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Stories from survivors, families and friends

Cancer Stories

This digital story was produced in a training workshop by the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium and the Alaska Comprehensive Cancer Partnership in March 2009:

I love my Grandma

My grandmother was an adventurous woman. She traveled the world. She had three boys, one daughter and many grandchildren. Of all of her grandchildren, I was her favorite... at least that's what I tell myself.

I remember her as a wonderful woman: a woman who always cared for others, but also remembered to care for herself. I was six when she died; she had cancer — lung cancer. She was a smoker. This was the first time — the only time — I ever saw my dad tear up as if he was going to cry. He loved her. I loved her. She was filled with tubes and she looked so tired. Is this what lung cancer does?

My dad is my mentor; he jokes and plays and acts like a kid... but he's a smoker. Will he get lung cancer? I am a smoker. Will I get lung cancer?

I try to quit. I tried cold turkey, I use the patch, I chew the gum... I am still a smoker. I don't want lung cancer. I don't want to lose my dad to lung cancer. I don't want anyone else to die of lung cancer. I want my grandmother back.

Dedicated to my grandmother Novem and father David
Thank you to Laura Revels, Melany Cueva and Julia Thorsness