This graphic designer said the worst thing about cancer wasn't the painful treatments—it was the lackluster condolences from friends and family. So, she decided to make cards that expressed what patients really want to hear.

Cancer sucks nevertheless. (Via Emily McDowell Studio)

Fourteen years ago, Los Angeles graphic designer Emily McDowell was diagnosed with third-stage Hodgkin's lymphoma. After nine months of chemotherapy and radiation treatments, she was cancer-free. The worst part, however, was feeling awful because people so consistently said the wrong thing in their attempts to console her. Friends and family repeated the same empty platitudes we all give to sick relatives: "let me know if I can do anything," and "everything happens for a reason." Or they said nothing at all.

Now the publisher of original greeting cards, McDowell just launched a greeting card line called Empathy Cards. They say exactly what she hoped people would have said to her during her cancer treatment—honest, blunt, funny, and even profound, and reflecting the different moods experienced by a cancer patient from one day to the next. Here are some examples.

Sources: Emily McDowell Studio | Slate