Dear Cancer, Thank You for Teaching Me Patience

by Natalie ShoulterSurvivor, Breast CancerJuly 13, 2022View more posts from Natalie Shoulter

Dear Cancer,

I would often think of you before I knew you. When I was a child, I would think to myself, “I was one of six children. What are the odds that none of us got cancer?” As I got into my teenage years, the question then became “Which one of us?” As I approached my twenties, my mother fell ill and those thoughts faded, but it didn’t take long for you to creep back in. By the time I turned 26, I had developed an abnormal growth in my uterus. I tried to stop you right in your tracks, but your growth was fast and ultimately, I signed a paper to remove you for good . . . or so I thought. In the meantime, I noticed an unusual lump in my right breast. You got me. I thought I had gotten rid of you, but it seemed my fate had been decided. You would be a part of me forever. The days passed to months then into a year. I was tired and you proved you were strong. You broke me down even as I tried to fight you. Then it hit me plain as day. You had been with me my whole life, and I was no longer an answer to my childhood question. I accepted you. You could no longer take anything that I wasn’t willing to already give. My uterus, my breast, my hair, and my bones. For the first time, I am in control. Thank you for making me love myself, for teaching me patience, and for giving me the strength to adapt just as fast as you!

Love always,

Natalie Shoulter

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