My hands hurt from anger. They hurt from cancer, treatment, and the after effects. On each occasion that I learn of another case of cancer, my hands begin to hurt. I’m reminded of the neuropathy plaguing my fingers and toes with constant pins and needles. But more so, I’m reminded of the times when the neuropathy hurts, when I hold something of an awkward shape, try to open a bottle, or run. My hands or feet feel as if the nerves have been uprooted, sliced and shortened, thereby reducing the functionality of my extremities.
When I hear of new cases of cancer I’m reminded of the pain.
It would be perhaps naive to think that the coping mechanisms I acquired through my own battle are unpossessed by anyone else, even if he or she never personally had cancer. People learn to cope in various ways through various struggles. My own battle was unique to me, but my ability to cope was not. Still, I wish to share that ability, particularly when I learn of another cancer case.
My hands hurt with hatred from the cancer. I want to punch walls and throw plates, knock down chairs and cry, but it wouldn’t help. The hatred wouldn’t go away, because I can hardly even feel it. I hate yet I’m numb. I hate yet I’m powerless. I hate yet the cancer keeps on coming.
I beat cancer and I’m happy to be alive, but the cancer keeps coming without relent. I wish I could do more than listen or write, but it’s all I know. I wish I could channel my hatred. I just wish the cancer would stop.
I don’t want to accept it but cancer is still a powerful force in my life. When I first completed chemo I truly believed that my memories would fade, that I would continuously grow distant from cancer. Perhaps of my own cancer this is true, but not of cancer in general.
“We think you have cancer…”
“My mom has cancer…”
Cancer. Cancer. Cancer. It’s not one of those words that sounds strange when repeated. When repeated, cancer is more daunting. It eats at me in ways I still struggle to understand. It’s not that another’s cancer is my own—it’s not. Yet when I hear “cancer”, it’s as if I’m being swatted over the head with the dramatic stick of life. There’s no humor, only sadness. And it hurts, like the pain in my hands.