I Am Still Me, Regardless of My Disease

Marissa Holzer
Marissa Holzer

Marissa is a 40-something "flattie" in sunny SoCal living with metastatic breast cancer, her boyfriend (and high school sweetheart) and the memory of her not-so-mini schnauzer, Heidi, who was taken too soon by canine lymphoma. She enjoys reading, stress baking and roller skating. She hopes to inspire others with her stories about life with cancer.

A person with metastatic breast cancer writes about how she just wants to be “normal” again and for people to stop pitying her.

When you tell someone that you have cancer, something about their perception of you instantly changes. There is this perceptual shift — nothing is changed, yet everything has changed, with metastatic breast cancer or any kind of cancer.

I often find that people who haven’t dealt with cancer firsthand just don’t seem to understand the reality of living with a terminal illness. I frequently am asked if I am in remission or if I am cured. It is so difficult to explain to someone what having metastatic breast cancer really means without changing that person’s opinion of me.

Most of the time I say I am fine, and I really am. Most of the time I do feel fine. Yet me telling them I am fine is unfortunately just adding to this distorted sense of reality relating to the disease for which there is no cure. The disease people want to call chronic when it’s really anything but chronic. It’s just something that has become a part of who I am. I don’t want sympathy or pity. I just want to be “normal” and live my best life and just be me.

I am still me,

Can’t you see?

I’m not one to whine;

I’m feeling just fine.

I am alive;

I was made to thrive.

Tablets or capsules,

The side effects’ hassles.

I’ll deal with it all,

While still standing tall.

Chemo and shots,

My own morbid thoughts.

Oncology visits,

The fears it elicits.

Scans and tests,

I hope for the best.

Labs drawn,

Bandages on.

Now we wait,

Deliver my fate.

Meds are working,

Panic still lurking.

Will it recur,

My life just a blur.

Just keep going,

We are never all knowing.

Grateful for my days,

Yet on my heart it weighs.

There is no answer

For the disease we call cancer.

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