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Dear Cancer, F You and Thank You

by Paola PalmieriNeuroendocrine CancerDecember 16, 2020View more posts from Paola Palmieri

This article was in our December 2020 Magazine – Click Here to view that issue!

Dear cancer,

Fuck you and Thank you…

Fuck you for making me hear one of the most painful news one can bear: “You have incurable cancer”. Fuck you for making me go through the whole painstaking process of dealing with this condition, from denial to grieve to acceptance, and the dreadful memories that come along with it. Fuck you for robbing my precious time with my two sons. While I could have focused more on my first son’s Kindergarten year, teaching my toddler fun games, and developing my professional career, you consumed my mind and time worrying about my prognosis, treatments, and recovery. You forced me to have to explain what cancer is to a 5-year old and even worse, to have to explain to him that his mother has this incurable illness. Fuck you for stealing my peace of mind every single day at every moment since it was you who was the first and last thought in my mind each day. Fuck you for requiring me to face mortality while I was only in my thirties. At this age, I should not be worried about how long I have to live. I should be worried about what I am making for dinner or if my children are doing well in school. Fuck you for the weeks spent at the hospital, for the weight loss, the never-ending tests, scans, and doctors’ appointments, the countless needles injected in my body, and the everlasting anxiety ingrained in me. Lastly, fuck you for silently but deliberately wreaking havoc in my body for years without giving me the slightest warning. You were so devious in your intent that you even allowed me to carry both my children right next to you and not giving any sign of your existence. The thought of them growing inside me alongside you repulses me.

Despite all of this, I do want to thank you…

Thank you for changing my life for the better. Because of you, I now know the meaning and value of living in the present. Every day, I make time to breathe and take in what lies ahead. I stop to look around me and notice, to feel the softness of my children’s little hands inside mine, to admire a beautiful sunset, sunrise, or rising moon and to really appreciate and be grateful for what I have today and the people who surround me. Because of you, I take every day as a gift. Thank you for making my family stronger and bringing me closer to those who really matter. Because of you, I received an outpouring of love and support from family and friends near and far. You have also allowed me to be part of an remarkably special community of fighters; people who fight and never give up because giving up is not an option. Because of you, I am able to inspire and encourage others, and at the same time, feel incredibly moved and touched by stories similar to mine. Thank you for making me love life with a fierce passion and for finding strength in me I never knew I had. Even though you have caused a lot of affliction and tears, you have taught me to lead a meaningful and purposeful life. I know you and I can live harmoniously together for many years to come. I have a lot to live for and many feats still to accomplish and you will never take that away from me.

This article was in our December 2020 Magazine – Click Here to view that issue!

All of the posts written for Elephants and Tea are contributed by patients, survivors, caregivers and loved ones dealing with cancer.  If you have a story or experience you would like to share with the cancer community we would love to hear from you!  Please submit your idea at

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