clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

I have cancer. This comic shows how much pressure I feel to be a hero.

Not everyone can be the perfect cancer survivor.

Years after successfully surviving a malignant brain tumor, I still feel guilty for not being the hyper-athletic, diet-conscious superhero we’re told every survivor should be.

This story is republished from

Correction: The original headline for this story incorrectly stated the writer’s current status with cancer. We regret the error.

Adam Bessie is a San Francisco Bay Area-based writer, whose comics on living with cancer have been featured in the Boston Globe, the Pacific Standard, Fusion, and more. See an extra, unpublished scene from this comic and the rest of this series (along with comics on a variety of other subjects) at his website.

Gayle Sulik is a medical sociologist and science writer specializing in the fields of oncology and women’s health. She is author of the acclaimed Pink Ribbon Blues: How Breast Cancer Culture Undermines Women’s Health (Oxford) among other writings. Connect with her on LinkedIn here.

Marc Parenteau is a California-based cartoonist currently living in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. His work has appeared in the Atlantic and Fusion.

This essay originally appeared on

More stories from

First Person is Vox's home for compelling, provocative narrative essays. Do you have a story to share? Read our submission guidelines, and pitch us at