A Survivor's Journey to Understand Her Experience

Zeba's inspiring story through her survivorship.

My name is Zeba Tayabee and I am a childhood cancer survivor of Hodgkin Lymphoma. I was diagnosed at 14 years old and my life quickly changed. Having been diagnosed with cancer has taught me so much about myself and has opened up a lot of opportunities.

Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to attend the Canadian Association of Psychosocial Oncology (CAPO) conference in Halifax, Nova Scotia to present on my research that I had completed for my Master of Social Work Degree entitled “On The Road of Survivorship: An Autoethnography of a Survivor’s Journey to Understand Her Experience.”  This was an incredible venue at which I could open a dialogue about the childhood cancer experience from a patient’s point of view, and what the healthcare system could do better to meet our needs as young patients and through our young adult years. As well, I discussed the ongoing impact of cancer and what it means to be a “survivor” well into remission. Of specific interest to me in my research is the racialized portion of young adult survivors in the South Asian population, the stigma and shame associated with cancer and ways for the health care system to better understand this unique subset. My attendance at the conference has inspired me to continue my work in addressing what is lacking in the biomedical approach to cancer care (i.e. supports, transitional care) with a goal of bettering the patient and survivor experience by giving the patient a louder voice through the cancer journey. Adopting a storytelling approach can help confront dominant discourses of cancer care, and allow for inspirational and honest conversations to happen.

I am looking to connect with other racialized childhood cancer survivors and learn more about their journey with cancer. If you self-identify as a racialized survivor of childhood cancer (particularly South Asian), I am interested in hearing more about your experience. Please email me at zeba.tayabee@gmail.com and hopefully together, we can open up the conversation by highlighting the racialized and cultural narratives of young survivors.


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