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Dear Cancer, What Should I Say to You?

by April KemenPatient, Breast Cancer June 20, 2022View more posts from April Kemen

Dear Cancer,

What should I say to you?

Maybe I will start by complaining to you about all the tests, scans, appointments, needle pokes, surgeries, and medications I have endured because of you.

Or we could talk about all the unwelcome changes you have made to my body.

I could say, “You ruined my life!” “You caused me so much pain!” Or even, “You killed my best friend!”

How about I just tell you that I hate you!

My life has been completely changed because of you.

I am learning how to accept the damaged body you left behind. The deformed nipple-less breasts, the short thin hair, the achy joints, the hormonal acne, and all the scars—both visible and invisible.

I grieve the loss of my best friend and feel such guilt that I survived, and she didn’t. I look at her young daughter and wonder if you are going to hurt her again by taking over her body one day.

I think about all the good I could have done with the thousands of dollars I had to spend trying to kill you. That money could have saved a lot of cats. But nope, I had to waste it on you, Cancer!

I will thank you for three things.

You helped me see how loved I am. So many people showed up and helped me through this horrible time.

You gave me extra time with my mother. If I was not on long-term leave from my job because of you, I would not have been able to see her as often as I have these past two years.

You created connections across the country for me. I now have new friendships and have found new artistic skills within myself.

Cancer, since July 2020, you have taken over my life. From that day forward my thoughts have been about you. Why did you come into my life? What do I need to do today to kill you once and for all? Am I doing enough? Will you ever really leave?

Cancer, you came in and messed up all the pieces of my puzzle. I spend every day trying to put them back where they belong. Can you please just give me enough time to finish my puzzle?


April Joy Kemen

PS: I miss you, Julie Hoye!

This article was featured in the 2022 Dear Cancer issue of Elephants and Tea Magazine! Click here to read our magazine issues.

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