Dear Cancer, Stop Taking Things from Me

by Chris TaylorPatient, Non-Hodgkin’s LymphomaJune 4, 2021View more posts from Chris Taylor

Dear Cancer,

All you have done is take things from me. You’ve taken my mother and brother. I knew you would come after me eventually. The symptoms had already started when you got one of my favorite aunts. Did you have to take my grown niece too? After I was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma you tried to beat me down some more by making me watch several friends die of cancer. None of your tricks worked. You are an idiot. You are nothing but a piece of low-life, scumbag, son of a you know what.

You keep trying to kill me but it’s not working. Do you remember that first time I was on chemotherapy and you tried to get me to give in to you? I came home from work one day with extreme fatigue and got in bed. You started messing with my mind. You had me on some kind of ledge and told me if I give into you, I could step off of it and be at peace. It would be a peaceful thing to do, to let go, to die. Then I told you what you could do with yourself!

That first chemotherapy treatment got you under control for about three years and then you came back. You must have thought this new treatment where I was taking one chemo pill a day was too easy for me. And you didn’t like the fact that it was working. So you found other ways to try to kill me. You are a sneaky bastard.

You gave me appendicitis and sepsis. I had to be on the strongest antibiotics you can have. That didn’t kill me, so you gave me a rare infection called cryptococcus, a fungal infection. I had the highest level of fungus in my body that you can have. It didn’t get to my brain where it could have made a madman or crazy or kill me. Kept me in the hospital for two weeks on this evil antibiotic called Amphotericin. This stuff gives you the worst kind of shivering you can have and the only way to stop it is to get Demerol. The sepsis and crypto didn’t kill me even though you left me with an extra bald spot on my scalp where some of the fungi were located. But it’s okay. That’s why we have hats!

I’ve had this Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma for more than ten years. You haven’t gotten to me yet, so you need to take your ass off somewhere, calm down, and leave me alone for a while. I know it’s incurable and you will get me eventually. But not today.

It takes a strong man to open up about his feelings so here goes. I cry a lot. I’m scared all the time. My nerves are on edge. Anxiety kicks in several days before I have to get a scan, or lab work, or see my oncologist. I still have night sweats and itching. Tired of getting stuck by needles. Nausea. Hot or cold flashes. Diarrhea. Fear and anger. My mouth stays dry and nothing tastes good except spaghetti. You made me gain 40 pounds. I’m extremely weak. I can only work half a day. The desire to do any kind of artwork is almost gone. I’d rather eat cereal than try to cook anything. It’s so hard to ask for help. I wish someone would bring me a dinner plate when I’m too tired to cook or run an errand for me. It would be nice for people to realize I am not contagious. You can text or call me just to check on me. That would be great. When you get cancer some of your friends will disappear. That has happened. Some of my family members have not once asked me how I’m doing or if they can do anything for me. So be it. You, Mr. C, are the gift that keeps on taking.

You didn’t know I was going to go to a Cancer Survivor Camp, did you? They showed me how to live beyond your stupid crap. The people who started the camp and the friends I made there have become some of my biggest supporters. I also have another group of big supporters of Navy Veterans who have become like family to me. A few months ago, I joined a group that is just for men with cancer. This group is freaking awesome. I have more support now than I could have imagined.

I don’t like any of this but I’m grateful at the same time.

Go screw yourself, Mr. C,

Chris Taylor

I’m a badass Cancer Survivor and Thriver

To read this letter and the other letters to cancer, click here to read and download the June 2021 Magazine

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