Dear Cancer, I Never Expected You

by Anna BledsoeSurvivor, Breast CancerJune 3, 2022View more posts from Anna Bledsoe

Dear Cancer,

Before meeting you, I was so distracted. I lived such an unintentional life, carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders. I didn’t know how to forgive. I was consumed with bitterness and annoyance at everything in me and around me. The importance of everyday life was so heavy and shadowed by the looming spirit of depression and anxiety.

You taught me to let it all go.

We met on May 10, 2021, and it was a day that changed my life forever.

Talk about coming in like a wrecking ball, and you did just that. I never expected you. Although in the months leading up to the diagnosis, my subconscious kept mentioning you. I thought I was crazy for thinking it, but I knew.

I thought you were a side effect from an infection, so to find out you were actually breast cancer was utterly shocking. Before meeting you, all I knew about cancer was that you quickly took my grandmother’s life. So, when I found out about you, my first thought was, “No, I can’t be sick. I can’t die. I am not ready.”

That’s when it started—the analysis of life. What life meant, how I had been spending my life, what I wanted to do with it, and why I was so scared to lose it.

You forced me to not only look at death but to thoroughly look at life.

You changed me to the core in less than one year.

You taught me that life is ever so fragile, that nothing here on Earth is promised tomorrow. Now I know to take each day as a blessing. 

Although life is fragile, fighting you has shown me that I am resilient in body, mind, and spirit. So many times, I have felt like I could not go on, and yet I did. I have been knocked down and continue to get up time after time.

You showed me where I stand with the people in my life. I have learned who will be there and who will not. I have learned how important boundaries are for my mental and emotional health and how crucial it is to speak up and be honest. Life is too short to walk around with the weight of unspoken words and unexpressed emotions.

I have gained so much empathy, compassion, and understanding. I have come to know the beautiful love of all the people around me, and I want to pass that love on to others. I want to spend my time on this Earth making other people’s lives a little easier, even if it’s just for a moment.

Most importantly, you pushed me closer to God than I could ever have imagined. I have spent countless hours praying, talking, and crying out to God. After knowing you, the talks with God are so different. The whole experience has connected me with the other side: the spiritual side, the side where you go when the body can’t contain you any longer. To accept the fragility of life is to accept the realness of God and the other side. 

I now see that this life is a gift, and that each day should be lived with the intention to love deeper, to be kinder, to be more patient, and to always seek God’s will for my life.

I have never wanted to conquer something as desperately as I do you, which ultimately gives me the drive to live. As crazy as it is, I don’t think I regret meeting you. If anything, I thank you.

Thank you for the wake-up call about life and showing me what’s important. Thank you for showing me how much I love life and its people, and how much I want to live.

Sincerely, 

Anna Bledsoe

PS: I hope never to see you again! 

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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