Write Away Cancer

I am bummed out.

Yesterday was a Relay for Life event that my school district helps coordinate and run.

I wanted to go.

They had fundraisers all week.  I paid $10 to wear jeans this week to show my support.

We “bought” a luminary for $10 to decorate in memory of Cort’s dad.

Eddie colored, Cort chose pics of his dad, and I assembled

We planned to go to the opening ceremony last night at 6pm and do a lap, find our luminary, take some pictures, and show our support.

But then we didn’t.

Work ran late, dinner ran late, and by the time we could have gotten packed up and driven the 40 minutes back to my school?  It would have been bedtime for Eddie.

And it ended up raining cats and dogs.

But I can’t just shrug my shoulders and say, “oh well, maybe next year.”

This is important to me.  To us.

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking and praying and talking with Cortney about this space here.  This blog. I even mentioned in my entry into the Mom Central Grant Contest (which I did not win), that I wanted to use the grant to make Sluiter Nation more than just me. But I didn’t know what.

Do I want to advocate for PPD and other perinatal mood disorders?  Absolutely.

Do I want to rally around mothers of perinatal loss?  Most definitely.

Do I want to contribute to finding cures for diseases and conditions that have affected our loved ones like stroke, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, heart disease, Juvenile Diabetes, among others?  YES!

But what kept coming back over and over in my mind and heart?  I want to teach Eddie about his Papa Steve.

all he has are pictures of his Papa

I’ve written about Cort’s dad’s cancer and his death and my experience with being an outsider with it all.  Some of the posts have been here, some on my other blog, Exploded Moments.

Cancer is such a big evil.

It not only takes away loved ones, but it tortures them and their loved ones in the process.

It forces us to watch a deterioration of a person so vibrant and larger than life.  We watch as he becomes smaller and smaller until he is blinked out.

We watch and think about what he will miss.

He will miss all his grandchildren.

He will miss his daughter’s wedding.  And then his son’s.

He will miss college graduations.

He will miss our lives and will will painfully miss his.

Cancer is more than just a sucky disease.

It took Eddie’s paternal Grandpa.  His Papa.  The reason we are Sluiter Nation.

I am afraid Eddie won’t know his Papa because he is not here.

I can’t let that happen.

Cort and I want to teach him about his Papa and about what took him away.  We want to make cancer awareness and fundraising a part of Sluiter Nation.

But all I have are my words.

I don’t know how to do anything but write.

But I want to learn how to make my words bigger than just me.

I want to learn how to make this space something other than me rambling.

I will never, ever stop telling my PPD stories or my miscarriage stories because I know they help people.  I will tell those stories here, there, and everywhere.  I will advocate for those things until I am blue in the face.

But I also need to write about cancer.

I need to not let Papa Steve out of our life.

I need to write away cancer.

About Katie

Just a small town girl...wait no. That is a Journey song. Katie Sluiter is a small town girl, but she is far from living in a lonely world. She is a middle school English teacher, writer, mother, and wife. Life has thrown her a fair share of challenges, but her belief is that writing through them makes her stronger.


  1. I hear you. You have such a strong voice. Use it for good. Hugs.

  2. I love that you’re inspired to do this, to take on cancer with your words. TO honor those you’ve lost and those struggling. This is so important Katie. I’m sorry you missed the Rally but there will be more. Hugs!

  3. I’m so sorry you missed the event..

    If only we COULD write away cancer. And stroke. And all the awful things that take away parents and grandparents.


  4. Last summer I wrote a lot about Cancer (my father died of it and my mom was diagnosed with it 3 months later in March 2010). I, too, wish I could write it away. It is always there, in the back of my mind. Is it in my genes? My kids? This scares me.

    I’m starting journals for both kids. I used to write stuff down all the time. But now I want to get into the Bigger Picture. Let them know about all their relatives, weave family history into the journal’s letters.

    Maybe you can journal about Papa? Get his story on paper. Get his family members to write about him for this journal, so your kids can know about Papa from different perspectives.

    Good luck with all this.

  5. I am so sorry for your loss, for your family’s loss.

    My cousin died from cancer when he was a teenager. He had been battling it since he was little.

    My Grandpa died from cancer. So did my Grandfather.

    There are survivor stories as well, my grandma survived colon cancer and leukemia. My cousin survived breast cancer.

    I feel like it has invaded my family.

    Your words are powerful, they are real, they make a difference. Keep writing! Keep fighting back!

  6. I’m sorry, for both your families loss and that you missed an event that was so important to you.
    I understand how you feel, I have struggled with the same thing, wanting to being a driving force behind everything. There are so many causes and everyone is equally important to someone.I think the trick really is finding those that you are most passionate about and concentrating your efforts there. You have a strong voice and a devoted audience. I believe your results could be two-fold. You can help to rise awareness and funds for YOUR causes while inspiring others to speak up for for THEIRS. In this way you really are touching so many needs. Does that make sense? On the Ning network there is a group called Wego Health. This is one of the main places I am utilizing to learn how to be an advocate, a strong voice for my cause.

  7. You’re doing that. You’re sharing stories in a way that make people understand what it’s like, and why it’s so awful. Both my parents have survived cancer but I have lost others to it.

    I know what it’s like to want your blog to be bigger than just words on a screen. I’m struggling with that too. All we can do for now is just keep going.

  8. I’m so sorry for your loss. Your writing is powerful and I find you to be an amazing and inspiring person. Your son will know his Papa through your memories and stories.

  9. I am in tears! I am still suffering from cancer and also the loss it brings! I always worry that I write about things over and over and over and people get tired of hearing it, but you are right, I’ll never stop writing about it all! I look forward to reading more about all of it!

  10. Katie, you are a beautiful heart, and I’m so happy to read anything you write. This post was one of the best. The “C” word means something to everyone, in one way or another. It touches us all with its path of pain and destruction. When my son (now 28) was 14 he was diagnosed with osteogenic sarcoma and only given a 50 percent chance of living five years. I don’t have to tell you that my world all but ended with that diagnosis. But thank God, we were the exception…..we were the lucky ones. We got a second opinion from the Mayo Clinic (which took 3 weeks) and the diagnosis was very different. Thank God he had chondroblastoma instead, which was not life threatening, if treated and monitored. He’s fine now. We’re all fine. But those 3 weeks were a hell I wouldn’t wish on anyone. I am a huge supporter of the Relay for Life, wherever I live (first Ohio and now Vegas).
    Sorry for the long story. But thanks for sharing your post.

  11. Yes, cancer is a beast. It has turned my family upside down this year.

    And your words can, and will help.

  12. Katie, you humble me. I’m so sorry for your family’s loss.

    Cancer took my paternal grandfather long before I was born. My uncle had liver cancer and was saved by a liver transplant from his son. Cancer scares the hell out of me.

    I admire you for wanting to write cancer away. I will be here to read it.

  13. What a great way to hold the memory of someone special right in front of us.

  14. AMAZING post! I hope we can all help you write it away 🙂

  15. I am so sorry for your family’s loss. Next year, and every year, I’m sure that Relay for Life will be a wonderful way for your family to celebrate his life, to make a difference,and mostly to remember.

    I have struggled with the issue of finding ways to make a difference with my writing too. I don’t have any real answers, but I’m still trying. I know I don’t have the kind of brain that can cure cancer or the resources to end hunger, but I know that the little things I do still matter.

    The American Cancer Society has an advocacy site called Cancer Action Network at http://www.acscan.org/. Might be worth checking out. I don’t want to drown this comment in links, but if you’re looking for littler things you can do, I have plenty, just ask 🙂

  16. You are very inspiring momma and you’re doing everything that you can do to help sprad hope, encouragement, and wondeful memories of someone so very special. You rock mah socks girl.

  17. Just by writing you are creating awareness.
    You are going places with your words Katie!! You reach a lot of people and support so many!!
    Keep writing. That’s how you fight it.

  18. I identify with this so completely. My husband lost his mom to cancer and I never met her. I think, so often, about the fact that my children only have one grandmother and there is so much they will never know. Cancer is ugly and robs so many of so much.

  19. Cancer took the boys Paternal grandfather too..and this piece just cut right to the heart of me, reminding me that he will never know his grandsons.

    I believe that words can change things, that you can do a lot with this space to talk about Eddie’s Papa , educate us about Cancer and change the world with it

    I am so sorry for your loss…but so proud of your HUGE HEART for wanting to do something with that loss.

  20. Amen friend and you know I’m so happy to get in on anything I can help with. I hate cancer. Five years is this Thursday. It’s amazing. There are tiny words of comfort like the fact that Allie was with my mom before coming to us, but she’ll never know her. And that’s horrible. All we can do is tell them and show them and help them to remember.

    I can’t wait to join you in your writing/helping/fighting.

  21. You are sharing through your amazing words. Keep on keeping on…

    Love and peace to you. xoxo


  1. […] Also, please know that any money that is not used toward BlogHer (as in, I make more than I need)?  Will go toward me learning to Write Away Cancer. […]