I was diagnosed with colorectal cancer in 2014, which included chemotherapy, radiation, multiple surgeries and an ostomy bag. This happened while working full time as a therapist and being married with a small child. I'm currently cancer free, but the experience was a complete life-changer.
To cope with the process, I started drawing up a comic while recovering from my first surgery in the hospital. I drew a cute little owl and Cancer Owl was born. I attempted to articulate what was so hard to articulate in the cancer experience: how it feels to have chemotherapy and radiation, working while in treatment, the emotional highs and lows, combatting the terrible misconceptions about cancer, and dealing with others who (sometimes poorly) attempt to deal with you while going through treatment. I also stuck with drawing animals only, and using bright colors and fun fonts.
Long story short: this resonated with people. Especially those going through the cancer experience. I get messages and emails almost every day, and people started sharing their stories. I've had many people tell me it got through a rough patch or it was the first time they smiled in months. Now that I've told my story through many comics, I devote most of my comics to telling other people's stories. I believe that the more people share their stories, the more we lessen the stigma and help anyone dealing with this damned disease to not feel so alone.
More info: cancerowl.com
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