Dear Cancer

October 20, 2010

The word cancer, by itself is known to send shivers down peoples’ spines. Known to create mass panic, cost thousands of dollars, destroy lives, and take lives. Cancer. When said each person may interpret it differently, a loss of a loved one, a divine story of someone who fought and beat the odds of death. What is cancer? What has the power to drastically change a person’s life in one moment in time? To me, cancer is a thief of life and joy, and the giver of pain and sorrow. Cancer, I do not know what you look like or feel like, but what I do know is you have taken people away from my life. I am an 18 year old boy who asks a lot of questions and one I have never been able to ask or answer myself is: what compels you to do so?
Dear Cancer,
The date is January 23, 2010, I am writing on behalf of my family, but most importantly for me. Your name has come up in our family discussions more times than I can count. Even though we have not personally met, I would like to introduce myself. My name is Cameron Young, born September 1991, nephew of Darla Treworgy and grandson of Sharon Parsons. I do not know if we will meet soon or ever in my lifetime, however I would like to talk with you now so you will know where I stand.
You may not be aware of the people I am speaking about, since you are so active, but they are and were two very special people in my life. I want you to know these people on a personal level rather than just inanimate objects. My aunt, strong, bold, and daring, but most importantly, a mom was your first encounter. You tried to take her, away from my family, leave her young kids in this world with no mother, leave me without an aunt, my mom with no sister, and my grandparents without a daughter. The mark you leave does not only affect the one you indulge yourself into, but everyone else around them. You are nothing better than a criminal trying to take what you can from great people in this world. Leaving a scar on everyone you touch, some visible some not, however in the end, they all hurt as bad as the next. You are sneaky as you take different forms to enter undetected into peoples’ bodies. Breast Cancer was a nice try; you were close except it was caught early enough forcing you to pack your bags and move on. Even though you left your mark with my aunt Darla in her having to have a mastectomy, you still lost and made all of us stronger for it.
Now the heat is on, bold move to comeback I must say, how cowardly you must be to attack the sweetest lady in my life especially, after she moves away to Arizona with my Papa because they could no longer take the winters in Wenatchee. The one that taught me how to tie my shoes, the one who made me special peanut butter sandwiches on “dough bread”, the one who let me ride up front with papa so we could talk on the C.B. radio, the woman who was my Nanny. Upon the thousands of hours I spent with my Nanny and then to hear that Nanny’s “very sick” is not something any 10 year old boy or anyone in the world should have to go through. I had no idea of what misfortune had just come into my life. See, I want you to know that every night when I laid crying in my bed, “Wondering what has gone wrong? Is Nanny gonna live?” The hardest question of them all was, “What am I going to do without her?” I may have some sort of an answer to that question today. Although life is undoubtedly different without her in it, life is spent remembering her in it. The anger and rage that built in my heart for what I feared was going to happen was overcome by sorrow and sadness when my mom came home and brought me the news. It felt like my heart had been ripped through my sternum and then jabbed back in with an ice pick. I remember the feeling of my body weighing so much and the extreme effort it took to pick myself up. “Nanny is dead, no, this can’t be true!” The disbelief in what had just happened, the fact I could still picture Nanny in my life, still walking in the park, still knitting, and still watching the Price is Right, made this so much harder because I believed she was still alive. There is no doubt in my mind I will forever hold you responsible for not letting me tell her “I love you” one last time. I will always love the woman you took from me. Cancer, you took an idol from a boy. The word grandma was a sensitive one, one that will only be able to be used in the conversation of heaven.
We have our past which has been laid out on the table for us; the ball is in your court. Your composition I am not quite sure of, never the less it is quite apparent that you are lacking a crucial element that every being possesses, a heart. Your intentions are unknown and your existence is questioned, but your presence is felt. If we ever do meet, you need to know I will avenge the loss of my Nanny and you will cease to exist. It’s always something that will hurt knowing you took my Nanny.
She may have lost the battle, but she is not lost in my heart.
Cameron Young
Wenatchee, Washington