The Cancer Survivor’s Blessing

May all your scans be clean
May any abnormalities clear up before the next scan
May your physicians never say, “That’s odd”
May you always have viable treatment options
May all your first dates avoid the topic of how you’ve spent the last few years
May all your creditors, landlords, and union reps be generous and empathetic
May science catch up to you before the disease does
May you never look sick
May all your phlebotomists get a vein on the first attempt
May all your nurses be charming, humorous, and gracious
May the infusion center have wifi and a Pandora account
May all your physicians realize, quickly, the utter stupidity of asking you how you’re feeling today
May your friends and neighbors say a prayer for you and light a candle in the Vatican, despite your personal beliefs,
May you find something hilarious — even if it’s macabre and grotesque — in your worst days,
May you live to see your favorite artist’s next film/album/exhibition,
May you find your tribe in people you never thought about before you had a PICC line,
May the first line of treatment be more effective than promised,
May you have a flattering hat or wig in your closet before your hair comes out,
May your loved ones steadily hold your hand during infusions and the nights of panic,
May your nurse case manager always answer before the third ring,
May your blood counts never drop
May your pharmacy always be on time
May you be able to swiftly walk off any cramps in your legs
May any constipation last less than a day, and be resolved without uncomfortable amounts of laxatives
May food always taste good enough to eat
May your health and memory remain relatively intact, so that you can greet any abnormal readings or test results with, “Oh, yeah, I remember what went wrong there -”
May you live long enough to create something beautiful — and know its beauty,
May your life choices never be predicated by your new medical needs
May people you’ve never met tell you your existence is important,
May you never need a feeding tube,
May you burn bright enough to banish the shadows, and light the way for all who follow,
May your aspirations never be constricted by your diagnosis or treatment
May you view the inevitable ending as another, unavoidable part of the human journey, not an end to the story
May the end be swift and painless, and leave your loved ones with the memory of who you were, rather than the sour taste of what you became
May your current agonies be dwarfed by the happy memories made in the years to come
May your support network last longer than the words, “No Evidence of Disease”
May you live long enough to throw away the crutches/wheelchair/cane/walker, and,
May Death inherit them in their pursuit
May you return that grace and wisdom to the next folks in line
May you meet your maker many decades from now, and greet them as an equal

Written by

Science journalist, cancer survivor, biomedical consultant, the “Wednesday Addams of travel writers.”

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