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

Dear Cancer, You’ve Come Back

by Mallory CaspersonSurvivor, Hodgkin's LymphomaJune 11, 2021View more posts from Mallory Casperson

Dear Cancer,

You’ve come back.

I felt you on the soft edges of my neck and chest. There you were, nestled just so, the hard masses enveloped in soft tissue. Hoping you could hide perhaps? To go undetected while you multiplied and spread from one lymph node to another?

I wasn’t supposed to see you again.

This far from my first diagnosis, there was a less than 5% percent chance that you’d revisit. The memory of your last visit had receded to the back of my mind, filling spaces reserved for experiences visited long ago. You had become part of a past life, the particulars growing foggy. The triumph of survivorship, of having survived, were all that was left of that time of fear, discomfort, and loneliness.

I felt you.  

Terror settled into my mind as the consequences of this reality zipped and careened across my mind. I cried to the universe. I yelled at the sky.  I cursed the heavens. How could this be? Why was this happening? How would we make it through? The days of uncertainty were uneventful, life going on without a hitch, but the afternoons were dreadful. The various outcomes of your presence would flip through my mind, inescapably moving from one frightening option to the next. One minute, I’d see that it had all been just a grand mistake and the next minute I’d see my little family forced to continue on without me.

Then, it happened.

A moment of calm, of clarity. I watched my little family from across the room, saw their smiling faces as they danced and sang in an instant of everyday happiness. The difference versions of the future stilled and all I had left was here in front of me. In that moment, I knew that whatever happened, we would be ok.

So, here we sit, nestled together.

Until you leave again,


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

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