I Am Not Cancer

I Am Not Cancer Sandra Moss

by Sandra Moss

I am a woman, a wife, a mother,
A grandmother, a sister, a friend.
But … I am NOT cancer.

I pray quietly and lie motionless
Although I really want to cry out
And escape
The prison-like PET Scan machine.

I hold my breath while the roulette wheel
Of the MRI machine spins, clanks and spins.
Will it land on live or die?

But, I also reach out to volunteer,
Lift my voice in praise,
Make princess birthday cakes,
And, rock my grandchildren in my arms.
Because … I am NOT cancer.

I live in a daily amusement park
With emotional roller coasters,
Funny mirrors that distort my once
Whole and unscarred body,
And teacups that keep my mind
Spinning, spinning , spinning.

But … I live

Because I am NOT cancer.

Yes, I cry, but every tear glistens with
A happy memory.
Yes, my heart aches, but it is also filled
With hope, humor, and healing.
Yes, I fear tomorrow, but, I relish
Every moment of today.
I explore, I create, I love, I debate.

Because … I am NOT cancer.

Sandra Moss, 73, was first diagnosed with cancer at age 19. She has survived thyroid, parathyroid, lymph node, and breast cancer. She now has metastatic breast cancer in her lungs and brain. She has experienced how job loss, isolation, age, and other factors can affect mental health and physical recovery. This has made her determined to counteract these factors with optimism, hope, volunteer work, and reaching out to encourage others with metastatic breast cancer through her writings and support groups. Sandra lives in Wanaque, NJ.

This poem was published in Coping® with Cancer magazine, Spring/Summer 2023.

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