For you, or your loved ones, to safely express your thoughts and feelings at any stage of your cancer journey.
Writing about your fears, worries and anxieties can provide a release. It also helps to process the trauma that you experience while living through the diagnosis, treatment and recovery. It is often difficult to express these emotions to loved ones, who really can't understand how you are feeling.
Do you have something to say to cancer? Contact us using the Share your letter link and we will take care of the rest!
Do you have something to share?
You watch the documentaries, watch the research advertisements, Macmillan adverts, you hear the horrifying statistics and yet ... you think, "that will never happen to me" an unfortunately ... at the age of 26 it happened to me.
I was diagnosed with Stage 1, Grade 3, Hormone Positive, HER2 negative breast cancer ... at 26. I remember sitting in that chair as the oncologist broke the news to me and I just looked at my partner and sobbed. "Am I going to die?" I thought. My mind went to a very dark place very quickly. "Why me?" I barely drank alcohol, didn't smoke, was healthy, never been in hospital, never had an operation ... I was normal! So why?
My entire life came crashing down, suddenly I wasn't a normal 26 year old planning her future. I was a cancer patient, in less than 3 minutes. Everything was full steam ahead from there, and I had no control over anything. I underwent a lumpectomy and i've been left with a huge scar ... a huge reminder that my lump was once there. My partner became my caregiver and the dynamics of our relationship suddenly changed.
Fast forward to 15th January 2022 and I heard the blessed words "we successfully removed the cancer, there was no spread and you are officially NED." I did it! I evicted my cancer. When you go for your results after your operation you prepare for the worst news possible, so to hear these incredible words was a relief I had never felt before.
Now my journey is far from over! My cancer is hormone positive so I need "adjuvant" treatment to give me the best chance of my cancer staying gone, and trust me ... cancer, you are not welcome back!
I am currently in chemical menopause, in the process of completing 6 cycles of chemotherapy, and after that I will be receiving radiotherapy and whatever treatments I need in the future.
Cancer has taken my hair, my independence, my pride, my femininity. I feel like an imposter ... I no longer look like a 26 year old. I'm not doing things or going places like other 26 year olds. My days consist of hospital appointments.
I've had to let the old me go, and one thing cancer has shown me? I'm stronger than I ever thought possible. The trauma I have gone through has changed me forever and that's the only thing I will thank it for.
My journey is far from over, and I remember my oncologist telling me "you've done so well to detect your cancer early" and it's true. Early detection gives you the best chance of survival and it's so important to be your own health advocate. Listen to your body ... appreciation your health, it's precious.
"Cancer cannot cripple love, it cannot shatter hope, it cannot conquer the spirit."
Angelina Hardy Taylor
Stage 1 DCIS, Grade 3 Gene mutation negative
Working as a cancer nurse and administering chemotherapy for the last 5 years, I naively never thought you would happen to me. I did no wrong, I have never smoked and rarely drink, no family history and no genetics. I have only looked after others at such a difficult time, yet you came to me at the age of 26. I wish you could tell me why.
You are unfair, you are random. You make no sense! You were very deceiving and only felt 1 cm when in fact the scans showed you were 4 cm! You could have been growing in me for over 2 years but I'm grateful to have found you. You were evicted very quickly and I am of course hoping you'll never return.
At such a young age you feel invincible and it's sad that even with my job it takes something like this to change your perception on life. I am sharing my cancer story but it is important to remember that this isn't a story I chose to tell. Cancer, you have been a huge curveball. I am likely to be out of nursing for 9 months. My own colleagues are looking after me so transitioning from patient to nurse again will be tough! Cancer, you have brought me countless tears, pain, hospital admissions, and scars. You have taken my hair, sometimes my happiness and potentially my fertility.
However, you have made me see the world in a greater light. You have inspired me to encourage others to check their breasts regularly and raise awareness of what you have done to me. You have proven you can affect anyone, no matter their age. You have encouraged me to be a better nurse and use my first hand experience to help me relate to my patients even more and I am grateful for that. I may be grieving the girl I was before you came along but the new me will only come out stronger.
Cancer, you have proven that I am stronger than I ever knew. I don't need my hair to be beautiful and your affects are only temporary. I am so lucky to say I no longer have you in my body and I am staying strong whilst I face treatment to make sure you don't come back! I am grateful for the future that you could have taken from me. I will do my best to help others recognize you early and allow us to continue our precious lives.
"She stood in the storm and when the wind did not blow her away, she adjusted her sails".
Stage 2/Grade 3 Breast Cancer
You weren't welcome nor invited. I always thought I'd be safe from you. I don't have any family history and I've always looked after myself, I was young, you were never going to get me. But you did.
You found me when I was vulnerable with a young family and a life to live for. I was however, quick to spot you, persistent to speak to the doctors, to express my fears with the medical world.
When I was diagnosed I asked my oncologist if I was unlucky. He replied, "you are lucky because you found your cancer". I will never forget his words. I fought. I still can't bring myself to say that you lost, because I don't know if you did forever, but for now, you did. You messed with my head more than my body. My body will never be the same but my head is eternally changed from the person that I was before you.
However, after everything we've been through together, I can't imagine my life today without the experience of having you in my life. You have made me the strong woman that I am today. I may have a different body and I may live each day with my constant anxiety, but I'm stronger for having you in my life. You have changed me and I am grateful to be here to tell my story.
Amy Age 39
“The caged bird sings
with fearful trill
of the things unknown
but longed for still
and his tune is heard
on the distant hill for the caged bird
sings of freedom” - Maya Angelou
You took my life by storm. There was no gentle rain coming down, forming rivulets on my window. I was sucked into your vortex. There were moments I stood in the eye of the storm - moments of calm and peace - to be thrust back into the hurricane. Cancer chaos. It has defined me for many seconds, minutes, hours, days, months, and now years.
”It isn’t true. It can’t be true. It can’t be happening to me.” You turned your back to me and covered your ears. You didn’t respond. You never acknowledged me. Only those that loved me and were my caregivers heard my questions. My pleas for mercy. My anger. My denial.
You took the air out of the room. I could not breathe. You thrived and grew inside my body without my permission. You exerted your power over me - until I pushed back. I was a leper - a reminder of our human fragility and ugliness. I wanted to protect those who wrapped me in their love, wanting to shield me from you. You had no right to invade their thoughts, hopes and dreams for our future.
With each medical test and interrogation the punch to my gut and the flapping bat wings in my heart resurfaced like a tidal wave into my present life - like a tsunami you drowned my ability to be present in the moment.
The Susan of long ago had struggled to “Let Go, Let God” - to LISTEN and be SILENT - without infusing all of the negative possible results of my life. The ‘worrier’ became “joyful” - I was still alive and with each appointment, chemo trip, radiation visit, MRI or ultrasound … I pushed through. Numb … robotic … surreal … a shadow of my former self.
Because I truly believe you are gone I am certain you wouldn’t recognize me today. I am more joyous and mindful of who surrounds me and where I am. You don’t control me again. I thank you for helping me focus my vision so I can see who and what is truly important to me.
”If one has courage, nothing can dim the light that shines within.” - Maya Angelou
“Having courage does not mean that we are unafraid. Having courage and showing courage mean we face our fears. e are able to say, I have fallen, but I will get up.“ - Maya Angelou
I do get up - I will get up - I will help others get up - I will gaze at more sunrises and sunsets …
Invasive Ductal Carcinoma
I am tired, sore, in pain, in fear every day and I don't even recognize my own body anymore.
I feel so ugly, so unfeminine, so scared for you to come back and so pissed off that I feel so ill every single day.
Yet, despite the hate I feel for you, I also feel so much love for you. I know that sounds crazy, maybe even to you.
I have and continue to endure your wrath but I am also closer than I've ever been to my purpose. Closer than I've ever been to my balance.
Before you, I was so "healthy" yet my mind was sick. Now, after you, I am so sick in my body but my mind is healthy.
What sort of paradox is this?
I am now able to communicate my needs, I can experience discomfort and pain through a different sense of resilience and I am finally showing up in the world vulnerable and naked. Most of all, I am finally coaching and all I've ever wanted to do was coach.
So, I want to say thank you to you. As crazy as that sounds ...
Thank you for pushing me to the absolute brink of pain, exhaustion and fear so that I may grow into the person I am today.
I hope that if I live with more love and kindness to myself and others that you will stay away. That you helping me to live my purpose means your purpose is finished.
I beg you to please, please, don't return. This is my one ask of you.
I will continue boldly into my future. One that you have gifted to me. I will not quit. I have resilience. You taught me that.
So much love,
Triple Positive Breast Cancer, Stage 1 Lung Cancer