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Darkest Hours

by Amelia RuizSurvivor, Philadelphia Negative B-cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL)May 28, 2024View more posts from Amelia Ruiz

Content warning: Suicidal ideation


A year away in California, a dream unfolding

Training, motivated, hungry for College

In the best shape of my life, smiling and at peace

Life crashes down, sickness strikes at twenty


Yellow skin, fatigue, barely able to breathe

Rushed to the ER, tests run, fear mounting

The news shakes me to my core, Leukemia

First born of immigrant parents, dreams shattered


Achievements tossed aside, fears looming

Family name now on a medical wristband

Branding of fear, message of mortality

All eyes on me, spotlight blinding


Stuck in a hospital, new city, months pass

Mother by my side, keeping me grounded

Room closing in, breaths shallow, food tasteless

The world spins on, while I remain stagnant


Days blur into weeks, weeks into months

Life on pause, uncertainty gripping my soul

Dreams of college fade, replaced by survival

Fear of the unknown, the threat of the end


But through the darkness, a light flickers

Strength rises within me, a warrior born

Fight in my veins, courage in my heart

I will not be defined by this diagnosis


Each day a battle, each moment a victory

Surrounded by love, supported by hope

I will not let Leukemia define me

I am more than my illness, more than my fear


And as the days pass, and the storm rages on

I find solace in the love that surrounds me

In the strength that grows within me

In the knowledge that I am not alone


So I stand tall, face turned to the sun

Embracing the journey, one step at a time

For I am a warrior, a survivor, a fighter

And Leukemia will not hold me down.


The taste of the food is like shit,

chemo makes me sick, my hair falls bit by bit.

Looking in the mirror, it’s not a dream,

just a nightmare, a never-ending stream.


I don’t leave my room for weeks on end,

my mom by my side, my dearest friend.

She sits on the hardest sofa known to man,

how can she stay calm, pray, take a stand?


My faith shattered with the doctor’s words,

months ago our lives were a world of discord.

God has left me to suffer, a sick joke indeed,

my body betrayed me in my hour of need.


We were healthy, fit, in the best shape of our lives,

now skinny and weak, all hope deprives.

Muscles gone, strength stripped away,

alone in my suffering, day after day.


No one in my family can truly understand,

the pain, the fear, the grip of this cruel hand.

Laying there, body failing, seeing others near,

fighting battles with COVID and Cancer, in sheer fear.


They die before my eyes, the teams rush in,

covered head to toe, like we’re filled with sin.

Shouting orders, trying to save a life,

while I lay in this bed, consumed by strife.


Different treatments, different faces,

all in the same fight, in different places.

My body ravaged, my spirit crushed,

each day a battle, a war that’s hushed.


But still my mom sits by my side,

her love and strength, a gentle guide.

Faith may have died, but hope still lives,

in the face of despair, she still forgives.


I may be weak, but her love is strong,

even in the darkest night, she carries on.

And though I may feel abandoned by fate,

she reminds me that it’s never too late.


To hold on to hope, to cling to love,

to push through the pain, to rise above.

So I’ll keep fighting, day by day,

for a brighter tomorrow, come what may.


All covered in gear like we were radioactive material not to mess with

Tubes and wires, monitors beeping incessantly

I’m tired of looking at the city skyline, the concrete jungle

I’m tired of the tasteless hospital food, the pain, the sadness

Should I rip out my picc-line, end this suffering?

Should I cave in and swallow as many pills as I can, escape this reality?

When will it end, this endless cycle of sickness and treatment?

I beg the doctors for answers, for a timeline of when I can go home

Is it next week, the week after? I’ve lost track of time in this sterile room

I’m losing faith in the future, in ever being healthy again


I long for a life without hospital walls closing in on me

No more needles pricking my skin, no more chemo cocktails

No more feeling like a burden to my family, to my loved ones

I should end it all, but I can’t bring myself to do it

Is it fear holding me back, fear of the unknown, fear of the pain?

How would my baby siblings react, how would my mother cope?

As she watches her firstborn lay there, helpless and weak

No more pain, no more suffering, no more of this unbearable weight


I’m a coward, I admit it, I don’t have the courage to end it all

So I wait, hoping for a miracle, for a sign that things will get better

Time passes, days turn into weeks, and I’m still confined to this hospital bed

But then a glimmer of hope appears, a chance for freedom on the horizon

My first day of release, I feel a mix of exhaustion and happiness

I made it through, against all odds, I survived

I reflect on the journey I’ve been on, the highs and lows, the moments of despair

I realize that despite the challenges, the pain, the setbacks

I am still here, still fighting, still holding on to hope


My first day of freedom, a victory at long last

After months of confinement, my spirit unmasked

Tired but happy, I bask in the sunlight

The weight of oppression, finally taking flight


Seven hours have passed since my release

A new chapter beginning, a sense of peace

But before the check-up, a visit to be made

To the bathroom I go, a familiar cascade


But wait, what’s this? A sight so alarming

A crimson stain, my heart is disarming

I cry out in fear, my family in panic

Rushed to the hospital, this day so manic


Not even a full day since my freedom won

And here I am, back where it all begun

Every five minutes, the need to relieve

The constant bleeding, my mind can’t conceive


Nine hours drag on, the wait so long

I’m taken to a room, where I don’t belong

Yellow and weak, my body betraying

God, not this place again, my heart is fraying


Nurses typing away, the team informed

Another trip to the bathroom, my body deformed

I sit and I wait, the bleeding won’t cease

Vision fading, crying out for release


The emergency cord, pulled in fear

My mother and nurse, drawing near

Blood on the floor, blood on my sheets

So much blood, my heart skips beats


Twenty people rushing in, a flurry of action

Trying to save me from this deadly attraction

The fear in their eyes, mirrored in mine

What is happening? A mountain to climb


Tests and scans, needles and tubes

Doctors and nurses, trying to diffuse

The mystery of my bleeding, the cause unknown

My freedom tainted, my victory overthrown


I only hear the doctor tell my mom to keep me awake

To not close my eyes, to stay present in this state

My vision blurry, I only see my mom’s worried face

Her hand gripping mine, her voice a calming embrace


I’m scared, will it be all over soon?

Will I wake up in a different room?

I apologize to her for not living my dreams

For not being who I really am, or so it seems


She doesn’t understand, she’s confused

But she continues to talk to me, to soothe

Assuring me that everything will be okay

That I’ll make it through another day


But then I hear it, the dreaded “Code Blue”

My mother lets go and I’m rushed out of view

Into the elevator, strangers all around

What are they doing to me, where am I bound?


White light from the ceiling, blinding my sight

I’m strapped to a metal table, filled with fright

Surgeons and nurses surround me, ready to fight

To find out what’s wrong, to make things right


A cool liquid injected into my veins

Darkness surrounds me, as I feel the pain

I wake up, eyes glued shut, throat sore

Lines on my arms, wrists restrained, wanting more


Moving hurts, wrists ache, body sore

I’m held down to the bed, feeling trapped in this war

A familiar voice, my mom’s soothing tone

Bringing comfort to my weary bone


Different machines beep around me

Doctors and nurses bustling, trying to see

What’s wrong with me, why I’m in this state

Will I make it out, or is it too late?


I struggle to make sense of it all

To piece together this frightening fall

But for now, I’ll hold onto my mom’s hand

And pray for the strength to withstand


This moment of uncertainty and fear

Hoping that I’ll make it through, dear

I only hear the doctor’s words echo

As I drift in and out of the unknown.


My mom’s tear-streaked face is the first thing I see

As I slowly come to consciousness, groggy and disoriented

Her eyes are red and swollen, a look of relief mixed with fear

She explains to me what happened, the internal bleeding

In my short intestine, the hours of surgery that saved my life


I have been asleep for three days, but it feels like

Only a moment has passed, just blackness and nothingness

During that time, darkness was my only companion

I try to calm myself, to stop the panic rising in my chest

But my wrists are strapped down, movement restricted


I gesture to my mother, asking when these restraints

Will be removed, when I can feel the freedom of movement

She replies softly, “It’ll take some time”, and I feel

The anger and frustration bubbling up inside me

I want it all to be over, to be able to run and fly again


Two weeks in the ICU, surrounded by beeping machines

And constant reminders of my fragility and mortality

I see a young man in the next room, his parents by his side

And I wonder if that will be me, if I will be the one

To not make it through this ordeal, leaving my loved ones behind


The days drag on, the pain relentless and exhausting

I watch as the young man’s body is wheeled away

His parents collapsing into each other’s arms in grief

And I can’t help but wonder if I will follow him

Into the darkness that awaits us all


I see an older man in the room next to mine

Sitting in a chair, enjoying a sandwich without a care

And I envy him, his freedom and normalcy

While I am stuck with bland broth and tasteless Jell-O

I long to be where he is, outside of this sterile prison


But I know that I must be patient, that healing takes time

Even as the days stretch into weeks, and the weeks into months

I hold on to the hope that one day, I will be free

To fly once again, to breathe in the fresh air

And to leave this nightmare behind me forever.


Days pass, another kid passes away

I see her body moved away

Her parents breaking down in grief

Will that be me, I silently wonder

As I watch the sorrow unfold

Another day passes, the older man’s body

Is moved away, a final farewell to life

Everyone around me seems to be dying

Please God, let me go too

Let it all end, this pain and suffering

I’m moved to a top floor again

Out of ICU, where life hangs by a thread

Locked up for another three months

Monitoring me, watching my every move

Looking for anything bad to happen

All eyes on me, waiting for the worst


It’s too much, the constant scrutiny

I want to cry, I want to leave

I’ve been through so much shit

My life has always been a sick joke

Of Murphy’s Law, where everything that can go wrong, does

Treatment keeps pushing forward

I “heal”, only to be struck down again

Months pass and everything that could happen… happened

Seizures from chemo, loss of sight for two weeks

Loss of speaking, a cruel twist of fate

Why me, I scream into the void

Why me, when others seem to sail through life effortlessly


Three long years later, I ring the bell

A symbol of victory over the disease

This is something I never thought I would see

It’s over, the battle finally won

But it doesn’t feel like it’s over

I feel empty, hollowed out by the struggle

I’ve tried to do school and treatment

In hopes of feeling “normal” again

But it all blows up spectacularly

Too much going on, too much to handle

The weight of it all crushing me


But through the darkness, a glimmer of hope

A light at the end of the tunnel

I cling to the memories of those lost

Their spirits guiding me forward

I am a survivor, a warrior, a fighter

And though the road has been long and hard

I emerge stronger, with scars that tell a story

Of resilience, of courage, of never giving up


So I take a deep breath, and let it out

I release the pain, the fear, the doubt

And I step into the unknown

With a newfound sense of purpose

Ready to embrace whatever comes my way

For I am a survivor, I am a warrior

I am unstoppable, unbreakable

And I will continue to fight, to live

With every ounce of strength in my being


Days may pass, and life may throw challenges my way

But I will face them head-on, with courage in my heart

For I have faced the darkest of days

And emerged victorious, a beacon of hope

In a world filled with uncertainty and despair

I am a survivor, and I will never give up.


Too much going on, I need a break

Coming out as a Trans woman

On my birthday, two years’ time

Has taken its toll on my mental health


I thought I would feel happier

That I would be smiling, tears of joy

I never imagined I would come out

In this lifetime, after suppressing it for so long


Since kindergarten, I hid my true self

Little cracks would appear, but no one noticed

Most people saw me as a straight dude

With a little spice, but I was never that person


Thoughts of coming out were filled with relief

The weight I carried for years would lift

Off my shoulders, but it never did

My mom, my best friend, my inspiration


She was not happy at first, still not.

Locked in my room, feeling like a failure

Cancer would be easier, I thought

But the mental health battle is the hardest


Suicidal thoughts come and go

It takes time to get better, to heal

The word I hated for years finally makes sense

Different, unique, beautiful


No longer hiding, no longer suppressing

I am me, and that is all that matters

It may be a tough journey, but it is worth it

To be true to myself, to live authentically


I will not let the darkness consume me

I will stand tall, proud of who I am

For those who do not understand

I hope they find peace and acceptance within themselves


I am a Trans woman, strong and resilient

I will overcome the challenges, the doubts

I am proud of who I am, and that is enough

To keep moving forward, one step at a time. I. Am. Me.


The word that I hated for years finally makes sense,

Time is not my enemy, it’s my friend.

It took time to heal, to make it to survivorship,

It took time to come out, and it will take time to accomplish my dreams.

I’ve always wanted to be a pediatrician,

But now, after all that I’ve experienced,

My calling is to help those with Leukemia,

Especially children, just like I went through.

I’ll know what it feels like and I’ll do alright,

My darkest hours, hurt like hell.


I was recently diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder,

Next to my depression,

Please get help when you need it,

Many times I’ve thought about suicide,

With all the shit that I’ve been through,

But I never did it,

I still don’t know why?

This too shall pass.


Your emotions are valid, they are real,

It just takes time,

Whatever your story, whatever your path is,

Smile and know that you’re doing great, love.


I’ve been through hell and back,

But I’ve emerged stronger,

I’ve faced my demons head-on,

And I’ve come out the other side.


I used to be consumed by self-hatred,

By the belief that I was unworthy,

But now I see that I am enough,

That I am deserving of love and happiness.


I’ve learned to let go of the past,

To forgive myself for the mistakes I’ve made,

To release the shame and guilt that held me back,

And to embrace the person I am becoming.


I now understand that my struggles have purpose,

That they have shaped me into the person I am today,

And that I can use my pain to help others,

To be a beacon of hope in their darkest hours.


I may not have all the answers,

I may still have moments of doubt and fear,

But I know that I am on the right path,

And that with time, I will achieve my dreams.


So I will continue to fight,

To never give up,

To reach out for help when I need it,

And to keep moving forward, one step at a time.


For time is not my enemy,

It is my friend,

And with each passing day,

I grow stronger and more resilient.


I am a survivor,

And I will not let my past define me,

For I am so much more than the sum of my struggles,

I am a warrior, a fighter, a healer.


And I will use my experiences,

My pain and my triumphs,

To inspire others,

To show them that they too can overcome.


So to anyone who is struggling,

Who feels lost and alone,

Who is battling their inner demons,

Remember that you are not alone.


There is help and support out there,

There is light at the end of the tunnel,

And with time, you will heal,

You will find peace and purpose.


So hold on tight,

Keep pushing forward,

And know that you are loved,

You are strong, and you are worthy

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