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Honest Thoughts of a Sarcoma Warrior

Karen Ryan Shares her battle against Sarcoma


By Karin Ryan

Today I am alive. A little sad and a bit depressed, but happy to be alive. 

Having sarcoma is different. It’s the sabre tooth-version of the mountain lion. It’s the deadliest of all the poison snakes. 

Unless you have it, you don’t get it and you never will.

Don’t try to encourage me with “You got this”—because I don’t want it. I never asked for it in the first place. And saying “You can beat this,” makes me want to throw up some days.

I just need you to acknowledge that maybe I can’t, and that possibility just totally sucks. 

Most of all, don’t say some trite, meaningless little words and walk away. Hold my hand and let me cry. I just need to do that sometimes because it’s really hard some days. Not all days—but maybe today is one of those tough days.

Hug me really tight (you won’t catch my cancer, honest). Hug me every time like it’s the last time because it might really be the very last time. 

This beast is cruel and vicious—and so very unpredictable. You never know what it’s got in mind, or when it’s going to bite.

Karin Ryan lives in the beautiful Northwest with her husband/childhood sweetheart. They have one adult son and lots of fur babies. Karin was diagnosed with sarcoma, a very rare cancer in July 2019. The 100-plus subtypes of sarcoma make up less than 1% of the cancers diagnosed worldwide, making research and treatment options very limited. While her subtype of MPNST is not considered curable (most sarcomas are not), she is currently NED (no evidence of disease), since her second sarcoma surgery in November 2019. She never misses an opportunity to share her advice:

First, always pursue treatment with a sarcoma specialist at a sarcoma center. ( is a great resource)

Then get a second, or even a third opinion. Pursue these opinions as if your life depended on them because it does.

Insist on genetic testing; this will help the sarcoma team identify the best treatment options. Don’t pay attention to survival rates or statistics. Research is limited because this form of cancer is so rare, and that translates into scant information and skewed statistics.

Use social media to find others who know what you’re going through. Facebook has several sarcoma groups, some even dedicated to specific subtypes. Remember Jesus loves you and will be by your side on every single step of your journey.

Image Credit: Patricia and Friends

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Honest Thoughts of a Sarcoma Warrior
by Karin Ryan

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