Dear Cancer,

I’ve been debating writing this letter for a while. For one, it’s a rather cheesy way to communicate, no? But mostly because I prefer ignoring your presence. You are in no way a part of my body, but something I feel I must co-exist with.

I am writing you because I am angry with you. Not for what you have done to my body, but rather what you have taken from my life. I am angry that you have robbed me of my 25th year on this earth. A year I will never get back. A year that should have been spent exploring and having fun. Because of you, it was instead spent in a hospital getting procedures and at home feeling ill.

Cancer, I have no idea why you chose my body. I mean, I’d done my fair share of smoking and drinking, but I cleaned up my act. I tried really hard to be good to my body in recent years, but it was still not strong enough to fight you off.

When I am old and look back on my life, there will now be a big hole where the year 25 sits. My time as a person in their mid-twenties will always be overshadowed by your presence. I will never know what this period of life is like had you not come along.

Cancer, I am also angry because even when you’re gone, I’ll still have to clean up the mess you left behind. My life won’t immediately go back to being great, and it will be a long time before it has any semblance of normal. Because of you, I will live in fear of getting sick again. Really sick. Because of you, I have now thought way more about my own mortality than any 25-year-old ever should.

Please do not take this letter as any sort of truce. I still refuse to accept that you are in any way a part of my body. On the contrary, I am instead asking you to vacate the premises immediately. I expect you to be gone by January 23, 2012 – my 26th birthday.


Posted on September 25, 2011, in Cancer and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 36 Comments.

  1. Thetreadmilldiaries

    Good for you for handing cancer an eviction notice. Wishing you all the best.

  2. While I’m sure you have spent some time wondering what the heck hit you…I’m thinking that cancer is left wondering WTF hit it. I don’t feel sorry for it however. Cancer is an asshole.

  3. this letter was needed! Cancer has been warned. You WILL WIN!

  4. I read this, and the adjective “staccato” came to mind, quickly followed by “strong.” Now your note, in my head, is entitled “Susan’s Strong, Staccato Statement;” alliteration heaven. :-)

    This is when I would advise a client to set (write; very powerful) intentions without ever mentioning cancer; no “I won’t” in sight.

    “I am completely healed by January 23, 2012.”
    “My body is strong and healthy.”
    “I heal faster every day.”

    The intention I’m holding is, “Susan is stronger and healthier every day, and is completely healed by January 23, 2012.” :-)

  5. Wow! What an amazing post! You are such a strong lady! This post gave me goosebumps. I love that you are taken a stance against cancer, because even though your 25th year has been a nightmare, it will make you a better, even MORE amazing person for many years to come! <3

  6. I’m looking forward to celebrating your 26th already!

  7. Your posts are so heartfelt and inspiring. You’re such a warrior Susan!

  8. Awesome letter!! Now write one to your body – without cancer!

  9. Such a strong letter. Sometimes telling something you’re angry can be such a relief.

  10. Wonderful. I think you needed to write this.

  11. dear cancer,

    i second everything susan said above. now get outta here.


  12. Sounds like you mean business! Cancer better get the heck out ASAP!

  13. HUGS! I can’t imagine…

  14. Cancer, you have received your eviction notice. Get outtt~

  15. That was my 2008. That whole year was crap. It’s good to get these thoughts out… to release them. Twenty-six will be a much better year for you. All the more so because of how terrible 25 was. Lots of love. I think of you often.

  16. Last night I was reading, ‘A Return To Love’, by Marianne Williamson and in the chapter on the body, there were similar letters. Marianne also suggested that you write a letter from the illness back to you. She gave an example of a letter from ‘The AIDS virus’:
    ‘Dear Steve, If I was, as they say out to get you, don’t you think you’d be dead by now?
    I’m not able to kill, harm, or make you sick. I have no brain, brute strength, or great
    harming force. I’m just a virus. You give me the power you should give to God.
    I take what I can because I don’t want to die any more than you do. Yes, I live off
    your fears. But I die from your peace of mind, serenity, honesty, faith and desire
    to live. Sincerely, The AIDS virus’ page 243

    Susan you are a brave person. Good for you for writing this letter and then sharing it with us. Your strength and perseverance is amazing! My prayers are with you.

  17. The hope is that your memories of your 25th year will be of the goodness you saw in people and the fact that “cancer” did not win. You will truly learn who you are through this experience and be such a better person looking back on your 25th year. I absulutely love the passage in Judy’s response.

  18. Cancer better watch out cause you are going to kick it’s butt to the curb by your birthday!

  19. survivingcandyland

    You are so strong. What an amazing letter. You are def going to kick cancer’s butt by the time of your birthday. Never again will you have a birthday year stolen from you.

  20. This may sound silly but I’m a big believer in putting things into the Universe and believing in them – speaking words of faith if you will. The fact that you put a date by which you will be better, I think, will prove to be more powerful than you may know! :)

  21. January 2012!!! Get ready to get the boot, cancer!

    Also. I love your wigs!! Especially the longer auburn colored one! :)

  22. Not cheesy and you deserve nothing less. You have years and years (and years) left – so go forth and enjoy those.

  23. I loved this letter and this whole concept. I wrote a similar letter to my ed when I was in recovery for it a few years back. Maybe it’s a bit cheesy, but I know it helped me to get it off my chest. That cancer won’t take up your 26th year!!

  24. Dear Susan,

    You are wonderful. You will beat this!


  25. I love this! Can I say one thing, though? I think it’s fabulous you’re handing cancer its eviction notice. But, remember one thing: cancer is like a really bad ex-boyfriend. Even though they piss you off, they take up a year or so of your life, and they do all sorts of things to hurt you and make you miss out on things…they help shape you into who you are. You can take that ex-boyfriend (cancer) and allow him to make you bitter…or you can save the letters/memories and look back on them and appreciate how much stronger they make you. I know cancer’s a bit of a different kind of “ex-boyfriend”…having made you think of your mortality (you’re right…you shouldn’t have had to deal with that at 25)…but you have really, really inspired so many people around you. You’ve shown incredible strength. You’ve shown immense faith. Wanna know what cancer gave you? The love and respect of a lot of new and existing friendships (and those of us on all ends of the map), moments to truly appreciate the time you have with those you love, and a really great perspective on what “healthy living” is. ;)

  26. As my birthday is January 22, I will consider it a birthday present to me if Cancer vacates your body in time for my birthday!! Pardon me! WHEN Cancer vacates your body!!

  27. For me my year was 30. I was diagnosed with stage 3 melanoma. I still look back at 30 and 2010 as the worst, most exhausting, horrifying year of my life. I’m 31 now so not too far out from my diagnosis and completion of my treatment. After many sugeries and medications, I am now done with treatment and I find the hardest part is healing and not letting the fear scare you from living your life. I’m still battling this part of cancer but it does subside a little every day. But I must say with every checkup at the oncologist and dermatologist I try to convince myself I’m not scared but I’m petrified. Your letter describes my feelings towards cancer completely.

    One of my pet peeves is why people say cancer “gave” them something – maybe a new appreciation of life or perspective. I hate giving cancer credit for anything. If anything positive came from my diagnosis, it was ME that did it, not cancer.

    I commend you for being brave. It’s so beyond hard…I really know that. Being scared of dying when you’re so young just seems inconceivable but I truly understand. If you ever need someone to chat with that understand, feel free to shoot me a message.

    • I totally agree – I will never say cancer was a “gift” or “blessing,” no matter how many positives end up coming out of this crappy experience! You’re right, anything good that comes of it is all created by ourselves, cancer doesn’t give us shit :P

  28. I like this. I think it was a good idea to write it. I can’t wait for your birthday.

  29. Reading this letter with tears in my eyes. You have every right to be very, very pissed at what cancer is taking from you (both now and in the future). *Hugs*

  30. Love this, and can so relate!

  31. wow, I got a bit choked up. This was awesome.

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