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Dear Cancer, You Don’t Care

by Julia SpurgeSurvivor, Ewings SarcomaJune 6, 2023View more posts from Julia Spurge

Dear Cancer,

Not that anything in this world could have prepared me, but I never saw you coming. I was healthy. I wasn’t sick. I was able to do everything that I had always done. I have to give it to you, I’m rarely surprised by things, but you gave me the biggest surprise of my life. I never saw you lurking in the shadows just waiting to take charge of my life as I knew it. Not at 37 years old. Not raising three young children. Not living hours away from any family or friends. There are so many things I want to say and nothing at the same time. 

Let’s be honest, you don’t care. You don’t care that I was told I was going to die and there was no hope. You don’t care that you took away my security and any sense of safety. You don’t care that you traumatized my children thinking that they’d be without their mother. It didn’t matter that I wasn’t a smoker, a drinker, or a drug addict. You don’t care about anything or anyone. You don’t care if I’m a good person or a terrible one. You don’t care if I believe in God. You don’t care if I’m rich or poor. All you do is take. 

Physically, I was unrecognizable. All my hair was gone, coming out in fistfuls in the shower like a bad movie. Underneath my eyes were black. My skin was pale. I was sicker and in more pain than I ever thought possible. I was so weak passing in and out of sleep that it felt more like comas. I could barely make it the ten feet from my bed to the bathroom without assistance. My anxiety was so bad I would hyperventilate, shake so hard my teeth would chatter, cry, and just pray for it all to end. I couldn’t care for my children and had to have someone around at all times for them. 

Mentally, I was a complete mess. I was scared all the time. I felt every emotion under the rainbow. I was sad and cried every day for years. I was angry. I was confused. I felt weak and useless. I felt so much hate, more than I care to admit. I hated that people knew I was sick upon sight, that people felt bad for me, that people pitied me, and that my children broke down crying thinking I’d be gone. I felt guilty because I assured my children I wasn’t leaving them even though I knew it wasn’t a promise I was sure I could keep. 

I felt like a burden. I felt useless. I felt like I was just existing. I felt numb. I was always the caretaker and that was ripped from me. I didn’t know who I was. I didn’t know who I should be. Nothing made sense. There was even a good year or more that went by that I don’t remember at all. I don’t remember birthdays or what my kids got for Christmas. But, despite all this, despite all the chemotherapy (300 hours to be exact), the multiple surgeries, the endless doctor visits, the scares, and the heartache, I am still here. By some miracle, I am able to watch my children grow and live another day. I’m not sure why I was spared but I am grateful and beyond lucky. It is not always easy, as this never completely ends. There will always be checkups and scans in my future. But, I will always do my best to move forward, to help others who are new at this, to share any advice I can, and to raise awareness in hopes of more people surviving what was sent to hurt them. I want to be an example of hope, strength, and a survival guide to those just like me. You are not alone. Cancer, you may have taken a lot from me but you missed one thing. My heart. And, it’s bigger than ever and not going anywhere. You, however, can go now.

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