The infamous "C" word
I'm actually ambivalent about hearing Cancer referred to in that way
Cause yes its ugly, yes, its terrible
But its something we need to say
We need people to hear that word
And feel the fear, the sadness, the Disgust. the anger
Let that word settle in the mind and every letter metastisize until it creates a giant mass in this culture
Let it grow so large that it can't be avoided
Let it push aside all the worlds organs and make room for itself until The pain is unbearable!
Let our communities cough cough cough
COUGH it out
And cough it up
Until pharmacies and hospitals run out of tissues
Until its reached the hearts of politicians
Go on. Don't be afraid to say cancer...
And while you're at it don't forget me.
I don't care about my name
But don't forget the faces you DONT see
That's the adolescent and young adult cancer bunch, I know you probably haven't heard much about us.
But what a pleasure it would be!
To awake one morning and have left it all behind.
To not have it's lingering aches and pains
Forever Burdening my body and my mind?
See it doesn't make sense when WE hurt.
So I'm a part of yet another minority.
One with faaar less research...
And far MORE misdiagnosis
We're young and healthy
So a sudden cough
is eeeasily tuberculosis
Or the flu,
Or a headache,
So OUR cancers goes unnoticed.
But even later down the line
When we've found it in our lungs.
Or spine. Or bones because we young adults are KNOWN to get the RAREST kind.
Post-having found it in our blood
Or lurking throughout our tissues
We're once again faced with another haughty list of damning issues.
don't get me wrong cancer is the worst no matter what your age may be.
To see our grandparents have to suffer?
Or an innocent baby with this disease?!
it's never easy on the eyes and even harder on the heart
But THIS poem...
This poem. just for once.
is for a special part.
For this club no one wants to be part of.
This group coalesced with every color and faith but all sharing the same needs...donning the same scars...
Facing questions without answers
Don't you dare have the audacity to be afraid to say, "Cancer"
I say these words for some of my dearest friends,
The Living and the MANY deceased-
have shaaared in my unique. griefs!
THEY have encountered these micro. organic. thieves.
That steal our TIME!
Precious, formative, years of our lives.
That we can never get back!
Babies don't have to worry about that.
Our grandparents and elders don't either, these are just the facts, people.
We have fragments of our fragile lives that surgeries can't suture
Time that should be spent in school.
Or pursuing our dreams.
But instead forcing us to think 15 years into our future
Wondering how we'll tell our husband's and wives that we can't have children
that we can biologically call "mine"
It's a time where we haven't even
thought about those things.
just getting to know who we are as individuals, beings.
And finally coming to grips with being in our own skin!
Are you kiddin'?!
But seriously, there's nothing "punny" about feeling as though your life has ended.
Like a semi truck hit you at full speed and your entire world is left scattered across life's highway.
You're trying to pick up the shards of you left scattered acrros the pavement
As your friends drive by with degrees and families And you're still going through Chemo treatment.
And or -radiation
And or- a bone marrow transplant
or -reconstructive surgery because your ******* were removed.
About a handful of med students were among the first to see my *****.
So don't be afraid to say cancer.
And don't even let me begin on the financial grievances that will follow us, my friend.
Because we're the least likely to have insurance for this thing going in.
And when your universe is in a tailspin and its chemotherapy or die you aren't thinking about the quadruple digits that will soon be applied.
Because unfortunately, you later realize American medicine and pharmacies just as all other industries, thrives off demand and supply.
cancer diagnosis is like being tossed in the land of oz but the yellow brick road is paved with bills.
I prayed to God over my heart like tin man
So I could still show compassion for a friend
Like lion I sought courage because day by day cancer made me feel so small, defenseless and helpless
The depression I faced regularly wreaked havoc on my mind
And if scarecrow only knew about Chemo brain!;
--his memory's probably better than mine.
But like Dorothy,
all I wanted was HOME.
More accurately all I wanted was what I once knew as normal.
Before I lost all my hair.
Before the steroids changed my face.
Before a couple weeks in the hospital destroyed 15 years of barre work and master classes
I wanted so desperately for the old me back.
But I later learned that that girl was just a memory
I'm a different person now
And during this experience I've grown from girl to woman
And have adopted this new normal
That embraces EVERY moment
That experiences time outside of the conditions conditioned by this world
And the parameters of the classic, outdated, Irrational American Dream.
And what seems to be this incessant, false, idealistic, actualization of what it means
They ask you what you want to be
Before you can even read!
So we're so bent on the future that when our plans are sent off track we beat ourselves until will bleed
Having watered, nurtured, and cultivated.the white picket seed
There's no template set in place to affirm whether you have achieved.
So don't be afraid to say cancer
Cause it reminds me of what I've learned
I've witnessed miracles first-hand that a scalpel could never know
And I love hard
And from a place of deep, sincere, empathy
For my fellow man no matter how great or small his burdens be
After what I've gone through my faith outweighs my fear
In fact, I'm fearless!
I'm a pro at sweat and tears!
And It didn't take cancer to make me realize these things
I certainly would have been perfectly fine. without it
This wasn't given to me as a punishment.
But allowed to happen as a testament
And now I stand here before you
With a raggedy lung
And A quarter of my intestines
For Dawn, for Jordan, for Lili, Bill, for Merideth, for Carly, for Taylor, Delaney, for Meghan...
For Katy, for Beth, for Eugenio
And for Jen...
I stand here today for the 72000 Adolescents and young adults diagnosed with cancer year on end.
To give a voice to those of us that are too scarred to speak
A voice to those of us that are no longer here to speak.
and a voice to those of us that are so happy that they can finally start to see a life after cancer that they don't ever want to speak of it again.
I'm here for all the silent warriors
All those that have *****-stained chain mail, cancer cells dripping from the tips of their swords.
With chemo pumping though their veins and radiation burning through their breast plates--whose shields don ribbons and middle fingers, and crosses and curse words!
and I'm begging YOU,
OOOH you lucky few that have not the pleasure to take on this heavy, honorable, garb.
That when you're raising money.
When you're saying your prayers.
When you're deciding how you're going to make some sort of difference in this insane and tragic world.
Don't be afraid to say cancer.
Don't forget about us.