I Am Not Cancer | TeenInk

I Am Not Cancer

July 27, 2011
By SecretFlame PLATINUM, Portland, Oregon
SecretFlame PLATINUM, Portland, Oregon
20 articles 1 photo 375 comments

Favorite Quote:
"I have a life. I just choose to ignore it."
-one of my friends


People tell me, “You’re an amazing person,” not out of respect, but because they think I need the compliment, because I have cancer. They say, “You are so strong,” while they avert their gaze from my shriveled body, lying beneath the crisp, white hospital sheets. They say these things and they don’t even know why, only that it’s ‘expected’ of them, not by me, but by society.

I am amazing. I am strong. But not because of my illness.


True, cancer made me fight harder for every breath, and made every moment without pain a blessing, but I was strong before cancer, and I will be strong long after cancer has departed from me.

Everyone talks to me like I am cancer. Like I’m only a host for the disease within me. But I say, that I am more than sick. I am me. I have a personality and a life, beyond these hospice rooms. I am more than the toxins of cancer, and more than the artificial poison they flood me with everyday.

I am a person, not a disease, so judge me as such. Don’t look for the part of me that is dying, but instead notice the joy I have for living. See my talent for weaving stories, and for lightening the mood with a perfectly aimed joke, or a snarky witty bit of sarcasm. Look at my passion for drawing. Every piece of my art shows another part of me, another depth and insight into who I am. I am not just some girl you can visit in the hospital for thirty minutes, to rack up volunteer hours, walk away from, and write off as another cancer victim. No, I am too good for that.

Stop looking at me like I am an invalid! I am not a weakling. I am a soldier. The only difference I have from any other warrior, is my foe is trying to conquer me from the inside out, instead of on a battle field. I cannot win this fight alone. Just like any other soldier, I need my rifle men, and my fighter pilots. I need your support, not your pity.

Help me to grow and live, not to stunt or die. Cancer is already doing that, and it doesn’t need anymore encouragement, but I do. Instead of patronizing me, talk to me, not as a patient or a dying girl, but as a friend. I don’t need your diagnoses. I already have enough doctors making those. I need your ability to talk to me like any other human being. I accept that I am neither normal, nor average. I am special, but not because I have cancer.

Treat me as you would anyone else. Don’t work extra hard to make me smile or to get a laugh out of me, or if you do, simply do it because we are friends, not because you feel like you have to. I will smile when I want to, and I will laugh when the joke is funny.

You shouldn’t feel awkward, or like I’m any different than I was before. Cancer didn’t change me, only how my body functions. My opinions and my character haven’t altered. Cancer does not make me who I am. Don’t treat me like I’m already dead, because I’m not, and I intend to stay that way. Remember me, not my disease.

For beneath the purple bruised eyelids and ghostly pale skin, I am your friend, the neighbor girl, and the daughter. Behind the gaunt and shrunken exterior, I am the sarcastic and very strange child who made you laugh. Beyond the IVs and chemo therapy, I am me. I am still Amelia. I am not cancer.


The author's comments:
I don't have cancer, but for everyone who does it's got to get pretty old having people treat you any differently than they did before! PLEASE rate/comment!

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This article has 24 comments.


on Oct. 7 2014 at 5:11 pm
THIS IS SO BEAUTIFUL!!!

on Mar. 23 2013 at 2:14 pm
SecretFlame PLATINUM, Portland, Oregon
20 articles 1 photo 375 comments

Favorite Quote:
"I have a life. I just choose to ignore it."
-one of my friends

Thank you :) :) :)

on Mar. 21 2013 at 10:05 pm
Helena_Noel BRONZE, Burnt Hills, New York
1 article 0 photos 629 comments

Favorite Quote:
“I'd rather see a sermon than hear one any day; I'd rather one should walk with me than merely tell the way: The eye's a better pupil and more willing than the ear, fine counsel is confusing, but example's always clear.” -Edgar Guest

I really dont know what to say. This is beautiful. How can someone critque something like this?

on Aug. 12 2012 at 4:25 pm
SecretFlame PLATINUM, Portland, Oregon
20 articles 1 photo 375 comments

Favorite Quote:
"I have a life. I just choose to ignore it."
-one of my friends

thank you so much 

LinaA GOLD said...
on Aug. 11 2012 at 2:26 pm
LinaA GOLD, Zarqa, Arizona
10 articles 41 photos 70 comments

Favorite Quote:
Get busy living, or get busy dying- Stephan King

To be able to write from that perspective and make it believable, shows you're talented. My best friend's sister died of cancer last year, and so i commend you for writing such a thought-provoking piece.

on Oct. 8 2011 at 11:32 pm
SecretFlame PLATINUM, Portland, Oregon
20 articles 1 photo 375 comments

Favorite Quote:
"I have a life. I just choose to ignore it."
-one of my friends

Thanks!         

on Oct. 7 2011 at 11:31 pm
Love.Hate.Passion., Spring Valley, Illinois
0 articles 0 photos 356 comments

Favorite Quote:
~Hope. Faith. Love~
~Be proud of who you are.You are all unique in a different way.~
~I WILL NOT fade into oblivion , and become less than
a distant memory.~

I commented on this piece in a forum thread , before it was published. One fact still stands true , this is a beautiful , poignant , and honestly raw story. Great , wonderful , amazing piece.

5 stars !


on Sep. 16 2011 at 7:38 pm
rage_against_the_machine BRONZE, St. Augustine, Florida
4 articles 7 photos 106 comments

Favorite Quote:
Difficult takes a day. Impossible takes.. oh, about a week?

I really like this, it is so beautiful! I believe I saw this first in a contest we were in: the war prompt, am I correct? Anyway, the writing and storyline intrigued me then, and now as well. You have a gift, and the emotion of strength in this is amazing.

on Sep. 7 2011 at 5:23 pm
SecretFlame PLATINUM, Portland, Oregon
20 articles 1 photo 375 comments

Favorite Quote:
"I have a life. I just choose to ignore it."
-one of my friends

Thanks!       

on Sep. 7 2011 at 5:22 pm
SecretFlame PLATINUM, Portland, Oregon
20 articles 1 photo 375 comments

Favorite Quote:
"I have a life. I just choose to ignore it."
-one of my friends

Thanks!         

on Sep. 7 2011 at 4:40 pm
RhythmAndRhyme BRONZE, Rockford, Michigan
4 articles 0 photos 91 comments

Favorite Quote:
"There's no half-singing in the shower, you're either a rock star or an opera diva." ~~Josh Groban

Love to help! :3 You did a great job on this piece.

on Sep. 7 2011 at 3:06 am
Garnet77 PLATINUM, Sinagpore, Other
31 articles 6 photos 578 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Everything's a triangle." ~ My mother

"Write what you love, write what you care about, because sometimes, it's the easiest way to be heard."

Wow! Amazing! I love the determination of the character's voice that runs through the entire piece. I think your message is so true and everyone should know this. Amazing piece of work (again). :)

on Sep. 4 2011 at 1:09 pm
SecretFlame PLATINUM, Portland, Oregon
20 articles 1 photo 375 comments

Favorite Quote:
"I have a life. I just choose to ignore it."
-one of my friends

Thank you for the wonderful feedback! It's REALLY appreciated! 

on Sep. 4 2011 at 8:51 am
singinginthegardn GOLD, Cowell, Massachusetts
16 articles 2 photos 158 comments

Favorite Quote:
"The role of a writer is not to say what we all can say, but what we are unable to say." ~Anaïs Nin

THIS IS BREATH-TAKING <33!! My mother works with people with cancer and this made me realize how they must feel...spectacular job..I am really impressed <3

on Sep. 4 2011 at 5:05 am
RhythmAndRhyme BRONZE, Rockford, Michigan
4 articles 0 photos 91 comments

Favorite Quote:
"There's no half-singing in the shower, you're either a rock star or an opera diva." ~~Josh Groban

(Sorry this took so long. :P) In case you didn't know: I review with the "Stars and Wishes" method. Stars are things I liked, while Wishes are things changeable, out of place, confusing, etc...anyway, without further ado:

Stars: The strength of the narrator really comes through in the piece. I was both taken aback (in a good way) and pulled in by her resilience and the power in the voice.

I loved how you didn't include a backstory; it would make one wonder about her life before, her friends, her family...but, ultimately, those things would take away from what you have here. Now, instead of focusing on Amelia's life before her condition, the reader is compelled to only think about Amelia herself...and listen to her words. With a backstory, this would be just another fiction piece. (I see what you meant in the comments by "you'll understand it's sort of opinion/fiction.")

The words you used in description (and the rest of the story in general) were very powerful. Any words similar to them would not have had the same effect on the reader. You did great in that regard.

Lastly, the personality you were able to give to Amelia in such a short piece. I always admire such dedication to a story as to be able to do that!

Wishes: Oh, gracious. Now you got me. I hate it when this happens....I don't want to seem like the girl who just wants to make people feel good about themselves and tell them, "Oh, really and truly, I couldn't find anything changeable, out of place, confusing, etc!" Because that's not me. But this piece is so amazingly written. I, really and truly, could not find anything changeable, out of place, confusing, etc.

5/5.

Kudos. :)


on Aug. 31 2011 at 12:13 pm
SecretFlame PLATINUM, Portland, Oregon
20 articles 1 photo 375 comments

Favorite Quote:
"I have a life. I just choose to ignore it."
-one of my friends

Thank you so much! This is one of my favorite pieces too!

on Aug. 31 2011 at 10:23 am
ItsAshMal SILVER, Guilford, Connecticut
8 articles 0 photos 44 comments
Please submit this to things. Magazines, newspapers, whatever. I know you didn't specifically say to look at this one, but the title just called to me. Awesome work. I love the idea, the crisp vocab, and the resilliance of the narrator. This is my favorite piece of yours. Five stars.

on Aug. 22 2011 at 5:11 pm
IamtheshyStargirl PLATINUM, Lothlorien, Utah
44 articles 16 photos 2206 comments
Yes, this article has a very strong voice. It seemed slightly dry, it was mostly words, not much back story or description, but I think it is better that way, that is the way it is supposed to be. 

on Aug. 17 2011 at 9:59 pm
SecretFlame PLATINUM, Portland, Oregon
20 articles 1 photo 375 comments

Favorite Quote:
"I have a life. I just choose to ignore it."
-one of my friends

I am so happy you liked this! Good for your cousin.

on Aug. 17 2011 at 9:55 pm
BreeTayler PLATINUM, Carlisle, Arkansas
30 articles 0 photos 57 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Where there is love there is life." --Ghandi

Amazing.. The character has such a strong voice. I could almost hear her stuffing the words down my throat... In a good way, beleive me.

It's crazy how fate works, isn't it? My cousin, who died of cancer years ago (he always told me to use the word "die" rather than "pass away" or "all that other bs" ... He told me that I was his favorite cousin. Because I treated him like I would a cousin rather than a patient. You can see how this article would mean a lot to me... So thank you. If Josh were still alive, he'd probably steal this away from you and post it on the foreheads of the rest of his family and his friends. Beautifuly written..