As if cancer were some fault of her own. As if we don’t have toxic soil. As if we don’t have toxic water. As if we don't ingest fake food and breathe foul air. Her porous skin absorbs the sins of the world and she calls it her own embarrassment.
“I’ve only told five people.”
A shameful secret. As if people judge you even though you ate organic broccoli along with your antioxidant smoothie and your supplements that made your pee neon yellow. Of course, you stopped when you found out your body was peeing the supplements right out. But people will judge you anyway for not knowing.
“My mom died six months after she was diagnosed.”
She won’t say anymore on that. As if people will treat her differently. As if people will not see her humanness only her cancerness. As if people will no longer call her because they do not know the right words to say. As if there are right words.
“I thought it wouldn’t happen to me.”
If the secret is that like attracts like, then she must have brought this on herself. She must have been vibrating really low. She must have been suppressing anger and the anger turned to cancer. So, you see, she was right. It was her fault. As if society allows full expression of rage without ridicule. As if a woman’s scream is not reduced to frivolous, fluctuating, illogical emotions. As if we see our emotions as negative, as a sign of weakness. As if we haven’t participated in stifling her anger. As if we haven’t suppressed our own.
“I got radiation, but I refused chemo. Seemed silly to me to do the chemo with everything my body is going through already.”
There are statistics that say one out of three will have cancer. Some studies say one in two. Let’s go with the latter. Half of us will have cancer at some point. The other half will bear painful witness. The one who experiences a cancer diagnosis points a boney finger to how very far off course we are, how complacent we are in our lost state, and how we have willingly agreed upon the lie that someone else will figure it out because it is easier than taking truth-based action. And the truth is cancer is in us all now. It has metastasized. The truth is there is no cure out there. It’s in here. The cure is in the cancer. It’s in the hearts of three out of three and two out of two. Cancer is the blow of the horn waking us from slumber. The woman with the cancer-ridden body is the burning torch, illuminating our way back to life.
I want her to know all this. She pushes back her dark hair behind her ear. Though I do not say all these exact words, I want them all to transmit somehow.
“Please don’t say anything about it to anyone,” she says.
I am honored to be the sixth one she told and I tell her so.