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“My Letter to Cancer” by Nina Mccallum

In August of 2023, we released our fourth Open Call: How might we reimagine healing and transformation with cancer through poetry, art, letters, and stories? The following is a letter submission we received from this open call.

“I wrote this letter in the point of view of my mom, who was diagnosed with stage three rectal cancer. This was a super mentally and physically exhausting experience for her and she struggled with depression for a long time. She is finally coming to terms with her aftereffects of surgery and learning to cope with the changes in her body. She is one of the strongest people I have ever met, and this letter is dedicated to her and her journey and the feelings that she has had and is currently experiencing.”

Nina Mccallum

My Letter to Cancer

I forgive you. After a strenuous year of unimaginable pain, I forgive you. I forgive the
sickness you caused, the times when all I saw was darkness and a deep drowning depression. I
forgive the time missed with my family, my job, and my life. I forgive all the scans,
appointments, and needles that I was forced to receive. The months and months of living in a
ball on my couch, shrinking away into nothing. I forgive you for the holidays, birthdays, and
events that I was not able to attend. The way my family was just as impacted as I was in their
own way. I forgive you for making my elderly mother give up a year of her life to care for me.
The thirteen-hour surgery and countless weeks of pain during recovery. I forgive all the horrific
issues that you caused me this past year and the issues you have continued to cause me even
though you are gone. I forgive you Stage 3 Rectal Cancer. I forgive you from the bottom of my
heart because you have made me the person that I am today. I am the strongest version of
myself, and I have learned things about not only me but my faith that I never would have
otherwise. I still must learn to live with this newly transformed body and the side affects you
gifted me. However, I still forgive what you have done because I can proudly say I beat you and
can experience this beautiful thing called life for a little longer. I forgive you, Cancer.

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