An Open Letter to Cancer
(Not Dear) Cancer,
It has been over nine years since you planted your first cell inside the body of my son with the intent to grow and kill him. You thought you could take a healthy young man and destroy him. You were wrong. You were messing with the wrong kid. My kid. He was never meant to belong to you. He belongs to me and you can’t have him. EVER.
You first entered my life with a phone call from my young college student, though at the time I had absolutely no inkling that it was you. There was a gnawing pain in his ankle, but who would have thought of cancer, you sneaky little bastard. You made sleeping miserable and caused him to refrain from physical activity. You gave him a limp. You took up residence in an area where cancer would not be suspected so that while the doctors scratched their heads, you continued your vile attempt to annihilate the bone and tissue within the confines of his ankle.
Months went by. The mystery continued. The medical experts were ordering test after test to solve the puzzle until finally a tumor was revealed. You were revealed. You and your ugly, wanton disregard for everything precious. Now we knew you were there. We would set out to exterminate you before you could destroy what to you was only the host body that you were residing in. Sheer terror is what you bestowed upon us. Yes, now we knew, but to what extent? Were you elsewhere in the body? No, you were not, but for that to be determined, numerous and sometimes painful tests had to be done, such as a bone marrow biopsy. Were you listening to him moan in agony as a giant, hollow needle went into his spine? I despise you.
He is not your host. He is my child. My only child. I gave birth to him. I raised him. I watched him grow up to be a wonderful young man. He is artistic. He is a gifted musician. He is a loyal friend and now a loving husband. He belongs to me and to those that love him. That’s who you were trying to take from us.
I watched as the chemotherapy, the weapon to destroy you, ravaged his body. You are such a filthy, hideous creature that it takes poison to kill you; poison that had to pass through my child in order to find you. I watched him in anguish. The side effects were so severe that he wouldn’t even let me hold his hand. He could not be touched. You did that to him. There was nothing I could do to ease the pain during that battle, the battle to free him from your destruction. But it worked. You lost. You were dead. And for a very brief moment, we could breath. Brief because it has taken years to recover from your visit into our lives. Yes, you were gone, but you are such a persistent little fuck that you would attempt to hide and then return with a vengeance. You invaded our minds. You caused us to live in fear each and every day. The first year was the worst. Every three months there was a body scan to see if you survived the poison. You did not, but you left us with gut-wrenching anxiety as the scan date approached and until the results were in. You left your mark, you low-life prick, for many years.
I still hate you. My son has been rid of the scum that is you for over eight years. He is free of you, but your terror leaves an imprint. You left deep scars. For him there are the physical scars from the removal of the tumor, and the small tattoo on his foot to remind him that should he ever need radiation again, that is the exact location. And for both of us, there are the emotional scars. There is not a day that doesn’t go by that I don’t think of you. I hate that I give you that power, but that is your sole purpose. You are a parasite and a thief of peace. You exist only to take, but you will not take my son.