I gave my brother the “What Cancer Cannot Do” poem last night and put it in a place where he can reach for it when he is feeling down.
This is the poem that I am referring to:
What Cancer Cannot Do
Cancer is so limited
It cannot cripple love
It cannot shatter hope
It cannot corrode faith
It cannot destroy peace
It cannot kill friendship
It cannot suppress memories
It cannot silence courage
It cannot invade the soul
It cannot steal eternal life
It cannot conquer the spirit.
Cancer can damage the body physically but it cannot destroy hope, love or faith. It cannot keep us from holding on even we are scared and we feel helpless. It does not kill the human spirit nor can it keep us from hoping, believing, and praying. It cannot keep us from fighting back nor can it stop us from wanting to fight for life each and every time.
I try to visit my brother everyday and when I get there, I still cannot believe that my brother was working 12 hours a day, five days a week until a couple months ago and now, he is still struggling to breathe on his own. While cancer has made his body physically weak, it has not taken away his sense of humor or his ability to charm. In fact, in his weakest moments, he still manages to flirt with all the pretty nurses or poke or kick one of his sisters just for the fun of it. Some things never change and there are the moments that give us hope and let us know that cancer doesn’t always win.
Cancer has affected all of our lives. It is has stopped us short in our tracks, forced my mother to spend her days and her nights by his side, my younger sister to leave her children in order to be by his side, has forced all his siblings to try to stand strong in front our children even when we are barely able to, pushed our younger bother to leave college and return home to attend college locally so he can close by, and changed our lives in so many other ways. What we don’t regret is that we are standing by his side because we would not have it any other way.
We have become obsessed with the voluminous information out there about his cancer and focusing on deciphering fact from fiction in order to get answers. We have been staring at countless medical bills and fighting with insurance companies. We want him not to worry and we are willing to carry the burden of any worries he may have. We are now part of the world of people who are sick and fighting against cancer with their loved ones by their side. We see the strain on their faces and they see ours.
Cancer is emotionally draining but we try to stay positive in front of him. We laugh even when we want to cry so as to put his mind at ease. We panic at every small setback and we rejoice at every small victory. Sometimes, it feels like a nightmare we cannot wake up from and sometimes, we know it is real.
We have learned the importance of leaning towards God through this long and painful ordeal. God has been a ray of hope in our lives and place to vent frustrations, fears, anger and helplessness. We have learned to trust in God’s love and to choose hope over despair. We have reached out to others who have been through this experience and we have leaned on each other. This experience has taught us how important love and family are and how we should never take a moment for granted. Everyday, we adapt to this new life with cancer and while we have accepted that this is journey is going to be a long one, it never really gets easier.
While this has been hard, we have talked about the fight that my brother has ahead of him and the fact that he may not win that battle. None of us want to say it aloud but we know it is very possible. Right now, our goal is the make the best of the current situation and to fight a good fight. The rest is in God’s hands and whatever plan God has already written in stone, we will accept and lean to God for guidance and support regardless of the outcome.
The only things that cancer can do are make a person very sick or take a life. It cannot take away love, memories, spirit, hope, faith, peace, courage and so much more. One day there will be a cure and as many survivors as there are diagnoses and no family will have to go through what we are going through ever again. The hope for a cure and the research, monies and effort is yet another thing cancer cannot take away. That is because hope is always stronger than despair.