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Living with breast cancer: Jossalyn Larson shares her journey

“So today is day one,” Jossalyn Larson says in the first entry of a vlog she started this summer, “the first day after learning the results of my biopsy and confirming that I do have breast cancer.”
John Larson | St. Louis Public Radio

A diagnosis of cancer is a life-altering experience.

Jossalyn Larson, an English professor at Missouri S&T and resident of Owensville, Missouri, was diagnosed with breast cancer two months ago and is creating frequent updates on her YouTube channel and Facebook page.

“I have good days and bad days and the best advice I’ve gotten is that it’s OK to have a bad day and break down, but don’t pack your bags and live there because this is only a year of my life for the rest of my life,” Larson told St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh on Tuesday.

She is married to John Larson, St. Louis Public Radio’s operations manager and announcer.

Jossalyn Larson explained that she’s publicly documenting her journey for two reasons: to give back and add to the pool of people who have already talked about their journey and to help compartmentalize this one aspect of her life.

Through the frequent updates, Larson has offered family, friends and others a unique window into her day-to-day experience undergoing chemotherapy.

“I spend a lot of time focusing on what’s to come after but I also know that this diagnosis has fundamentally changed who I am,” she said.

As for one piece of advice Larson hopes to leave people living with cancer with, she explained that humor is a great tool.

“They say ‘attitude is everything’ and it really is, trying to find the humor in all of these moments,” she said. “There really is a lot to laugh at and it’s OK to dip into that sort of morbid humor if you need to do it, that dark humor. But find reasons to laugh every day because that’s what’s going to get you through it.”

Listen to the interview to hear more about Larson’s journey and to hear the story about what happened when the Larsons discussed the diagnosis at a local McDonald’s.

St. Louis on the Air brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh and producers Alex HeuerEvie Hemphill and Caitlin Lally give you the information you need to make informed decisions and stay in touch with our diverse and vibrant St. Louis region.

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Alex is the executive producer of "St. Louis on the Air" at St. Louis Public Radio.

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