Cancer Poems

From September, 1993 through February, 2011, and then again this year, 2017, someone in our family was either battling cancer or receiving followup care for it. In 1993, ur eldest daughter, at 14 years of age, was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Disease, in 2000, I had a rare kind of breast cancer and in 2006, my husband had the kind of breast cancer that women normally get. Then, frightening us again, our youngest daughter had a spinal tumor removed in 2011 that turned out to be benign. This year our elder daughter is fighting a rare type of breast cancer that was caused by the radiation she received in her chest area twenty-three years ago. In all, we have had eighteen rounds of chemo plus a bone marrow transplant, six cancer-related surgeries with the seventh one still in the planning stage, and that's not counting biopsies, surgeries that involved benign tumors or illnesses. and almost one hundred radiation treatments. Just yesterday when our daughter learned that she needed yet another surgery she began to count her surgical scars. She has fourteen, but one of them was used twice, so she's been "put under" for some type of surgery fifteen times and has the sixteenth surgery still to go.

However, she had been been cancer-free for twenty-two years. I've been cancer-free sixteen years, my husband has been cancer-free eleven years and our youngest daughter has no residual back pain or numbness from her spinal tumor.

Do you see why we sing The Doxology, "Praise God from Whom all blessings flow! Praise Him all creatures here below! Praise Him above ye heavenly Hosts. Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen?"

Below are a few of the poems I wrote during our cancer experiences:

Bald

When chemo's heedless stroll across my head

Sweeps silent strands of hair upon my bed,

It leaves the "coconut" like polished chrome

To light the way at night when going home.

So now I'm shivering and much, much colder

With no more use for bubbly "Head and Shoulders,"

And instead of daily wash and blow,

I shine the dome with swipes of "Mop and Glo."

©Jewel Miller (2001)

Cancer isn't all bad. There are many humorous moments, and baldness is a comic relief after prayers and tears, blood work and IV's, sickness and weakness. I enjoyed being bald and so did our daughter. It's cool in more ways than one.

1. No worries about hair in your food.

2. It gives you automatic privileges because people assume you're ill and give you preferential treatment. You can go from the back of the line to the front in no time at all without saying a word and pretending to be embarrassed by all the attention.

3. When you buy eyebrow pencils to draw fake ones on your face, make sure they're really for eyebrows. The first time I drew eyebrows on, my children weren't very encouraging because they said they looked reddish. Upon checking the small writing on the side of the pencil I discovered they were right – I had just drawn eyebrows on my face with LIP LINER!

4. Don't stand around in the store or someone might mistake you for roll-on deodorant and put you in their shopping cart. (That was one of aunts' jokes, which I loved!)

But I promised cancer poems, so here are a few:

The Cancer Clinic

In this place

Time stands still.

The earth ceases to spin.

There is no full moon,

No low tide,

No haying time.

 

In this place

No cricket chirps annoyingly

From its hidden corner.

No cat leaps upon my lap

On its daily quest for comfort.

 

In this place

Doctors

(wise beyond their years)

Prescribe precarious youth.

Nurses hassle me,

Baby me,

And mother me well again.

 

In this place

Faith shines new,

Hope springs eternal,

And Truth is my daily bread.

 

In this place

Angels hover around me,

Laughter comforts my sorrow,

And God is my Present Sitter.

This is a place of worship.

 

By Jewel Miller; 1995

 

The Cancer Patient’s View Of Life

Death

Is mine –

Too awful

Too painful

And much, much too soon.

I turn and look away

Only to discover

Disenchantment with Life

And joy

To find myself in the arena

Of God’s work;

 Not sitting in the bleachers

Nor standing at the rail,

But bathed in the floodlight

Of His Grace,

And find the love

Of living the Abundant Life!

By  Jewel Miller;2001

Down

“That’s a cancer house.”

   “How d’ya know?”

The shades are down

   the door’s shut

       the car’s at home

and it’s broad daylight.

Back of those doors

no books are read

    no movies watched

       the meals are small

          the prayers are short

and there’s lots of time.

In that house

 the greatest things

     are the clock

          and pills

             and sleep

                 and Love.

“How can you tell

     just by lookin’?”

“‘Cause that’s how it is

     in a cancer house.”

   By Jewel Miller;2006

God’s Child

When the sun is beaming sadness,

And the clouds are dripping tears,

When a smile cannot be feigned and

Each word is laced with fear;

When my Bible blurs in meaning

And all prayers are trapped inside

I take comfort, then, in knowing

That nothing changes God.

He is just as true and faithful

In my sorrow, here and now

As He was in bygone days when

Everything was fine,

When His blessings came as surely

As each early morning light;

I doubted not His presence then –

Nor doubt I Him tonight.

By Jewel Miller; 1995

******

****

I will never leave thee nor forsake thee.  Joshua 1:5

But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength………Isaiah 4

The angel of the Lord encampeth ‘round about them that fear Him and delivereth them.  Psalm 34:7

******

The Ronald McDonald House

And if, at the doleful twilight

a starry wish I’d make

only a house I’d wish for

where weariness would fade;

where cares could be hung

by the open door

and pain on the table laid;

where shoes were kicked

from their aching feet

and sleep was found in a bed.

If then, at the purple dawning

a lustrous lane I’d see,

and find that the sirens in the distance

no longer are meant for me;

that the tears on my cheeks had vanished

and the night had been pushed away

that the sun, and the moon, and the seasons

were again in their rightful place,

and my child

who was sick and dying

with health had again been endowed,

I’d know that my wish

had indeed come true

through God

and the Ronald McDonald House.

  By  Jewel Miller;1993

Threatened

I am a mother

of no poetic excellence

no literary fame

no stars in my crown

no degrees to my name.

I am a mother

And that is enough

So full is my cup

It is more than enough.

I am a mother

and mothers don’t leave

half-grown children

who must learn to grieve

while learning to drive

and to love and to pray,

and to figure out how

living’s best done

when there’s nothing left to do.

I am a mother

 and I am no one else.

I am a mother

and I will always be.

By Jewel Miller; 2001

Wife To Husband

And with my nose against yours pressed

I whispered playfully and asked,

“Still like me, Honey?”

and you laughed,

but squeezed me tight and held me close

‘till waiting quietly for words

I felt, instead, your silent tears

upon my lifted face.

And now I understand your fears

and feel the beating of your heart all crushed

against my cancer breast – and know

the pain of tragedy now turned

into our aching love that once

was commonplace and trivial.

 By Jewel Miller;2001

My Prayer Warrior

You prayed for me this morning;

held me close in your embrace –

held me high before the Throne;

showed God my cancer breast.

You wept with me this morning;

mixed your tears with mine

‘till both we wiped them from my face

and both in sorrow cried.

You walked with me this morning;

held tight my hand in yours.

You freed me from the tyranny

of my cancer curse.

Now you I hold with both my hands;

look clearly in your eyes,

because when down upon our knees

you touched the heart of God.

 By Jewel Miller; 2001


Boundary County, Idaho

 

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7 thoughts on “Cancer Poems

  1. Yes, I absolutely see why you have so much to be thankful for. Some people would still be wallowing in self-pity because of how they suffered. You rejoice that you and your loved ones were saved. I’m so glad your prayers were answered.

    Like

  2. Enjoyed these poems greatly.. My wife has stage 3 breast cancer. I wrote a poem in her honor. It has helped us; maybe it will help someone else:

    Cancer Doesn’t Care
    -by Rick Sawyer
    Cancer doesn’t care…
    About the dreams you’ve had… or the plans you’ve made..
    Or the tears that fall… on a loved-one’s grave..
    -Of the hearts that break… of the songs unsung..
    Or the friends that pass… with the setting sun…
    Cancer doesn’t care…
    About who you are… or what you’ve seen…
    -Of what you think you know… or where you’ve been…
    Or the time it steals… from our longing grasp…
    -Of the deepest wounds… that will never pass..
    Cancer doesn’t care…
    About a heart that’s free… in a life beyond…
    Or the phoenix cry… who has found it’s song..
    -Of a laughing child… in his Father’s arms..
    Where there is no pain… nor fear of harm..
    Cancer doesn’t care…
    As he rages on… with all his might…
    And his anger swells… in this stubborn fight
    For he knows he’s beat… and we all know why..
    For he cannot kill… what can never die…

    Like

    • Oh my. That is SO GOOD! Thank you so much for sharing that! It is so true! So candid and real. I will be praying for both of you. May God be very close and very gentle and merciful. Pop back when you think of it to give me an update.

      Like

  3. Our God Jehovah Rapha is still a healer………praise His Name!……..my mum is a cancer survivor and so is my Uncle……..God is good! These poems are so inspiring and are such a blessing………..thanks for sharing them………..Blessings!…….Kim

    Like

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