Whatif: The Bad and the Good of Cancer


Of all the bad whatifs about cancer that creep into my ear, what if I turned them into positive whatifs?

Image of a woman with a magenta t-shirt reading at a desk in her bedroom with the windows open.


(modeled after poet Shel Silverstein's poem: Whatif)

Yesterday, while I sat thinking here,
some Whatifs crept inside my ear
and danced and whirled all day long
and chanted their constant Whatif song:

Whatif the cancer was discovered too late?
Whatif other malevolent, malignant cells await?
Whatif the weekly radiation makes me want to give up?

Whatif my worry and anxiety will not ever let up?
Whatif during the treatments I get really sick?

Whatif the side effects appear really quick?
Whatif there are alarming results from the latest test?
Whatif my fear causes dreadful pains in my chest?
Whatif my friends are unsure how to support me?
Whatif I feel like an abandoned ship out to sea?
Whatif the weeks of radiation are not effective?
Whatif I’m asked to create an advanced directive?
Whatif I cannot get the rest I need at night?
Whatif the end of the tunnel really has no light?
Whatif the feelings of being in limbo won’t end?
Whatif my weakened body is unable to mend?

But wait!!

Whatif these grim thoughts can be turned around?

Whatif a new and positive attitude can be found?

Whatif I remember to lean on my faith in God?
Whatif I depend more on my special prayer squad?
Whatif my contemplations stop being just negative?
Whatif I embrace hope that arrives ever so tentative?

Whatif my days are not filled with depression and dread?

Whatif the focus becomes one of a decisive victory ahead?

Whatif I find someone extraordinary to mentor me?

Whatif a survivor angel could answer my plea?

Whatif the emotional stress I feel can be shared?

Whatif I found someone with cancer experience who cared?

Whatif someday this was all no longer distressing?

Whatif this journey was really… an ugly blessing?

Yes, then…

I’ll find that I have learned many remarkable lessons

To help me deal with any future worrisome Whatif sessions!

This post was written and submitted by Cec Vettraino Strine. The article reflects the views of Vettraino Strine and not of CURE®. This is also not supposed to be intended as medical advice.

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