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The Thing About Cancer Is

by Arely AcunaSurvivor, NeuroblastomaMarch 21, 2021View more posts from Arely Acuna

The thing about cancer that no one ever talks about is that fact that it’s never over. Whether you’re in active treatment or in remission/NED whatever you want to call it the doctor appointments never stop, the scans and scares never stop.

I was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma Brain Cancer on July 29, 1994… the exact date of my first birthday. I did active treatments for about six years I had chemotherapy, radiation, surgery and a stem cell transplant. My family even moved to three different states to get me the treatment I needed. So, the end of treatment was supposed to be the end, right? That’s what they show on TV in movies and celebrity interviews, magazines and all that junk on the internet. But for me it’s never been over.

At 22, I was diagnosed with Thyroid Cancer as a result of receiving radiation to my neck thankfully I only needed surgery for that. Now at 27, I am waiting to find out if I have Breast Cancer also as a result of the radiation, I received for the first cancer.

No one ever told me about the possibility of developing other forms of cancer from the same treatments that saved my life the first time around. No one told me about all the illnesses and side effects I would experience. No one told me anything about the fertility issues I would experience. No one told me that finding a man to love me and have him stay in my life would be so hard. No one talks about all these things.

No one told me that you can never really breakup with cancer. It’s a part of your life forever. You are constantly reminded about it by the scars on your body, the mental pain you grow through, the mental illnesses you develop (anxiety, depression, PTSD… the list really goes on), the physical pain and disabilities many of us are left with.

As much as I wish and want to tell you that cancer is a quick process it’s not and I refuse to lie to you like many people do. The thing about Cancer is that Cancer is never over… we just have to learn to adapt to the different stages of Cancer. We have to find the bright spots and keep pushing even if we’re never really done with cancer.

All of the posts written for Elephants and Tea are contributed by patients, survivors, caregivers and loved ones dealing with cancer.  If you have a story or experience you would like to share with the cancer community we would love to hear from you!  Please submit your idea at

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