Cancer Survivorship During Young Adulthood

by Leukemia & Lymphoma Society September 23, 2022

Michelle: If you could take yourself back to when you were first diagnosed, what would you tell yourself based on what you know now?

Elissa: I would say go to therapy early. I did not go to therapy until I basically broke down after completing treatment. I realized I was depressed when I was no longer excited about the upcoming holiday season, and I knew something was wrong.


Why I Stayed Away From Survivors

by Melanie Kent September 22, 2022

“My demographic,” I told my sister. “Can we say, ‘my demographic?’”

It was code, so that when we navigated the COVID-tightened New York sidewalks—chatting almost directly into others’ ears—it didn’t have to be “cancer” that they heard, “cancer” that I shared, like a little poisonous puff of fumes on the air.


How Cancer Taught Me What Really Matters

by Jordan Adams September 20, 2022

Hello, my dear reader. My name is Jordan, and I am a cancer survivor. I am here to share with whoever feels like listening a little bit about my story, and more importantly, what it has taught me. I am sure my story will sound familiar to many other cancer patients who may stumble across this. I hope you enjoy it.


Cancer is a Big #@$%&* Ordeal

by Cynthia Hayes September 19, 2022

Nobody expects a cancer diagnosis. It comes out of the blue, defying the belief that it can’t happen to me. There are no cancer-prep classes, no training programs to help us ready ourselves for this moment, and no way to practice reacting to such shattering news. So, when we hear those words, “You’ve got cancer,” the brain short circuits, leaving us stuck in feedback loops baked into the wiring: “cancer equals death” and “showing emotions is a sign of weakness.”