Make Me Stronger

A call to action. A cry for help. An opportunity for you to realize your power to give strength to someone affected by a blood cancer (Leukemia, Lymphoma, and Myeloma). Get involved. Make someone stronger.

A Letter to My Cancer Vol. 2

Dedicated to unwelcomed residents, accepted guests

It’s been a few years since my first open letter to you… five to be exact. Not sure about you but I read it back sometimes and can’t help but laugh. Yup, that contagious laugh you hear more often than you like. The one you hate to love, but love nonetheless. I think it secretly makes you giggle!

To think, after all that’s happened and all that could have happened, here we are five years later. Unbelievable.

I’m laying in bed reading the letter now and I can’t help but smile…

The acknowledgment of a worthy opponent, the gratitude of a defiant host. Storytelling with nothing left in the shadows, unapologetic and out in the open for everyone to see. I guess I was really feeling myself! Revealing the truth about our relationship from my perspective. Honesty, fears and triumphs driven by survival, immersed in acceptance leading to gratitude while unveiling a vulnerability I was just learning to express. Acknowledgment blended with proclamation as I recognized your reach while still taking my stance. The honesty intertwined with some zingers (ouch!), spiked with humor that probably made your tongue tingle. Amusement full of banter between foes, turned acquaintances turned more.

It ended up being so much more than a one time convo or a way for me to share with my loved ones. It was a gateway – to something needed. Opening up our transmission in a way that didn’t exist before. I went from trying not to think about you to talking directly to you. From trying to avoid you to learning how to think past you. That letter set the stage for who we are today and to each other, and possibly the reason I’m still here. In it I found a way for me to share how I felt and what I thought, a way to communicate, freely and allow for healing. It was my release, my exhale. Making space for other things while making my peace. It became a trend, then a habit – now it’s my comfort.

And it all began with that letter

So here we are five years later magically still coexisting. I’m actually not sure how this is possible given how rambunctious you’ve been! You’re definitely not the silent resident you used to be. Those underground parties turned into some ragers, featured events if you will, with some big headliners. I’m not sure how it is that you’re partying like Wu-Tang in ‘97 yet I’m the one with a 5 month hangover. Oh yeah, don’t think I don’t know what you’ve been up to… one by one, trying to claim each organ and bone as your new groupie, friend or ally. Trying to sway them in your favor, recruiting them to your camp. Some you’ve won over, some you’ve won and lost, others TBD.

But it’s all good – you do you and hopefully I’ll keep doing me. A bit more subtle, definitely unexpected (wink! wink!) and strategies you’re simply unprepared to defend. Boom.

In this time you’ve also taught me some meaningful life lessons and granted me some precious gifts, Time being at the top of that list. Five years full of good times, laughter, special milestones and precious moments, etched on our souls forever. Some tough times too, and I don’t say that lightly. Tough times that came with bumps and bruises, some we’re still working through. For this, I am most grateful, being here for the hard times for those I love while doing my best not to add to them. It means more than you know. And of course, there’s my two, yup TWO, nephews! Memories to last at least one of their lifetimes, I hope.

And while you gave me this priceless gift, you’ve also taught me so much – starting with a crash course in adaptation. An endless lesson of yours I’m continuously learning. Without it I’m not sure I would been able to find my happy.  

While you had bled into my mind and the minds of those whole love me, you no longer consume us. A passing thought, sure, but not much more. And while you bled into my future, my hopes and dreams, we’ve been trying our best to find new ones. (exhale) Yes we have, and boy have they been amazing.

As you took the most wanted things from us, we have since found new things to want. Sitting back and savoring them when they happen. Gratitude like no other. Because of you nothing is taken for granted – a gift.

Learning to let go when all I want to do is hold on, holding on when nothing in me feels like it can, and most importantly, knowing the difference. My time with you has taught me this and for that I am indebted to you.

Silver Linings are out there waiting to be uncovered. Discover them, create them or be them – it’s up to us.

So here we are, stuck with each other. I’m still crashing your birthdays and openly welcoming you to mine. You’re at the top of the guest list because without this unexpected and unfathomable dynamic, I wouldn’t be here.

You see, despite all that you’ve taken you’ve given me so much. Strength. Adaptation. Resilience. Gratitude. Faith. Perspective. Concessions. Time. Second Chances. Writing. Silver Linings. Bounce backs. New Puzzle Pieces.

For these I am forever grateful. Thank you.

Five year later and here I am!

Still dancing, still smiling. Still singing, still tone deaf. Still growing, still learning. Still exploring, still uncovering. Still trying, still adjusting. Still moving, still breathing. (Heart) Still beating, still reviving. Still laughing, still fighting. Still creating, still writing. Still dreaming, still believing.

And now when we think of you, you remind us of what IS possible instead of what isn’t.


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