The Cancer Patient


Sometimes I wish I were the one with cancer.
When someone has cancer, they are a saint, a fighter,
An inspiration to their entire community.
Look! She's sick, she's dying!
Immediately, the world is more understanding.
If I had the disease, those around me would be sensitive
For fear of being caught being mean to someone
Who has cancer.
But I do have cancer.
Every day it strangles me, yokes me, keeps me stressed,
Keeps me from sleeping at night, and from staying sane.
I have cancer when I have to help her up, guide her to a wheelchair,
Feed her, because she is too weak for those things anymore.
I have cancer, because even though I don't bear those needle marks
I watch as they poke and prod her,
And I will remove those bandages later.
I have cancer when I take on responsibilities that were once hers,
And struggle to be all things to all people
When I barely know how to take care of myself.
I have cancer, even though the only one they ask about is her,
How she's doing, how she's feeling, whether she will make it?
Will I make it?
Will I make it through cancer? I, who have no scars, no nausea,
I who can stand, jump, run, eat, talk, read, sleep,
But who cannot laugh, cannot feel,
Cannot work hard enough to keep up appearances?
I who have no excuse when my assignments are missing,
When I am late and in disarray,
When I want to scream and cry and tell everyone,
"I have cancer."

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