How Cancer Made Me Feel Like I Was Caught in My Underwear for the World to See


In order to help others, this survivor and author must "bare all" to get his message out.

When dealing with any chronic medical problem, having people see you in your underwear is usually the least of your worries. I mean, let's be honest. When you get so sick you are bedridden or end up in a situation that lands you in the ICU, being seen in your underwear is probably the last thing on your mind. Actually, you'll most likely be seen in much less—or maybe even by a whole group of residents, as I once wrote about.

So where am I going with this?

Well, recently I published my book, This Is Remission: A Four-Time Cancer Survivor's Memories of Treatment, Struggle, and Life. It's the story of me growing up as a kid with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. A story of me taking on the disease at six years old, nine years old, 11 years old, and finally at the age of 21.

In the book I discuss what it was like to get cancer treatment as a kid in the ‘80s, having to be homeschooled, and all the other stuff that goes with growing up as a young boy. I mean, I even talk about my first punch and my first kiss.

I know, I obviously write a lot about my experiences with cancer, but this book takes it to a whole new level. My mom, who was my main caregiver, also writes throughout the book on what it's like to hear that your young child has been diagnosed with cancer and living in the midst of multiple recurrences. I think I learned many things from her writing in this book that I actually never knew before.

Writing this book challenged me because I knew that in order to get my message out—a story that could hopefully help others—I’d have to really "bare myself," which can be hard to do. Especially when you were once the kid who could hardly walk into the classroom alone on his first day of school.

I also talk about one of the most important people in my life—someone who helped get me through the tough times and was an idol to me: my grandfather. He was always the one at the foot of my bed during my hospital stays, cheering me on no matter what the circumstances. In chapter five, I describe one of the last memories with the man who helped me through it all:

“I walked over, reached up, and squeezed his hand. I held back my tears. Even though he was the one in bad shape, Granddaddy Hamner was still the one holding me up, with the squeeze of my hand and a smile. That part was still the same. This is the last profound memory I have of seeing my granddaddy alive. He died shortly after Dad and I visited him in the hospital that day.”

My story, however, doesn't just detail the times in my life filled with sadness and struggle. I talk about my family life and the fun I had skateboarding, fishing and just being a kid. And in the end, I give you what I think is the key to surviving any uncomfortable situation— even something like being caught in your underwear.

Ryan’s book is now available on Amazon.

Related Videos