The Elephant in the Room is Cancer. Tea is the Relief Conversation Provides.

Dear Cancer, Are We Friends or Foes?

by Sara HauckSurvivor, Invasive Ductal Carcinoma Stage 1June 10, 2024View more posts from Sara Hauck

Are We Friends or Foes?

Are you my friend, foe or imaginary friend?

The way this story starts doesn’t make sense with how it ends.

It seems like you only made yourself visible to me,

Through these waves of endless grief, what is it you want me to see?

Because something this simple shouldn’t be this hard,

Cancer is a killer, her name should be barred.

I’ve lived here for 30 years, this body is mine,

Last I checked, everything was fine.

Everyone gets along quite nicely while living in this place,

My organs and blood and bones share this space.

Then one day like a mountain on the horizon ahead,

The feeling of her lumpy shape filled my mind with dread.

Sometimes it feels like a scene from that Handmaid’s Tale show,

An invasion that happened so quickly, yet so slow.

There’s an episode where bodies of women fall through the floor.

I’ve watched others in my chemo unit see nothing beneath them, supported no more.

In the cancer world, you’re the reason why their breath ended,

So why do I think this thing between me and you can be mended?

You make me doubt myself, asking over and over, why not me?

You put a rope around my neck, and then set me free.

As much as I want to think it was three decades of healthy eating and bodily care,

We both know I just hit the lottery, I was spared.

Randomly struck by your hand with the lightest, yet noticeable touch,

You gave some of us too little, some of us too much.

It’s your fault a gene twisted within me from birth,

Seeing RIP and “she lost her fight” suddenly has me questioning my worth.

You confused my precious DNA spindles so they spun too far,

A twisted and tiny mistake that would cause scar after scar.

Seeds planted that waited thirty years to show,

You’re a coward who took three decades to grow.

I wonder what you were doing this whole time?

Letting me live and just waiting for your moment to shine?

You took everything from my perfectly planned life path,

My boobs, hair, sense of self, your fire is an endless evil wrath.

Then you showed me mindfulness and meditation,

Now I handle any fears without hesitation.

Your invasion changed relationships, some closer and some further away,

Showing me who is really going to be there each day.

You gave me the worst treatment plan I’ve ever seen,

But now I’m not scared of anything, even if it appears ugly and mean.

This is what I’m trying to understand,

Are we friends, foes or a life lesson that was planned?

Now I’m being stuck with needles again,

This time by choice and for that I think, “Amen.”

A tattoo artist leans over my forearm,

Etching you into my skin with a touch of leo and lioness charm.

This line between me and you is so blurry,

Forever embedded in my skin when I originally wanted you to leave in a hurry.

I’ll remember you exactly how I want to,

Surgery, chemo, radiation and all we’ve been through.

Unlike this inked art, you entered my house without knocking,

You’re just a drama queen with a skill to be shocking.

Now that we’ve met face to face,

No, I’m not letting you take over this place.

I made you retreat and stars aligned to lock in my fate,

All while you took sisters of mine and for that I have nothing but hate.

You stole from me while teaching me what I needed to know,

And for those lessons, I have a lot to show.

This relationship started and is going to remain the same in the end,

Are you my friend, foe or imaginary friend?

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