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Dear Cancer, You Defined What I Was Made Of

by Lyndi AboteJune 25, 2021View more posts from Lyndi Abote

Hello Cancer,

Let me start by saying you are a mother fucker. No one likes you. You are the epitome of evil and everything that is not good in this world, but you disguise yourself so well that you have found a way to walk amongst some of the most incredible people I have had the privilege of getting to know.

You walk into people’s lives announced and often at the most inopportune time; not that there is ever a great time for you, cancer, but still. You wreak havoc on all parts of life, and you do it without a second thought.

You apparently thought I was a good person to take up residence starting in 2019. Perhaps it was because I was already so knocked down you thought you could come in and I wouldn’t notice you. That you could take over every part of my body and wear me down so much I wouldn’t have the strength or capacity to survive. I had just come off of three years of absolute torment from my “so called” family. Accusation after accusation of being a home wrecker or having an affair. That tore me down to my core. My marriage ended with the assumption it was because I had an affair, and to end the trifecta, I found someone I loved with every ounce of my heart, only to be bamboozled by empty words and actions. I was as low as I had ever felt. Grief beyond belief.

I had completely lost myself. I didn’t even know why I was still taking oxygen up in this world. I worked harder than I ever had to barely scratch the surface of happiness. You couldn’t even see the scratch with the naked eye; you needed to see it with a microscope it was so faint. I finally felt a bit of weight off my shoulders. I was starting to remember what it felt like to wake up and not feel pain, not to have tears already pooled into the corner of my eyes. I was just beginning to understand I could go through at least part of the day and not think about those that destroyed my spirit. I started finding my heart again, my values, what made up Lyndi. For the love that all is holy I was giving my kidney to a complete stranger because my ex-boyfriend asked me over facebook messenger. And I truly felt it was the right thing to do. I was starting to believe that I was pretty again, that I was ready and willing to accept love; I was actually starting to believe that I was deserving of a happy life. Not the narrative that so many others were writing for me.

Then, Cancer, you decided to make your appearance into my life. Of course you did. Isn’t that Murphy’s Law? Not only had it been confirmed that you came into my life, it was discovered that you had been taking up residence in my body for many months before you were so strong you could no longer hide.

I met you October 29, 2019. It was a frigid fall night. While only Fall, it was a typical crazy Colorado day where snow and ice made a strong appearance for the first time this season. As I sat there in the hospital room completely carefree and naive to what was about to happen to me, I sat there remarkably peaceful. A sense of peace and happiness. A true, strong, rooted belief that life was ok. And then in that exact moment of utter peace, cancer erupted through the words, “We found a mass and it is not good. You have deadly cancer.” You mother fucker… you took any and all hope that I was holding onto in the moments before.

For weeks I did not want to accept you, acknowledge you or in all reality believe you had taken space in my life. But that wasn’t working. The more I pushed you away, cancer, the worse I got. On all aspects of life. Mentally, physically, emotionally. I couldn’t do it anymore; I had to welcome you into my life with open arms. I can see the reader’s face right now… what the hell are you talking about? Accept cancer? Yup, you heard me right.

Cancer, I had to open the door for you. I had to accept you fully. Every goddamn part of you. I had to feel every ounce of you. I had to have you take over the parts of my body that you needed to. I needed to fully experience the treatments of killing you. I had to figure it all out. I had to figure you out. I had to figure out my lesson. If I didn’t fully accept you into my life, I never would have.

Accepting you meant allowing you to ravage my body, take over, become all-consuming and, being realistic, it meant I had to allow and accept that you were killing me. It was just you and me. In a daily war. Some days you won the battles and other days I was victorious.

You are strong cancer. So fucking strong. There is no denying that. But everyone that encounters you is stronger than you, even if you have silenced them earthside. You cannot survive love, life and hope.

Cancer, you also defined me. So many people, quotes and books will say, “Cancer didn’t define me.” But it did. You defined me as a strong, resilient, bold, fragile, real, badass woman. You defined what I was made of.

And I thank you.

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

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