As a nursing student at Jamestown Community College, Michaela Pastorius was assigned to take a lecture class on spirituality. "At the time, I didn't understand, and it all went right over my head,” she says. “I thought, how can I help a patient with their spirituality if I don't even know my own? I don't identify with a specific religious group. I never have. I wasn't raised in a family that really identified strongly with one religion, and up until this experience, I couldn't connect with my spirituality, either. I just couldn't figure out how."
Most cancer survivors will tell you they have two extremely vivid memories: the moment they received their diagnosis and the moment they finally finished treatment. However, in between, and for people who may never finish treatment, there are many types of victories worth celebrating.
As a Stage IV oral cancer survivor, I am very passionate about spreading awareness. Oral, head and neck cancers are profoundly different than other cancers in that they limit one’s ability to swallow, eat and talk.