Cancer Memoirs

Check out the sequel to 
"Two More Years" here: 
"Ring the Bell."

 Find the first book: 
Two More Years by EC Stilson

Thanks so much for stopping by!
The following are photos and videos 
are from my memoir, "Two More Years," 
which details my storyso farwith stage four melanoma.

I've organized this content by chapters 
so you can look as you go 
or just come and see it all. 
Thank you so much for 
your love and support; 
it's meant the world to me, 
especially as I continue to fight cancer.

Chapter 1

A few days after the surgery 
(to remove my L3 vertebrae which had become a cancerous mass), 
the hospital let me play my violin for fellow patients. 
 I felt so grateful for the opportunity and the distraction.

Chapter 2

This is the exact "face cage" (below) that they screwed to the table 
so I wouldn't move my head during radiation.

Chapter 3

Medical staff told me, I'd most-likely lose hair 
because of the radiation to the melanoma tumor in my brain, 
so I opted to shave my head and make this loss my choice.
It's fortunate that I did this because my hair did start falling out a short time after radiation,
and I had two massive bald spots on two separate parts of my scalp.
This photo (above) was taken right after I shaved my head.

Chapter 4

The photo above shows when I initially wore this beautiful, 
vintage dress from Anne Hall in 2019 (when I ran a local newspaper 
and surprised Anne by writing a front-page feature about her shop: Annie Hall's Vintage Boutique). 
After she found out about my cancer diagnosis, 
she gave this dress to me in 2020 (below) 
despite the fact that it's worth hundreds of dollars!
This becomes even more important later on in the memoir.... 
Anne showed such generosity!

Chapter 5

Above: Trey (left), Indy (center), and me (right).
This was just a few months before my diagnosis.


Above: My dad, Phil Stilson (left), me (center), my mom, Ruby Stilson (right)
(Click their names, above, for more info about them!)
This was taken just before Christmas 2020. I really struggled to walk at this point, and I remember them holding me on either side, so I could see Christmas trees at this tree farm in Idaho. 
They are the most amazing people; I'm so lucky to have them in my life.

Chapter 6

Above: This is the only photo we took from the Portneuf River Monster day. 
What an experience!
Left to right: Sky, Mike, Indiana, Trey, me.

Left to right: Indy, me, Sky, and Mike.
The next time we went, before my diagnosis, we used kayaks! Ruby and Trey took this picture.

Chapter 7

We had family pictures taken almost a year after my diagnosis (above), you can see Sky (far left) and Ruby (next to Sky) with hair that has begun growing out. I didn't relay this in the memoir, but ironically Sky actually shaved her head right before my diagnosis, and Ruby shaved her hair after (to support me when sections of my hair started falling out).
Trey is on the far right and Indiana is standing directly next to him.
This is a bit out of order from my memoir, but I wanted readers to see what the kids look like. 

Chapter 8

The two pictures below are of me (left) and Indiana (right). This was years before my diagnosis, but these photos show her nature. She's such a sweetheart.

Above: Sky (left), me (center), Trey (right).
My parents took this picture two months before my diagnosis. At this time. I'd already begun having trouble walking and standing for more than a few minutes.

Ruby is pictured above, before shaving her head. I just wanted readers to know what a sacrifice this was for her. 

The two photos below are of us after Ruby shaved her head. I'm on the left and she's on the right. You can't really tell in these photos, but I'd covered up my bald spots with a bandana. My hair fell out where the radiation had gone in and through a specific area.

Chapter 9

Above: My dad holding Ruby in 2002.

Below: Although this chapter is about "baby Ruby," the photo of her in this red and black dress (a couple of years after that day in my memoir) captures her amazing personality. This photos is from when I ran my sewing business, EC Boutiquethat I also wrote about later in this memoir.

Chapter 10

Me and seems like I bring them wherever I go: hospitals, diners, Mike's work parties... I love cards so much that I initially proposed for this memoir to be titled "Wildcard." Luckily, my amazing editor, Robb Grindstaff, thought of an even better name and my publisher agreed. To find out more about Robb's books, please check him out here: Author Robb Grindstaff.

Chapter 11

Milo, our white cat, and Cole, years before he died.
These two cracked me up when they were together. They'd spin on the ground and fighting, looking like a yin and yang sign. Such goofballs!

Chapter 12

My angel baby, Zeke.

Above: A picture of me holding Zeke when I was 19 years old.

The song I wrote and played at Zeke's funeral.

For more about that story, please go here: 
"The Golden Sky" by EC Stilson

Chapter 13

Mike (left) and Trey.
I don't know if I appreciated these wigs more than these two, but they sure made my laugh. I couldn't believe it when I rounded the corner and saw them like this. 
Oh, boy! I'm still not sure "who wore it best," but I hope it was me.

Chapter 14

Above: Fran, wearing a hilarious mask. She always made the best of every situation. 

Fran and her husband, Bud. I love this photo of them when they were so young. 
They could make anyone smile. To hear some of Fran's stories, please go here: "Fishducky's Fables."

Chapter 15

I wrote about Genesis 22 in my memoir. I didn't go into great detail about how symbolic this became for me, but it's kind of incredible how I read "Climbing the Mountain" during this same time. Douglas had his own experience with Genesis 22, and I actually read about it exactly when I needed to. I'd already begun studying Judaism, but this seemed like a somewhat miraculous occurrence to me because I needed to read his words. If you haven't read this book, it's definitely worth checking out.

Chapter 16

Above: Trey (right) and Indiana.
They decorated my walker, which we named Bertie, to cheer me up. I'd felt pretty embarrassed about needing a walker at the age of 37, but I didn't feel quite so bad after this; they'd just worked so hard to make "Bertie" look cool.

Above: Indy (far left, background), me, and Trey.
This was a few months before my diagnosis.

Trey (below) and me near Lava Hot Springs in Idaho. We went fishing because I felt so bad after being hospitalized during his13th birthday. We took this picture in June 2021. I'd felt heartbroken to miss that milestone (he'd only become a teenager once), but we had such a phenomenal time fishing. This is one of my favorite memories with him.... It seems unreal how something bad can end up becoming unforgettably good. Plus, Mike had a birthday party for Trey and made it pretty spectacular; he even taught a bunch of the kids how to paint!

Chapter 17

This is a closeup of a mock tattoo Ruby drew on me for the book cover. In fact, if you look at the final cover (at the top of this page), you can see this same mock tattoo vibrantly showing on my left arm. This is based on the tattoo I saw at the hair salon.

Chapter 18

One of my wonderful aunts made me this apron and the matching hand towels. You can see the newspaper clipping from my grandma in my pocket.

Chapter 19

This is the segment a news station in Pocatello did on me. 
I am so grateful for their generosity and kindness.

Chapter 20

This is a picture from one of my many infusions.

Chapter 21

Above: This is Indy's kitten, Nova.

Above: This could still make me teary-eyed. The same Christmas that Anne Hall gave me that beautiful dress (from chapter 4), Indy got a kitten. Indy's response
despite everything we experienced—made me so happy. She's such a special little girl who's so grateful.

Chapter 22

Skydiving is still one of the coolest experiences of my life.

Chapter 23

Above: Layton Funk is on the left. 
He is one of the most inspiring, strong people I have ever met!

Below: I've been able to visit Layton a few times since my diagnosis in 2020. On this particular visit, I introduced him to SnapChat. I think he looks MUCH better with a beard than I do!

Below: Mike steadies me so I won't fall as I try to let the feather from Mato-Uste go.

Above: This is one of the several times we let the feather go and it blew back to us. You can actually see it faintly above Mike's head in this photo. My brother, Shane, is on the left and Mike is on the right.

Left to Right: My dad, Philip Stilson; my mom is taking a photo in the background; me; and Mike. 
(My sister-in-law, Kazuna, is barely visible to the far left.)

Above: This is a picture of Mato-Uste and me at his home in Blackfoot, Idaho.

Chapter 24

Above left to right: Grandma Dee, Indy, and Trey.

Below: Indy right after she got her cast.

Below: This is my dad's book, the one he gives away while may parents drive across the country and enjoy meeting people in different states. 
Find out more here:

Above: My parents, Philip and Ruby Stilson by their motorhome.

Above: I'm shown with Sky.
This is when she visited me at the hospital.

Chapter 25

This is how it all started, with a mole doctors removed. This is a photo from 2018.

Chapter 26
Left to right: My grandpa, Clan Stilson; me; and my grandma, Beth Stilson.

This is "Grandma" Dee (left) and me long before I got cancer. We've had so many amazing memories since we met in 2011.

This is a book signing I had with Dee in 2018.

Find out more about Dee Ready's books here: PRAYER WASN'T ENOUGH

Chapter 27
My sweet mother-in-law, Maureen Magagna, has brought me to more treatments than I can count. The many pictures below show us visiting AND how my hair has grown out over two years. (I can't keep it the same color to save my life.)

Chapter 28

Below are pictures of me with my father-in-law, Steve Magagna. This is the violin he perfected for me with the story of "The Master's Hand." 

Above: Left to right Mike Magagna, Steve Magagna, and Maureen Magagna

Chapter 29

Left to right: Trey, Mike, Indy.

Me on the left and Trey on the right.

Indy decided to use a face mask (beauty treatment) while we painted. (Indy is on the left, and Mike is on the right.)

Left to right: Ralph (the Phantom) and me.

This is how I confirmed that I'm an otter. I love finding out which animal people are after discovering their birthdays.

Above is the tattoo Ruby got of an otter.

Chapter 30

This is a picture of the cancerous brain tumor when doctors first found it.

Chapter 31

The silly photos of me modeling in the hospital gown at Huntsman Cancer Center.

Chapter 32

Above: Mike and Indy enjoy "helping out" at the signing. Mike is absolutely hilarious!

Above (left to right): Indy, me, Trey. This is from the book-signing/author-speaking event at a charter school in Blackfoot. Idaho.

Above: This is the fishing trip I took with Trey since I was hospitalized on his birthday.

I mentioned that I've coped by painting with spray paint. I'm not very good, but I love it. You can see some of my artwork above and below.

Below: A picture of Mike after his flight lesson.

Chapter 33

Above and below: A picture of our tree that fell over.
Above: Me and Mike.
Below: Mike and Trey.

A friend took this at one of my all-time favorite gigs. A group paid for me to travel to Park City and fiddle with Johnny Hickman (left) of the well-known band Cracker and Ryan Boyce who is an exceptional guitarist (right). They are truly phenomenal musicians!

Chapter 34

Sky (on the left above and the right below) has since come to the hospital with me many times from 2021-2022. It's astounding how wonderful she's been throughout this experience since she moved back home.

Although this particular moment isn't in the memoir, I wanted to give an update on Sky. After she moved home, she ended up saving thousands of dollars to take a trip to Europe. I'm just so happy and proud to see how well she's done. As of 2022, she's working as a barista and going to ASU with the hopes of becoming an engineer.

Fuzzy Love Photography took these photos (shown above and below). Her work is unreal and has won some pretty prestigious awards. That was so kind of her to take these photos for cancer awareness. You can find more of her work here: 
Fuzzy Love Photography. It's really worth checking out!

Chapter 35

Sky took this picture of me, Trey, and Indy. Go here to read an incredible update about this story: A Moment Captured in Time

Chapter 36

Our day in Bear Lake. Me and Mike are shown catching rays.

Chapter 37

This moment still astounds me. I can't believe all of these hawks came to visit, especially after that feather from Mato-Uste kept returning to me despite it being let go repeatedly atop cliffs in Arizona. It really does seem like a Godwink.

Chapter 38

This is what I made Mike wear for the "old man" date.
The picture (right) is my Goodwill dress for our fancy weekend in Lava Hot Springs. 

The photo (below) is of all the notes we found hidden in the room in Lava Hot Springs! 
What an adventure.

Chapter 39

It's ironic how facing death has helped me "really live." The photo (above) is of a trip Indy and I took after I'd completed this memoir. I had so much fun playing my violin there, and I think Indy had fun taking pictures and pretending to be a famous photographer.

The photos (below) are from a trip toward the end of 2021. Although I had to use a scooter to go most places, we had a wonderful time with my parents. I still can hardly believe how generous they are to bring me and Mike on a trip to Puerto Vallarta with them. We had a blast!
Left to right: my dad, Phil Stilson; my mom, Ruby Stilson; Mike Magagna; and me.

Chapter 40
This is the sweet lady I met at Fred Meyer. She's on the right, and I'm standing with my violin on the left.

 Playing my violin up Main Street with my friend from high school. This girl was a complete stranger, but she kindly let me jump right in.

Chapter 41
Trey walking in the ghost town in Bannack, Montana. If you haven't been there, I would definitely recommend it.

Chapter 42
Taken at the hospital in Bozeman, Montana. Left to right: Mike, me, Indy, Sky, and Trey.

This is the $600 trailer Mike bought so we can bring it to Utah for cancer treatments and on little trips with the kids. As of 2022, it stills needs a lot of work. It's a fixer-upper; that's for sure.

Chapter 43
From the potato harvest. Left to right: Indy, Mike, Trey, and Shane Jackson (the generous man who invited us to work with him for a few hours).

Below: me and Shane Jackson

Chapter 44

Above: Me (left) and Ruby.
Mike took this photo in 2022 after I got my book deal. In addition to "Wildcard," the publishing team at Evolved had also talked about naming my memoir "Always More" because the story about a hairdresser and her "always more" tattoo became so popular on my Facebook page and in a newspaper, Island Park News, where I write weekly columns. This photo isn't of that woman's actual tattoo, but since Ruby is a tattoo artist (more about that HERE), she drew a mock tattoo on me in Sharpie so we could take pictures for the memoir's cover.   

Chapter 45

This photo still absolutely dumbfounds me and is one of the most amazing things that has happened to me throughout this entire journey. This is the shot I snapped after the sun shot through the stained glass window. It was such an answer to prayer.   

Left to right: Sky, Mike, Braydon (who is a dear family friend, almost like an adopted kid), Ruby, Indy, Trey, Makayla (a friend and one of my previous employees), and me.
This is from when I worked as the publisher for the Blackfoot Morning News newspaper. 

Above and Below: The band Rough Stock. Go here to find out more: Rough Stock.

Chapter 46

Find my memoir on Amazon: TWO MORE YEARS.

Although I'm still fighting for my life, I continue to write, help with grief counseling groups, and speak at events and assemblies. 

If I've learned anything through this, it's that life truly is a miracle.

Find my weekly updates through my blog:
or on my Facebook page:


  1. You are a Warrior ! Stay strong ! God has a plan for you and you are a testimony as I am !! God Bless you Cancer Sister ! We have to keep
    Fighting !! Melanoma will not win!!
    Lots of love
    Lucy ❤️

  2. Wonderfull Elisa. God bless you. Petra from Germany

  3. Sending so much love and hugs to you! I was diagnosed with stage 1 colon cancer in Feb which soon turned to stage 3a after surgery I did 4 aggressive months of chemo and pills and my last treatment was in august as of November 1 I am NED.. I will keep fighting and advocating.: please listen to this song I have out called “Hope Wins”

    God Bless
    Kathryn Shipley