What Cancer Has Taken


A breast cancer survivor expresses her emotions in a poem about all that cancer has taken from her.

After my diagnosis of breast cancer 11 years ago when I was 32 years old, I refused to accept the words “new normal.” All I did was think about getting back to my old self. Everything was a constant reminder of what cancer had taken from me. I lost my breasts, my fertility, my hair, my sense of safety and my peace of mind – the list goes on and on. I was forced onto a new path whether I like it or not. The poem "The Taken," is my story of all that cancer has taken.

The Taken

It’s the stuff that can no longer be seen.

She’s gone.

So much left behind in a place where you can only move forward.

Scars are reflections

And reminders no less.

Identity so misled in what it brought.

How could one be chosen like that?

Chosen to give up everything without even getting a chance to question.

A new path lights the way

And she’s forced to accommodate it.

Anxiety hangs in the willows,

Brushing against her bare surface

Without disrupting the nothing that sits above.

What-ifs wait in limbo,

Waiting for their number to be called

Just as the list of sorrows grows in infinity.

There will be no little bundles of joy

To have the opportunity to be released past her heart.

A soul broken at the thought of only keeping them close within,

Yet never getting to meet.

She screams at the taken

Refusing to leave any footprints on the surface,

For that is giving in to something she never wanted.

Fury will give in to acceptance none the less;

A defeat she is willing to acknowledge.

Admitting defeat is the only hope it has.

Her armor of salvation

The protector against its wrath.

She searches deep within and comes to find,

That the soul has a way of using what is lost

To fill the holes of what is taken

With new beginnings.

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

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