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Dear Cancer, This is My Battle Cry

by Andrew WilliamsSurvivor, Brain TumorJune 25, 2021View more posts from Andrew Williams

Dear Cancer,

We became acquainted many years ago. You entered my life by afflicting my mother first and then my father. I was a young child and did not know what you were, how you changed lives, broke hearts and created so much suffering. You have left your mark throughout history and continue to do so. You are certainly unique and have a way of bringing people together and tearing them apart.

I remember the days of my mother lying in bed barely able to speak or move while receiving treatment for you. I did not understand why. My father told me, “Mom is sick with cancer. Let her rest.” I didn’t know what that meant. I was used to seeing my mother headstrong, lively and fiercely driven to fulfill her roles as a loving mother and supportive wife. I do remember you challenged her, weakened her, but did not break her. You tried, in fact twice, but did not succeed. It seems as since you could not have her, you then chose to afflict my father. And that was also not a wise decision. My father is a man that knows he has the duty to take care of his family, so he openly defied you, fought back and thrived. After witnessing the way you were denied and saw my parents recover, I honestly didn’t see what you were all about until you decided to strike once again.

This time, you appeared unannounced into a very close friend’s life. A friend who was a young, vibrant, beautiful woman and was nothing but light, warmth and kindness in my life and many others. You quietly struck in a way so unassuming she didn’t think much of it. Within a few months of your surprising entrance in her life, her life was extinguished by you. I stood by her bedside as she took her last breath. It was during that moment I realized the magnitude of pain you caused, a strength you possessed that must be respected and understood, and how fragile life really is. Time stopped and I just stared at my friend waiting to see her take another breath which never came. I cried and cried and didn’t know why this had happened. This revealed to me that youth does not mean you are immune to the most frightening ailments.

For many years I thought I was doing everything right to stay healthy in my life so I would not have to contend with you. You reared your ugly head in my family and friend’s lives, but I would not let you enter into mine. Or so I thought.

One year, five months ago, you decided to change my plans. Without any knowledge, you attempted to infiltrate my mind and my body in the form of a brain tumor. Doctors told me how long they thought I had left to live, the damage and pain you would cause and the turmoil you would bring into my life. I did not fully understand all this, but I didn’t accept it either. Needlessly, I say I am still here. I did not let you take over me. I survived and will continue to thrive. I will tell you this; you are respected. For you, in my eyes, are a wakeup call for those whose lives you enter. When you appear, it means something isn’t right in our lives and bodies. We are living in a very toxic world that honestly leaves a door wide open for you to come in. I admit and share with you that you were a hidden blessing in my life. You caused my loved ones and I so much pain and fear, but you also taught so much and awakened a strength inside me I didn’t know I had. You challenged my family, my friends and I. Some of us came through victorious; and sadly, some didn’t. And because of those that didn’t and those you are afflicting day after day, year after year, I want you to know, that I am coming for you now.

I learned your lessons and will share them with others before you enter their lives so they will not make your acquaintance. You are longer taking the lead in this match. It’s my turn; it’s humanity’s turn to strike back. You are a respected adversary, but you are not welcome. I leave you with this. Thank you for making me stronger, much more aware of life, gratitude and my mortality. I will never again take life for granted. My eyes have been opened. My mind has been awakened and my heart has mourned. You can never take my soul or break my spirit, and I will teach, guide and support others on their journeys to overthrow you. You may not be completely understood, and you are a sign that we are chronically sick, but I cannot let you thrive any longer. There is no way for you to prepare. This is my battle cry, my future revelry, my statement in which I declare YOUR time cancer, is coming to an end. 

Rolling with the punches,


To read this letter and the other letters to cancer, click here to read and download the June 2021 Magazine

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