The pain . . .
it lets me know
I can still feel
Everything else is numbRead More...
A Bittersweet Milestone
Remember when everyone in the oncology waiting room did a double take when you showed up alone so it was obvious you were the patient? Remember those sympathetic smiles because they were there for the same things but had grey hairs and weren’t trying to figure out how to get their son picked up from soccer practice?Read More...
The Show Must Go On & other poems
it’s easier to be written out of the storyline
that’s why my character always dies
and if they survive, it always comes back
again and again until the sickness wins
because healing is messy, hard, and
never a straight line
The Rollercoaster No One Expects
Kidney infections, kidney stones, menopause, hair loss, osteoporosis, septic shock, ostomy, depression, body image issues, and mental health struggles.
None of these words would typically be used in the same sentence when describing a young adult, but they are common when describing a young adult cancer patient/ survivor. My name is Allison Rosen, and I am a 10-year stage 2c colorectal cancer survivor.Read More...
Once Upon A Time
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.Read More...
The First Rule of Cancer Club
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).Read More...
This Road of Survivorship
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.Read More...
Panic! At the Ultrasound
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.Read More...
Dude, Where’s My Erection? Part I
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!).Read More...
Dual Diagnosis: Cancer Patient and Survivor
I consider a challenge to be a surprise; it sounds more fun. What I was concerned about at the beginning of my cancer journey are things I don’t even think about now. For example, managing the side effects of medication; I have that down to a science. I am a chronic cancer patient, and the unseen challenges/ surprises of survivorship might be slightly different than you think.Read More...