The Elephant in the Room is Cancer. Tea is the Relief Conversation Provides.

Dear Cancer, You Were A Dictator

by Anna PaynePatient, Colon Cancer and Cystic Fibrosis June 7, 2023View more posts from Anna Payne

Editor’s Note: This letter was written in January 2022

Dear Cancer, 

It feels as if you have been with me longer than six months, and that is quite literally because you have. You snuck in and allowed my body to become your ally, to get what you needed to survive. You told my physical being that it would be okay and you wouldn’t cause any problems. You gained acceptance from my cells to ensure they joined you, to solidify your survival. It was all a trick. You took your time—in theory, years—convincing them you weren’t a bad guy. Just like in the outside world, my physical body believed you. It bought into it, so much so that it allowed you to infiltrate so many parts of it to secure your growth and survival. 

You spread like Fascism, unexpected and slowly while gaslighting my cells and organs. All of a sudden you were a dictator causing harm and damage. Two things you told my loving body you wouldn’t do. 

You came in silence until you had spread, establishing and claiming parts of my body as your own. 

This was your mistake. Your mistake was making yourself known. My physical body may have let you be, but my soul and mind will not. We now have control and we are aligned in destroying you. It is over, it’s our mission, and I have never had a mission more critical. You, Cancer, have never had a challenger more determined to win this war and see you go. 

You have already taken so much from me, but what you didn’t know is I adapt. My whole life I have been adapting to survive, and this is no different. 

I miss my normal life. I miss just having one disease to manage. I miss my hair, I miss my friends, I miss going to work, and I miss the ignorance that came before I knew you even existed. I’ll continue to miss those things because I know it’s temporary. Just like you are.  

You can have my ability to reproduce. I didn’t need that anyway. You can have the last six months I have dedicated to beating you down. Hell, you can have the next five months. 

The difference is now I’m awake, I’m aware, and my army, alliances, and I are united in your destruction. 

I said from day one that I refuse to live in a world where you wouldn’t be eliminated. Well, we have shrunk you, cut some of you out, and unfortunately for you, we both live to fight another day. 

I hope you know your days are numbered. I have started counting. The clock restarted, and I can assure you every part of my being is ready to kick you out. You may have tricked my body in order to get in, but we’re all hip to your game and the gig is up. It is time to go.  

Consider this your official notice: you are being evicted by May 2022. You will have to pack your things and move out or be eliminated. I have sent in reinforcements; chemo is coming for you. I’m coming for you; we are all coming for you. I hope you no longer enjoy your stay at the inn. Let’s get uncomfortable. 


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