Dear Cancer, I am Still the Author of my Own Story

by Rachel MihalkoSurvivor, Hodgkin's LymphomaJune 15, 2022View more posts from Rachel Mihalko

I am learning that while I may not be in control, I am still the author of my own story

You, cancer, are lurking in the shadows,
Waiting for a moment to appear again
in the tender skin on my clavicle.

Some days I am consumed by the presence of my scars.
These are the days that I constantly feel my neck for you, cancer.
I am on the edge of a cliff,
Waiting for you to appear
And teeter me over the edge.

I fear if I fall,
I may not recover emotionally
Again.

So, keep your distance,
For I cannot handle your malignancy.
Not for a second time.
I barely made it through the first.

I refuse for the previous stanza
To be the ending of this story,
For I am the writer,
And while I may not have control,
I do have power.

With this power
I craft the adjectives
That animate the storyline.
I adjust the synonyms
That make this narrative my own.
I control the characters
Who enter the plot.

Each author has their own flair
That distinguishes them from the rest.
I am not just another face in the crowd.
I am the hands at the typewriter,
the grip on the pencil,
And the same goes for each person
within this community.

While we may all suffer
From your grasp, cancer,
We are the ones
Who hold the power.

You are the scarlet letter, cancer,
but we will not let you define us.

None of us ever fall to the antagonist that you are,
Regardless of how the story ends.

This article was featured in the 2022 Dear Cancer issue of Elephants and Tea Magazine! Click here to read our magazine issues.

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