05/14/2013 12:09 pm ET Updated Jul 14, 2013

It Happened, Even to Me

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I laughed when we buzzed off my hair.
I smiled as we made fun of my "chemo brain."
I nervously bit my lip with every port needle access.
I glanced the other way when the transfusions began.
I held my breath as we waited for hours.
I distracted myself with other worlds of TV characters.
I daydreamed of what my life will be like after...

I moaned in pain as the drugs took their toll.
I screamed in vain for some kind of relief.
I whispered an angry prayer (or one hundred).
I constantly replayed my fears.
I blamed God, the environment, and pre-processed foods.
I watched myself slip away...

I felt my body retch every spare inch down the drain.
I looked in the mirror and saw a frail, sad girl.
I examined the battle scars that ravaged her mind and body.
I tried to bandage her up, make her look presentable once more.
I rolled my eyes when others bought the lie.
I faked a grin, a chuckle, a word of advice.
I winced at myself on the inside...

And now I ponder this "hero complex" we thrust upon the ill,
That they must battle not only their sickness, but the ailments of all men still.
We expect them to have tremendous grace and poise, some extra kind of wisdom,
A refined dignity such as gold from a fire, not the ugly markings of a burn victim.

Not every thought will be inspiring, and not every line will rhyme.
I do believe in good being able to rise from the ashes,
But please understand that sometimes I can't see past the inferno.
I am happy that my story brings others encouragement,
And I don't think any of this is a mistake.
I just wish people would stop telling me "I can't imagine how you do it"
And instead realize, "You're just like me."

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