A Letter to Cancer

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Something a little different (and a little more personal) for you today, but I’ve been in two minds about writing this post recently and in the words of Nike, I decided to just do it. Inspired by the wonderful Kerry’s post (which you can read here, it made me think big time). This one is dedicated to someone very special in my life who has cancer (not disclosed for privacy reasons). I also want to dedicate this to anyone you know who may have cancer, or anyone who has been affected by it in some way. As usual, thank you for reading and any comments/stories are always welcome. 

– J


Dear Cancer,

It’s funny how desperate people can be to win lotteries, and yet – you are the one lottery nobody wants to win. Nobody will ever buy one of your scratch cards or bid on you. Somehow, you still manage to infiltrate far too many lives and sweep the rug out from under our feet. Not just the people you affect, but their loved ones and all those who care about them.

Let’s be honest here. You don’t care, do you?

You don’t care about the damage you do when you go barging through all those undeserving people’s lives. You don’t care about the way you cripple them and the emptiness that takes over when they lose their purpose. You don’t care about the confusion and pain they go through every single day. The pain of the treatment side effects, the pain of not being able to do the simplest things you used to take for granted. You just don’t care, do you?

It’s a simple life for you. All you do is take advantage of a few mutations and a decent blood supply, and you have the ability to give a person a death sentence just like that. Thank god for modern medicine, which has made you more of a chronic condition rather than a ticking time bomb. So many people around the world are working together to make new breakthroughs and discoveries to keep you down. Or even better – get rid of you altogether. Trust me, that’s something we aspire to as a human race, and we are working tirelessly to make that happen.

Here’s the thing – you don’t deserve to triumph over someone.

You don’t deserve to win so easily. Why should you? Not when the rest of us have to work hard to accomplish what we want in life. It takes blood, sweat and tears to make our dreams a reality. You have no right to win simply by existing. As far as I’m concerned, you’re nothing but another one of life’s hurdles. Sure, you come in varying stages and types but in a nutshell, you’re just another obstacle that gets in our way. Just a blip on the radar that needs to be dealt with appropriately, and then we move on.

You don’t deserve to hold so much power over us.

That being said, I’ll give you credit where it’s due – we should be thanking you for one thing. When you enter someone’s life, their entire world gets shaken to the core. Everything changes for them, and it’s like learning to function as a human being all over again. With change, comes growth. Perhaps if you hadn’t come along, that certain someone wouldn’t have learned the life lessons you taught them. They may not have realised how short life is, how valuable loved ones are, and how important it is to battle the deep depression that threatens to take over every minute of every day. The people around them may not have learned to be more empathetic, more patient, and to reflect on how their actions affect others. These people wouldn’t have learned those lessons – simply because until you came along, they didn’t know that those lessons needed to be learned. So, in this way – thank you.

– J

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Disclaimer: All images used in this post have been obtained from Pixabay under a Creative Commons License and edited on Canva by J, exclusively for thenellybean.com. 

6 Comments on “A Letter to Cancer”

  1. A few years ago, I volunteered with this charity called Look Good Feel Good which goes to hospitals where women are receiving chemotherapy and teaches them how to apply makeup and disguise the signs of chemo. Everyone receives a full makeup kit.
    What struck me in the beginning was the various ages of people affected. The women looked naturally tired and most uninterested. Towards the end however, their faces lit up and the room went from sad to joyful. I’ll never forget how happy they were to look like themselves again. It made me think about the strength people have battling such an awful disease.
    I’ve lost people to cancer but I’ve also been very close to someone who had all the odds stacked against him and made a remarkable recovery. Your letter is beautifully written and shows the incredible power both patients and loved ones possess on a daily basis. x

    1. I’ve heard of Look Good Feel Good, the work they do is absolutely amazing and it makes such a difference to people’s lives and emotional wellbeing. It’s crazy how many people suffer in silence and you would never be able to tell if you walked past them on the street. Thank you for your lovely comment xxx

      1. That’s the thing about cancer as well – it’s unfortunately so common, nearly everyone is affected and yet no one knows how to react. There’s still a silence around it but one thinb LGFG does fantastically, is treat the women normally and laugh with them. Instead of being awkward. xxx

  2. I have family members & friends who have/had cancer & it is a horrible disease, but I do agree you learn life lessons including how important that person is in your life.

Comments and stories welcome!