An Open Letter To My Cancer

Dear Cancer,

I want to start this letter by saying that I fucking hate you. I have a lot of hate and anger towards you right now, and I have negative feelings that I haven’t felt in many years until you decided to come into my life. I am so angry I can’t stand it.

I hate you because I should be home lying in my comfortable, warm bed, but instead, I am lying in a cold hospital bed with an IV and monitors hooked on me. I hate it here.

I hate you because you are a thief who has wreaked havoc on my life. You have stolen something so precious to me — my joy. The day of my diagnosis was one of the hardest days I’ve ever had. I felt a heavy knife puncture my chest, and grief consumed every part of my being. I felt the kind of grief when someone you love dearly has died, but no one has — except you.

For the past several months, I have been mourning the loss of a woman who isn’t dead, but she isn’t alive either. I have been mourning the loss of the woman I used to be before you came into my life. Every morning when I look in the mirror, I only see dead eyes. I often wonder how I will manage to exist another day.

I hate you because your presence in my body feels like a death sentence. I have seen the damage you have done to so many lives. I have spent many days and nights crying uncontrollably, wondering if I will also be one of the souls you claim to store in your vault of victims. So many thoughts swarm in my head — and the uncertainty of it all is enough to make me insane. I question myself every day: How long do I have to live? What did I do wrong? What could I have done to prevent this? Why me?

I hate you because of the little control that I have over my body because of you. I hate you because I have spent more time going to the hospital than doing things I love. I miss hitting PRs at the gym, hanging out with my close friends, riding my bike, hiking, going out to dinner, and living a carefree life. I have stopped doing many things because I am always so tired and all I want to do is lay in bed.

I am angry because you have kept me from doing the one thing I am passionate about: writing. I have been struggling to finish any piece for months because you make it hard for me to think straight. I used to be good at writing things, but lately, I struggle to put sentences together.

We have known each other for a few months; even though you have knocked me out, I won’t let you win this fight. I will stop you, and you are not going to take me. I will ask God every day to give me the strength to fight you.

You have given me so much anger and hate, and I will use those feelings as fuel to give you a hell of a fight. You have made me realize how precious life is, and you have ignited a fire inside me that I won’t let you put out. I want to live, and I will not let you have the last laugh.

I hate you, but I am thankful I found you early enough to get treatment to stop you before you could cause more damage. I am grateful that it took me hitting rock bottom to find the strength I never knew I had. I am thankful that I have a chance to beat you. I am grateful for being given a chance at life.

Now I see that the old me needed to die so I could be reborn into a more robust version of myself. I will never take life for granted, and I will cherish every day as if it was my last, and I will live my life to the fullest.

I am grateful because you have woken the fighter inside me; it just took something as vile as you to awaken her. I don’t have super strength, but I am fueled with the will to live — and I will use this force within me to knock you out, Cancer.

It will not be an easy fight, and you will leave behind emotional, mental, and physical scars after your departure. But I will give you a hell of a fight and won’t back down.

Some days will be more challenging than others, but as long as my heart is still beating and I can open my eyes, I can overcome anything — especially you.

I hate you, but I am grateful to be able to share my story. I will be the voice for those whose lives you took too soon and those who are still trying to find their voice.

You have already stolen so much from me, but hope is what keeps me going — and you will not rob me of that.

So, Cancer, I hope you don’t get too comfortable living here, because your eviction notice will come to you soon enough.

Cancer, you may be tough, but I am tougher.