Cancer: Encouragement for survivors

Recovery path often grueling, but many tough it out

Community Education enrichment and volunteer coordinator Anne Grubbs remembers doing what she calls “the Taxol shuffle.”

But unlike a dance, it definitely wasn’t fun.

“You can’t walk for five days after you take it,” she said of the chemotherapy drug Taxol, which she took during her battle with breast cancer. “It’s bad but it can always be worse, no matter what it is. I’m blessed to be a survivor.”

Now a four-year survivor, Grubbs spoke to more than 50 people at the Kentucky Center Program and the Barren River District Cancer Council’s “Journey Through Survivorship: A Cancer Survivor Resource Excursion and Celebration” on Thursday at the Old L&N Depot.

Kentucky Cancer Program cancer control specialist Elizabeth Westbrook said the event – which included several booths with information about resources available to cancer patients in southcentral Kentucky – is geared to recognize and honor the survivors.

“This is the perfect venue to learn about resources available to patients. This is not a journey anyone volunteers for or plans to take. There are challenges and issues,” she said. “There are people who don’t have insurance who need help with cancer. There are people who need financial help and help with navigating the system.”

The need for information and support is even more crucial as more people find out they have cancer, Westbrook said.

“There are 10.5 million cancer survivors in the U.S. That’s 3.5 percent of the population,” she said. “There seems to be a little more awareness. People are living longer, so more are getting cancer. There are better treatments.”

Grubbs credits family, friends, faith and a sense of humor with helping her cope with cancer and the feeling of being a “crispy critter” during her treatments.

“I had a doctor who wouldn’t let me feel sorry for myself,” she said. “My work was my salvation. People were surprised when I would show up at work, but what would I do sitting at home but think about myself.”

One of the big things Grubbs said she learned during her bout with cancer was to deal with the emotional aspects of the disease.

“Some days you’re going to wake up and be meaner than a two-headed snake,” she said. “Learn to apologize.”

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Harvey, Alyssa (2007, March). Cancer: Encouragement for survivors. Bowling Green Daily News. Retrieved from