Writer, researcher, music lover, cancer survivor with CMMRD ("double" Lynch syndrome)

Tag: trauma

Cancer as Trauma

I have been looking for books and things about dealing with cancer as a traumatic experience, and I’ve found more things talking about cancer being caused by stress than about it being a cause of stress. No wonder I used to try to figure out whether I officially had PTSD – some sort of validation on emotional issues would be nice.

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this is not getting over it

I can’t let go because it isn’t over
I can’t let go of something that is
determined to stick around.
and if it has formed part of my identity
that is nothing to be ashamed of
that is nothing to be concerned about
that is nothing to be fixed or talked out of
that is nothing I should try to change.

this is cemented now
this has driven me demented long
enough now
enough now with the moving on
it moves with me
enough now with staying strong or
breaking down
whatever I will be, I will be

I will not let this go because
this will not let go of me

Title inspired by “This Is Getting Over You” by Alkaline Trio.

My mantra today is “hey, at least I wrote something.”

Where Nessie Lives

it’s not that far to go
it lurks just below the surface
like the loch ness monster.
everyone else thinks it’s fictional,
a figment of my imagination,
because they’ve never seen it.
but I have, I’ve felt the waves rush
to the river bank as it moved,
I’ve reached out and touched it
oily skin, its skin much thicker
than mine. I’ve negotiated its humps
as it invited me aboard its back, I’ve
felt the powerful swish of its tail,
I’ve held on for dear life as it moved –
because it felt like it was all I had,
and it understood. it was no mirage
to me, and it still lurks there now.
I know I can revisit it at any time,
sometimes unwillingly. sometimes
I go there just so it doesn’t sneak up
on me. Nessie is always there.

I know there is a starry sky up there
somewhere, but for now I’d rather
cling onto Nessie. it’s a comfortable
fear down here, and she knows me
best, now that she’s shaped me,
manipulated me, turned me into a
mirror of herself, a shadow of me.
the water is hypnotising. it would
be so easy to dip a toe in, even though
it’s cold, even though it hurts, even
though it’s the darkest place I’ve
ever seen. the temptation is great
for no logical reason other than to
feel so deeply.
the water runs so deep
and Nessie is the way in.

she is
easily accessible fear
trepidation on tap
anger on demand

there is
a pool of trauma
hidden in this lake
where Nessie lives.

Nessie says ‘tumour markers’
and I panic, stop functioning,
struggle to catch my breath,
just sit and glaze over like these
words are mine, thrust upon me –
and why don’t they belong to
others around me too? – but
they don’t, they’re just mine
and I have to handle it. so I
take a deep breath, grasp onto
it. the consultant says he’s
sending me for a tumour marker
blood test and I say okay as if it’s
fine, and it sort of is, because
I’m strong enough. I could carry
Nessie herself – instead of bobbing
in the water as she takes me
wherever she wants me to go
because she is in control – so
yes, I could carry her weight
but I wish I didn’t have to.

© 2024 Sam Alexandra Rose

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