Letters written to problems, not people – by everyday champions, like you.
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cancerous cells to accompany a poetic letter written to cancer

Dear Cancer

NOTE (from the Author): I wrote & published this on my Instagram account because I lost my brother & step-mom to cancer – my sister successfully battled it.

Just some rogue cells
Drinking from the Fountain of Youth,
Trying to survive
In a hostile world,
Lashing out at all around
In anger and confusion.
You’re not like the others;
Uniform, compliant,
Following the rules.
You live in the margins,
A deviant,
Inflicting damage because
That’s all you know
How to do.
Dear Cancer,
Like all errant,
Atypical cells,
We will fight you
And we will win.

Female, 60
Daughter & Sibling

Handwritten notes to melanoma in the Italian language as part of the Dear Diagnosis literary project.

Caro Melanoma (Dear Melanoma)

Alla gratitudine bastano poche parole… Grazie, diagnosi, per essere arrivata in tempo.

Femmina, 37

A man looks out over a body of water, as the sunsets; to complement the tone of a letter written to Cancer and published at

Dear Cancer

Welcome my newest teacher – cancer. I was told six years ago that I had six months to live with, yet another, condition. I learned a lot from that experience, and it introduced me to you. I know you are inoperable, but we have a plan for your transportation when it is time to go.

So far you have taught me so much. You have shown me the value of the little things, every moment, and how much I love my family and friends. You teach me something every day. In fact today you taught me the limits of pain when you caused both of my legs and forearms; chest, and neck to all cramp up at one time. You showed me that I was not in control, as I lay there on the floor hoping someone would come scoop me up.

You have taught me that it is more important than ever to work with my clients in recovery from substance abuse and my people that come to me for Shamanism.

When you leave, I will give gratitude for all you have taught me as I gave gratitude to a different diagnosis – cirrhosis – all those years ago because it taught me to be vegan, to be abstinent, and to walk a spiritual path.

So, Diagnosis, you’ve brought me this new teacher, so I will thank you as well. That said, I don’t mind if you stop visiting me so often. The hepatic encephalopathy has been a hoot. Who knew you could end up in the backyard in the middle of the night with your last memory being lying down to bed?! Or that time I was suddenly at a stoplight in the neighboring town with no idea how I got there, and I was driving… Thanks for banding of verifies in my throat, too, which is always a gentle reminder of the cost of partying too hard.

In all, Diagnosis, you have brought me a lot these last six years, and I am a much better man for it.

P.S.: Big time thanks to the Department of Veteran’s Affairs who has taken me under their wing and is covering all of this treatment including the impending transplant. Also, none of this would be possible without my support team and the people around me who are helping me in many ways. I love them all (and the VA too).

Male, Age 51
Diagnoses Unclear at time of Publication