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Dear Cancer, You’ve Taken Enough From Me

by Missy EckenrodeSurvivor, Breast CancerJune 5, 2023View more posts from Missy Eckenrode

Dear Cancer,

I write this letter to you to inform you that you may want to reconsider your approach. For me, you came on too strong, out of nowhere, and wanted to be the center point of my life. These are not qualities or characteristics that I look for, particularly in any aspect of my life that I am going to share everything with. You brought me to my knees and held me in a very dark place in the beginning and for quite a while after my diagnosis. I am writing to tell you to get lost and to stay gone. FOREVER. You may not understand why, so I have outlined some things for you.

You want too much of me—and things that I frankly never wanted to give to you.

My body—you stole things from me and violated my body in a way that was and remains unacceptable, as some of these things have left scars and will never heal in the same way that things were initially. Thanks to you, I lost all of my hair (yep, even my eyelashes, eyebrows, and nose hairs), but don’t worry—they are growing back stronger and thicker than ever (well, not sure about the nose hairs, but everything else). You stole parts of my body and then I damaged them in the attempt to rid you of my life. I may not know the true damage from you and your selfishness for years to come, thanks to all of the chemicals that have gone into my body to banish you.

My time—I have missed countless days of work because of you; not because I didn’t want to be there, but because fighting with you took everything that I had in me at times. Other times, I went to work, struggling to hang in there sometimes, thanks to you. You isolated me and forced me to miss out on things with the most important people in my life, because I was too scared to be in a group of people, or because I was too sick to do anything besides leave the house or hospital bed. All thanks to you. (Also, thank you very little for the head-to-toe rash/reaction that you gave me when I was sick, following my first chemo treatment—just in time for my brother’s wedding.)

You see, you are a thief. And I do not welcome or accept thieves into my life. You may no longer have any of the parts of my body, and as little of my time as I am required to give you. The other thing that I am working to no longer give you is my time or thoughts of you. My time is for things that matter to me. My family. My friends. MY LIFE. Maybe you came to try to take all of this because you see the wonderful people that I have in my life, but dammit, they are mine. You are not welcome to have any of them and you sure as hell aren’t welcome to continue to occupy my thoughts on the regular, as you were never invited to start with. You’ve taken enough from me and others that I know who have encountered you. I think that I speak for all of us when I tell you to leave and never come back. If you ever show your face again, I will fight you with the same determination that I did this time. Don’t say that you weren’t warned.

Never yours truly,


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