Thursday, October 07, 2010

Dear cancer

I'm not going to get into the #pinkwashing of October or the ineffectiveness of silly games for social activism. Instead, I'm putting my money where my mouth is and went to the Varian website to write a letter to cancer. I guess I'm finally getting paid to write, only the $50 is going to the American Cancer Society.

Want to really be an advocate for cancer awareness and prevention? Go write your own letter. Varian will donate another $50, and you will have made an actual difference.

Here's my letter. Apologies in advance for my potty mouth. In my experience, cancer deserves some serious cursing.


Dear Cancer,

I hate you.

The two women in my life who mean the most to me are both fighting you with everything they've got.

You tried to take my momma when I was only seven years old. That was beyond cruel. But she fought you. And she won that round. Thirty years later though, she is fighting you again. You have attacked everything that physically makes her a woman, stripping her of breast, ovaries, uterus. Yet, she is still the most beautiful woman I know.

Now, I wait. Weekly updates come. I wait for her to be able to travel baptize her youngest grandson. Just one more trip, cancer. Can't she have this?

The drugs she takes to fight you off, hold you at bay, make her so tired that she lives her life from her chair. She loses her breath when she crosses the room. You have taken her energy, but you will never take her spirit.

If it wasn't enough to try and defeat my momma, you had to go and attack my best friend. For fuck's sake, she was nursing her child. Her five month old was still getting his nourishment exclusively from her when you decided to attack her breasts. His source of life. Her main source of mothering. She didn't even get to have closure in their nursing relationship because of the toxins required for her initial scans.

But she fought you back. A cancer that takes more women than it leaves, she fought you back and we all cheered for her. Her children are weaned. They are starting school. They are growing up, and she is still here to see it.

Of course, you can't stand that. You can't stand that she won what very well could have been your battle. So you strike her again, taking lymph nodes that she very much needs. Requiring her to go back on chemo, cancel trips and playdates, make room for afternoon naps, and wear slippers to school pick up. What you don't know is that she rocks those slippers. Take that, stupid cancer.

I don't have my head in the sand. I know that you will take people that I love sooner than they should go. But I want for you to remember that they aren't going quietly. They are warriors. They are the strongest women I know or will ever know. They are powerful and brave.

You will not win. Even when they are gone, you will not have won.

I hate you, cancer.