CancerGuide: Inspirational Patient Stories
When I was very ill and things looked their worst, nothing was more inspiring to me than reading about how other patients survived against the odds and coped with their situations. There are as many different ways to survive as there are patients, and so we can learn something different from each one. At the same time certain similarities, certain patterns emerge. Enough philosophy - here are the stories of some other patients - I hope you find inspiration and hope in them!
Actually just one more thing first! Perhaps you have a story to contribute. You need not be a "miracle cure" to contribute here - all you need is the desire to use your experiences to help someone else. So read my Story Guidelines and contribute your experience!
Kidney Cancer Stories | Leiomyosarcoma Stories | Cautionary Tales | Stories on Other Sites | Wilderness Survival Stories
Main CancerGuide Stories List
Kidney Cancer Stories on CancerGuide
Kidney cancer is what I have and so I hear from quite a few kidney cancer patients - and so CancerGuide has a number of kidney cancer stories.
Also see My Story
Kidney Cancer Story Not on CancerGuide
Although this story is not on CancerGuide, it is the story of a member of the kidney-onc list. ACOR is mentioned in this story on the HealthIT.gov website. [PF, 2012]
Leiomyosarcoma Stories on CancerGuide
In addition to submitting her own story, LaDonna Backmeyer has been instrumental in asking several other patients with this rare cancer to add their stories to CancerGuide. Hence this special section! All of these patients are members of, L-M-SARCOMA, the Leiomyosarcoma Mailing List. This electronic discussion group is an incredible resource with the most informed patients and doctors in the world. If you have LMS you must join! Please check the L-M- SARCOMA Subscription Page on the ACOR Website .
Cautionary Tales - When Things Go Wrong
Although at first glance, one might think that inspiration and important lessons come only from the positive, sometimes you can learn important lessons from error, mishap, and even tragedy. CancerGuide does not shy away from telling this kind of story.
Stories from Other Web Sites
These are stories I've found on other web sites that I think are particularly helpful. I am open to suggestions for stories to add to this list.
Three Incredible Wilderness Survival Stories
I did not limit my reading to cancer survival stories. I was also tremendously inspired by true stories of wilderness survival. Though surrounded by people trying to help me, I too felt isolated in a wilderness, though it was a wilderness of illness rather than a wilderness of nature. Reading stories like these will make you to know that if they survived that, you can survive this.
Adrift by Steven Callahan. On February 4th, 1982, Steven Callahan's 21 foot sloop sank suddenly and unaccountably, leaving him alone in a tiny life raft in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean 1800 miles from the nearest possible landfall. Through ingenuity, determination, and good fortune, Callahan managed to survive 76 days before finding safety. Callahan writes about his experience with an amazing strength and grace, and despite incredible privation and suffering, he never lost his appreciation of the beauty of the world.
Touching the Void by Joe Simpson. Simpson and his partner Simon Yates had completed an extremely taxing technical ascent of a 21,000' Andean Peak, and were descending the summit ridge, when Simpson fell off an ice cliff, shattering his leg. Despite Simpson's extremely poor chances, the two managed to contrive a descent into a howling storm when an unthinkable and terrifying situation developed, after which Yates returned to base camp alone, certain beyond any reasonable doubt that Simpson had died on the mountain. But three days later, Simpson literally crawled into camp only hours before Yates was going to pack-up and leave. His journey back from the dead through an unearthly landscape in extreme circumstances takes on a hallucinatory and spiritual quality. Like Steven Callahan, Joe Simpson found the strength to continue despite extreme suffering and against overwhelming odds. And like Callahan, Simpson is still able to appreciate the world despite his suffering.
Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage to the Antarctic by Alfred Lansing. In December 1914, Ernest Shackleton and a crew of 27 men sailed from South Georgia Island at the bottom of the Drake Passage in an attempt to reach the Antarctic continent and cross it on foot. Only six weeks into the journey, their ship, Endurance, became frozen into the pack ice of the Weddell Sea, just off the coast of Antarctica, trapping them for the Winter. When Spring came, the ice crushed Endurance, stranding the expedition on unstable pack-ice with three life boats and a portion of their stores, many hundreds of miles from the last human outpost. Their nearly two year struggle to return is truly beyond imagination. After reading this book, I know that, incredibly, all 28 survived. I know what they did to survive. But the conditions they endured were so harsh I simply cannot imagine how they survived. Thus, survival is possible not only when it is incredibly unlikely, but even when it is unimaginable! The original photographs by expedition member Frank Hurley are extraordinary, so be sure to get the illustrated edition.
This CancerGuide Page By Steve Dunn. © Steve Dunn
Last Updated: February 2012.