Jossalyn Larson | St. Louis Public Radio

Jossalyn Larson

Rachel Webb (at left) and Jossalyn Larson shared their stories on Thursday's talk show.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis-area residents Rachel Webb and Jossalyn Larson come from different walks of life, but they have at least one path in common: They’ve both in recent years developed breast cancer – and have chosen to open up online about their experiences living with it.

While they now have intensive treatments and surgeries behind them, their respective journeys are far from over.

On Thursday’s St. Louis on the Air, the two women joined guest host Ruth Ezell to discuss some of the surprises and challenges they’ve been encountering lately.

Since being diagnosed with breast cancer in May 2018, Jossalyn Larson (at right) has been open about her treatment journey. He husband, John Larson (at left), is operations manager for St. Louis Public Radio.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

The year 2018 didn’t go down quite like Jossalyn Larson or her family expected. After being diagnosed with breast cancer in May, Larson underwent several months of chemotherapy. And yet through all the change, some things have stayed the same – and she’s found the various aspects of everyday life helpful as she travels a difficult path.

“Just because you have a diagnosis like this, life doesn’t stop,” Larson said on Thursday’s St. Louis on the Air. “So our kids still need us. My job still needs me. Our parents still need us. So life continues on, and the diagnosis is just something that we get to maneuver around now.”

Dr. Theresa Schwartz, at left, is a breast surgeon with SLUCare and SSM Health Saint Louis University Hospital. Jossalyn Larson, center, is a current breast cancer patient, and Heather Salazar is a cancer survivor and president of Pink Ribbon Girls.
St. Louis Public Radio & Pink Ribbon Girls

After being diagnosed with breast cancer a few months ago, Jossalyn Larson began traveling a path that one in eight U.S. women will find themselves on at some point during their lifetimes. Larson’s own journey currently has her at about the midpoint of her chemotherapy, and she’s been open about its associated challenges and surprises.

“It’s been pretty disruptive,” the Missouri S&T faculty member told host Don Marsh on Thursday’s St. Louis on the Air. “What’s confusing about it is [that] I never know how it’s going to be disruptive. Every chemo infusion provides different side effects, and some of them are cumulative.

“I’m just now starting to get neuropathy in my fingers and my feet. So my fingernails hurt. And so something as simple as taking laundry out of the washer to put it in the dryer is painful for me, and I never would have anticipated that.”

“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.