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Dear Cancer, You Have Awakened Me

by Leah DuncanSurvivor, AdenocarcinomaJune 6, 2022View more posts from Leah Duncan

Dear Cancer,

You showed up when I least expected it. I suppose that’s how it always goes. I remember the air being sucked from my lungs for a brief minute, then, awkwardly, my mind went still, and I just stared out the window. I had heard of you before, but meeting you face-to-face was, well, life changing. You made everyone around me sad. I was angry for that. When you came, people looked at me differently and treated me as if I was now weak. As you began to take over my body, so did the fight. The surgeries, the injections, the pills and chemo, and the radiation. You came so quickly and took so much so fast. It felt like you would be around forever. But one day, you left. Everyone cheered and said goodbye, assuring me I was now “OK.” But that isn’t the case. You see, you never left, and I believe you never will. You are in my mind, in my soul, and in the physical form that has taken shape with the aftermath of what you did. But hear me when I say, I am thankful for you. You taught me what it means to truly live. How kindness and love are the most important things in this world. How simple life can be. How to overlook the trivial. How to stand up for myself and to know my self-worth. How to set boundaries and know that it’s OK. How giving back to others and your community fulfills you. You have shown me things I couldn’t see. As much as you took from me, you have awakened me. 

Leah Duncan

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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