Where Cancer Won’t Go
by Jennifer Vorraro
Cancer isn’t picky. It doesn’t care about your hair color, your childhood, or what type of degree you hold. It doesn’t care that you don’t have medical insurance, or that you haven’t had the chance to have children, or that maybe you do have children that need you. It doesn’t matter if you’re single, married, sad, or happy.
You can plan all you want. Cancer doesn’t care. So you have to. I have a plan to make myself a place cancer won’t visit again. I have no proof it will work, only hope.
I will eat well, but I will be sure to treat myself to an ice cream cone when I want one. I will exercise, but I will also be sure to stop and smell flowers on the road that I walk. I will read all I can about prevention, but I will also read senseless fiction, for the heck of it. I will eat dark chocolate, instead of milk chocolate. I will relax and not feel guilty. I will eat veggies, but only the ones I really enjoy. And I will wash them first.
I will garden, because it helps me grow. I will take the time to walk my dog, not just because it’s good for us, but because we both enjoy it. I will buy a way too expensive cat, when I should be using the money to pay off a credit card, because he is worth every penny. I will leave situations that make me uncomfortable because my life allows me no time to waste. I will let myself cry, but not for too long.
You can have all your ducks in a row, but in a moment’s time, cancer will rearrange them.
I will look up at the stars, with my blanket wrapped around me on cool nights, just because I love to do that. I will leave the house a little dusty sometimes and play outside in the sun. I will laugh with all my feelings and senses, but will sit silent if it will hurt someone else. I will not let someone else steal my strength, for I need it too much. I will not be taken advantage of. I am nice, but no longer weak.
I will not be friends with mean people, or pretend to be. I will be with people who have a good core. Not with people who have pretty skin but are rotten on the inside. Those people are not good for me. I will kiss my pets on the nose because I need the kisses as much as they do. I will breathe. I will wear SPF 30 in the sun, but I will go to the beach.
I will not be embarrassed as easily as I may have in the past. I will be thankful for my silliness because I have the ability to be silly. I will take second chances because I have been given a second chance. I will live the life I have created, not one that someone else thought was good for me. I will get a pedicure because it makes me feel pretty, not to make someone else think I’m pretty. I will not live by anyone’s rules, unless I can learn something from them.
I will be open to new ideas. I will not close the door on a stranger. I will be Jenn, not because I have to be, but because I like her. I will give myself credit when I deserve it. I will also accept criticism (I’m working on that one). I will eat all the apples I want. I will not eat all the fried food I want. I will call in sick when I am well because I won’t wait until I’m sick to take off work.
I will tell my Mom I love her, even though I know she knows. I will smile more. I will drink more water with lemon. And enjoy it. I will make myself a place that cancer will not want to be. I will not give it an invitation. I will pray it doesn’t come back and crash my party.
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This article was originally published in Coping® with Cancer magazine, January/February 2008.