Spreading the Word about Cancer Late Effects…and Hope


I am thrilled to share that I discuss late effects and life after cancer with Dr. Lynn Harter   (Ohio University) in the first Defining Moments podcast. You can listen to this free podcast on the Defining Moments site or you can download it at iTunes.

I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to share my own story and to describe some of the realities faced by cancer survivors, as documented in survivorship research, including my own.

My message is this: Life after cancer for those of us blessed to survive is not simply a triumph nor is it a tragedy. Instead life is messy and wonderful and awful and joyful and sad. In other words, life after cancer is as complicated as any other life.

Grateful for a cure, long-term cancer survivors often find that cancer has changed their life irrevocably, in both good and bad ways. Late effects–chronic illnesses and conditions caused by chemotherapy, radiation, surgery, and other cancer treatments–may prolong physical and psychological suffering. At the same time, survivors can grow and change and become who we are meant to be.

It’s been awhile since I blogged, as I have been caught up in my other life as a professional nerd who speaks at conferences and other universities about my work on embodiment and crystallization (and most recently data engagement) in qualitative research. Don’t feel badly if you have no idea what any of that means — it’s methodological stuff that absolutely thrills me, even as I leave many of my kind friends and family with glazed eyes and blank expressions.

Nerdy methods stuff is my one of my deepest passions. A methodologist is, in part, who I was meant to be in my life after cancer.

Outside the nerd-realm, I continue to struggle with mobility as an amputee and to cope with phantom limb pain. I don’t let my chronic pain stop me, but it does wear me out sometimes. I feel frustrated, but I also feel hopeful.

I’m grateful to Lynn and Defining Moments for inviting me to share my story and to increase awareness of the challenges and rewards of long-term cancer survivorship.



One thought on “Spreading the Word about Cancer Late Effects…and Hope

  1. Just read Ellen’s extraordinary article about cancer survivors long-haul effects of chemo. I walked 3 miles a day, planted trees, bushes, etc. weeded, had a productive busy life. then chemo came along and changed all of that – neuropathy, restless leg, dry mouth. I have been reminded how lucky i am because we all know the alternative. well, they may call people at my age are experiencing their golden years – I say BS to that. cancer treatments affects were not explained to me before they injected me with that poison. Thank you so much for your wonderful article. every oncologist should be forced to read it.


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