Moving Forward With Life As a Two-Time Cancer Survivor

How do you move on with life after cancer? A two-time breast cancer survivor expresses her hopes and fears in the form of a poem.

I am a two-time cancer survivor. In 2000, I had cancer in my left breast, and in 2015, I had cancer in my right breast. Not only was there a burning pain from the radiation on the inside, but there was an agony in my heart and soul. However, there was always a hope for survival. And I did indeed survive. I was able to watch my daughter and son grow up, get married and bless me with three grandsons and two granddaughters. I was able to teach creative writing at a high school for many years and now I teach memoir writing to senior adults. I am submitting my poems because I feel it is important for not only breast cancer survivors, but also for anyone that might need hope if and when they ever have to go through this journey. I was never prepared for half of what I went through, but I got through it and I always will. This is me and this could be you.

And I Go Forward

Wait a second.

Why am I here?

I was supposed to be floating on the wind

Or going anywhere the ocean took me

Surfing on the back of a turtle,

Or cruising in the tail of a seahorse.

Wait a second.

I am not dead.

But I am scared and I think I always will be.

And I wish it had never happened to me.

Nevertheless, I have come to believe

That my life cannot be defined by

My breast cancer or lymphedema

Or the methods to remedy either.

Instead, I need and want my life

To have more significance.

I want others to remember me by the love

I endeavored to inspire

Especially in my husband,

Children and grandchildren,

And friends and students.

I am not dead.

Somehow, I am sailing on a cloud

And smelling just a hint of God as I pass by Heaven

Because I am earthbound once again.

So, this is where I belong.

And even if I am scared,

I go forward.

This poem was originally submitted for the CURE® 2021 Poetry Contest.

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