Poetry – Part 2 – 2008-2015

06-21-2015 From: Tonya Kooiman – Sheldon Iowa

I live my life, never knowing you’re there
Then suddenly, one day, I’m caught in your snare
The first time I was left with my breasts and my pride
The second time you took the breast on my right side
What I want you to know in the middle of this fight
No matter what you take, you can’t put out this light
You see, I have a husband a daughter and a son
They’ll stand by my side until all is said and done
So bring it on and know we’ll never quit
Third, fourth or fifth, we’ll never submit.


9-28-2015 by: Reima Shetler – Bosiclare, Illinois

The Wearing of the Word

The initial bearer of The Word, spews a volcano of meaningless Lava.

Too many words.

Life-altering words.

The Word burns and transforms everything it touches.

What is it that you Hold as Holy?

Where am I in the societal role of gender?

Long, luscious locks of perfectly coiffed hair.

The much anticipated blossoming experienced in the youth

Taken back in the prime.

Soft, expressive, soulful, decorated eyes
Ravaged by the inevitable healing cocktails.
With The Word comes the morbid interest of strangers.
Like carrying the foreign body of pregnancy,
The Word begs unwanted advice.
Stay down.
Rise above It.
Concentrate on work.
Take time for yourself.
Let the tears flow.
Put on a brave face.
A life once lived happily in the shadow
Now a communal oddity.
Side long glances to see how you wear The Word.
Pressure, self-imposed, to wear It well.
You look lovely today.
You are such an inspiration.
Outwardly, an involuntary smile.
Inwardly, screaming, “Rubbish!”
I do not wear The Word well as a beacon of hope for the murmuring masses.
I wear It well because It was given to me.
I wear It well as a sentient being reduced to its primal need to survive.
I wear It well for ME.


9-11-2014 by: Elana Carr

If Only You Could Know
If only you could know how it feels . . .
To be told you have Breast Cancer,
To know you have to endure the uncertainty of chemotherapy, surgery and radiation.

If only you could know how it feels . . .
As the drugs of chemotherapy enter your body and make  you feel sick and weak,
As you just begin to feel better and the chemotherapy starts again only to make you feel sick and weak once more,
As you watch in the mirror while your head is shaved so you won’t have to see your hair fall out,
As you fool the world and wear a wig so no one knows anything is wrong with you,
As you have to rely on others to help you with things that were once so easy and routine.

If only you could know how it feels . . .
To have your body disfigured,
To go alone everyday for radiation treatments and come home and go to sleep,
To suffer  the burns and fatigue of radiation.

If only you could know how it feels . . .
To try and keep a positive attitude,
To worry about caring for an aging parent and pet,
To worry about losing your job and paying the bills,
To worry about getting better and to wonder if you will stay Cancer free…

If only you could know how it feels . . .
To have your body  finally begin to feel normal again,
To watch as your precious hair slowly begins to grow back,
To look in the mirror and see a strong, beautiful person who can proudly say “I am a survivor”.


10-24-2013 by: Omarr RaSharjd Lee – Washington, D.C.

Omar Lee wrote this poem after losing relatives to cancer – an aunt to breast cancer.

Thank you Omar for sharing your beautiful poem!

Defining Hope

Being the one to be strong,

Even through dark to light,

Being the one to have courage,

Even through gloomy night,

Being the one to have faith, and

Knowing that a better day is on the way,

Being the one to always call upon Jesus,

What else is there to say?


10-10-2013  By : Linky Mayfield – Las Cruces, New Mexico

Linky’s Mom, Katja,  sent this poem to us – her daughter wrote it 2 years ago when she was 14,

when her Mom was undergoing treatment – I think she is a pretty special little girl — I know you all will agree!


That sadness in my heart tears it in two,

As the doctors sit and tell her the news,

That what she has is not the common flu,

And it is her very life she may lose

Its breast cancer that’s killing my mother,

An unstoppable monster that destroys,

It’s a killer unlike any other

Tearing her apart without any noise

“but thank the good Lord’ the Doctors exclaim,

Even though this sickness can make one scared,

This cancer is a kind that we can tame,

The road to recovery is tough so be prepared,

You must stand up and will yourself to life

For you are an awesome mother and wife.


This is about living with metastatic breast cancer.

Think Positive

by Shari Larsen – Michigan

We are thrilled to tell you that this poem was used by a group of Contemporary dancers

called the “Independent Artists Collective in Chicago, Illinois in a competition, headed by Rebecca Crystal,
BFA in Dance, University of Illinois


Think Positive”;
Easy for them to say,
they do not have to live
with this every day.

This beast inside me
can be kept at bay,
but will not entirely go away.

Another scan, another test;
possibilities of progression
turn my thoughts into a worry-fest.

At last, the results are in,
I breathe a sigh of relief;
and I begin my life again,
saying a prayer of thanks.
For a little while
I can forget my angst.

For now, maybe,
I can be so bold
as to entertain thoughts
of growing old.

I still have thoughts
on certain deep, dark nights,
that this beast will one day
will take my life,
but I will not go out
without a fight!

I have this thing
that helps me cope.
It’s deep in my soul
and I call it Hope.
It is my lifeline,
it is my rope;
the thing that keeps
my heart afloat.

Life goes on,
and so do I.
I don’t have time
to sit and cry.

I treasure the moments
when I can forget
that I have to live with “it”.
For me, having an ordinary day
is a blessing to me,
I know then that I will be okay.

©  All Rights Reserved 2008


4-19-13 by: Susan Krebs — Deerfield, Wisconsin

My Breast Cancer Journey

Feel a lump and fear the worst.
See the doctor and hear you’re cursed.
Tell the family your bad news.
You know you’ve got so much to lose.

More doctors, biopsies and tests,
You’re told you’re going to lose your breast.
The next step is surgery.
Just a few weeks of misery.

And when you think it can’t get worse.
You learn the name of every chemo nurse.
Weeks and weeks of feeling sick.
Chemicals inserted into veins made thick.

Once you’ve been put to the test,
Then they give you a little rest.
In the hopes of making your body strong,
Before your next surgery comes along.

Finally working towards something good.
More pain to come is understood.
Surgeries to replace what you have lost.
But being whole is worth any cost.

 Always fearing every day,
And praying your cancer will stay away.
Remaining upbeat and full of hope.
Even though you’re on a slippery slope.

You’ve fought hard to reach remission,
You’ve beaten your cancer into submission.
You pray to God to keep you well and

deliver you from this horrible hell.


4-4-13 by: Kerry Peterson – Kingsburg, CA

A tribute to her Mom

Shades of Pink

Shades of pink
Honor the suffering,
Solicit and celebrate healing.

Fuchsia, rose, crimson, salmon, baby-blush, coral,
One of those is my mum.
Another, your sister, his wife, a friend.

They didn’t go looking for the fight of their life,
But the storm came:
An urgent call,
Surgeons, stitches, ports, mistakes, fatigue, and pain,
Long days, therapies, sympathies,
The waiting and the wondering,
So many plans on hold.

It is an outright ordeal,
Though we color it with soft shades of pink.
Perhaps we know that
Pink wails AND whispers
In its radiant grace.

May it be a healing color-
Beauty that renews and rejuvenates,
Bringing strength and a smile
To the women of this world
Who must sail through the storm of cancer.


10-27-2012 by: Cronin Detzz – Las Vegas, Nevada

 This is dedicated to my aunt Nor, who made it through breast cancer,

and to my cousin Angelica who went for a mammogram then two days later had a double-mastectomy.

Amazon: literally, without breast
Warrior heart beating in her ferocious chest
Ancient enemies deftly laid to rest
No regrets, no sins confessed

Her breasts sculpt and outline her
But breasts alone do not define her

Brazenly brave in her soul’s darkest night
Sharp of hearing and keen of sight
Viscerally knowing
As in pregnancy, glowing
A fighter, a survivor
A sisterhood to revive her

She crept into the shadowy dream
Felt her heart burst, heard her soul scream
Do her parents wait at The Other Gate?
Would she finally see the scales of her life
balanced between choice and fate?

Damn you, Illusion of Time!
The Angel of Death cannot be met
Children she cannot say farewell to yet
The life she could have driven
The people she could have forgiven

And when she finally entered the silence
accepting His will like glittering diamonds
Allowing medicine to heal the physical
And loved ones to heal the metaphysical

She finally let go of fear
and doubled her strength

Even if her body gives up
Her spirit will never give in
As an example of her family’s love
Shining and expanding deep within
Cancer cannot defeat her
Cancer can never truly win


9-26-2012: Sent to us by Penny Baby
For Angelica, Nor, Marci, and….every cancer warrior-esse

Don’t know where Penny Baby lives – but this is truly a writing

from a very loving daughter thankful to have a survivor for a mom.

  Bless you for sharing this with all of us. 

My mother

I know you can’t look at yourself in the mirror and smile.

I understand that every time you need to cry because you no longer see what you did several months behind.

Every morning you look at your pillow more and more each day your hair slowly goes away

I thank God each morning and night to see your face before and after I leave and go to sleep.

I’m sorry that I don’t know your pain but I know you’re strong.

It doesn’t matter how your body looks now. You will always be my beautiful mother that is alive and lived through cancer.

Laura sent this to us today – and it is so good we wanted to share it with you all 

– Her life has been remarkable – I hope to meet her one of these days. 

She is a world traveler, she says her triumphs are: enduring optimism, believing in oneself, believing in others. 

She is originally from England, but now lives in Gilbert Arizona. 

She is an online instructor at the Southwest Institute of Healing Arts in Tempe, Arizona.

She was born with a congenital heart defect (a hole in her heart) and has spent her life actively healing hearts in one form or another.

  She is currently in training for her June 2012 climb of Mount Kilimanjare for charity.

Laura would love to hear about your life journey – www.about.me/LauraBarnes

  This young woman is amazing – and so is her poem – see what you think of her never ending optimism!  I love it!


I am not a victim of breast cancer – I am experiencing breast cancer
I am not dying .  I am living.
I am not curing.  I am healing and restoring.
I am not fearing.  I am loving and trusting 
I am not fighting.  I am ceasing all hostility and conflict.
I am not weak or diminished.  I am strong and whole and complete.
I am not crying.  I am laughing until the tears run down my leg.
My body is not my enemy.  My body is my loving friend and gentle guide.
My life story is not history.  My life story is legendary.
Am not powerless.  I am powerful beyond measure.
I am not a drop in the ocean.  I am the ocean in a drop.
I am not scattered.  I am aligned.
I am not being destroyed.  I am building my sacred stature.
I am not trapped or caged.  I am as free as a feathery fledgling.
My body is not a muddy puddle of despair. My body is a hallowed temple of spirit.
I am not filled with shadows. I am filled with illuminating light.
I am not a passive puppet.  I am an active advocate and enthusiastic participant.
I am not tired and bested.  I am tied and invested.
I am not without a voice or meaning or purpose.  I am an angelic messenger.
I am not discarded. I am needed.
I am not descending, dragging or faltering.  I am consistently inspiring and uplifting.
I am not dwelling in the reflections of the past or the projections of the future.
I am joyfully dancing naked in the unfolding mystery of the present moment.
I am not alone or abandoned.  I am infinitely connected by the soft, silky vibrational threads of love.
I will not forget.  I will remember
I will not burn out.  I will sparkle forever.


9-2011 by: Ellen McGaughey — Wisconsin

Ellen is one of our members – she Ellen is a painter by avocation but she hasn’t painted since the start of her chemo

. She writes that “suddenly these little poems started spitting out (about 20 of them so far)

and I suspect it is just my way of dealing creatively with all these feelings I am having”.  

We love this type of sharing – it comes from the soul, and helps everyone that reads it.

Deep beneath
The weight of knowing
Cancer’s grip
On Weeks, months,

A trace of light
Breaks through.
Shrouded still,
With fear.

The prescription simple:
Live while you are here,
What grows inside
Provides only
A suggested passage.

Light is there.
Arriving Daily.


Submitted October 2011 
This experience happened during a recent trip she made with her husband.

” Adjusting to being hairless (and the accompanying responses) has been a large part of my journey.

Every once in awhile there is a delightful surprise because of this badge we wear!”

Out For Breakfast
This sturdy waitress,
Older than should be wearing that job,
Controls the diner,
Misses not a cue.

Scans me over
And knows.
Scarf a dead giveaway
I guess.

(Or maybe
Something in my eyes.
Does the tired
In my bones show through? )

“Is it chemotherapy, honey
I’m sorry to ask?
Got a box filled with scarves
That I’d just love to pass

To someone like you,
In need of a few.
I got through my bout
Spent a year in that stew

And look at me now
Strong, with lots of new hair.
Just hang in their honey
Is my message to share”.

Eggs, toast and hope
Served up with a smile
From a sister of mine
Without any guile.

Submitted November 2011

Ellen wrote this poem for her doctor who had prescribed the normal “hot flash” meds:

she says “He read it out loud but now sure he really got it!! “

Side Effects/Internet Search

Truly a web
Sticky and seductive
Page after page
Endless bites
Of damage
And pain.

My finger a magnet
Scrolling again and again
Caught in the mystery.
I’m looking for answers,
Filling in spaces,
Just one more link.

Can I survive it,
This tortuous cure?
When I see what is written
I’m drawn to see more.
My heart is now racing
I’m slumping and down.

Please Doctor prescribe me
The pill that I need
To let go of tomorrow
And my need to read,
Turn off the computer


Submitted 11-22-2011
And be present here now.

Her thoughts on the holidays
Holiday Wish

Holidays call.
Obligations start
To fill the spaces
Of my reluctant heart.

Why withdraw?
Why the urge to close my eyes
And have my way:
No holiday spirit in disguise.

Children, mother, friends:
Supportive all.
Still past traditions
May have to fall.

Cancer sharpens
My senses clean,
Holiday habits
Need to be gleaned.

Trees and turkeys
Out the door,
Mistletoe and malls,
Don’t want more.

Broken body requires some rest.
Spirit, strong, requires more:
Suspend this world, see my best:
Love is at our core.

Time standing still,
Past and future out of place,
Only you and me
In a blessed space.
Holiday’s mission
Accomplished then.
Peace shared,
Good will to men!


2011 — by Sue Prins — Ames, Iowa

Sue is one of our members


I am touched by Cancer
A glancing blow, I pray
But still I bleed, and bruise,
and hold my breath in anticipation
Of the next indignity.

I am touched by hands
that comfort me,
And pray for me,
And open my body
To excise the malignancy.

Eyes have held my eyes
Touching my soul,
And words have carried me
To the next Challenge.



Light against dark…. Dark against light.

It’s what my eyes see
As I take a step toward darkness;
The sky reflected in a puddle,
March robins, huddled in a treet
An unexpected smile from a stranger.

Light against dark…. Dark against light.

It’s what my ears hear
As I move toward silence;
Geese calling overhead,
The rattle of branches as the wind teases through them,
The laughter of my grandchildren.

Light against dark…Dark against light.

It’s what my heart feels
as it contemplates stopping;
The love of my life’s companion,
The faint coolness of that snowflake on my tongue,
The sweet breath drawn.

Light against dark
Life stands out in sharp contrast
Dark against light……
September 27,2011
I got back yesterday from a silent retreat where I wrote this…

I am not broken,
Hardly bruised  even,
By events of the year
Gone by.

It seems a dream,
A stream of fragmented memories
Playing randomly
When I call for them.

I almost can’t hold my own interest
In that scarred past.
Turn that page over…

We thank Sue for permission to print her very moving poetry.
She is enjoying her new life,” after treatment ends and the rest of your new life begins!”

August 2023 – Sue is still doing well.


To My Dearest Friend I Never Met!

In Memory of : Bev Saarinen
5/8/1943 – 11/15/2008
by Marion Jonker

Could anyone have told us..
that across the world somewhere

Two friends were there awaiting
for a plane to make us care..

I was here in California
we were miles and miles apart.

My cockatoo from Australia had long ago
stolen my heart.

Our e-mails were our only link.
a phone call now and again….

But God knew what he was doing…
when he linked our souls and then…

God united these two “boob sisters”
who understood each others pain…

He knew we needed each other…
on each end of his vast domain.

Our love of dogs, and nature,
our never ending love….

Of those whose lives we made better
with God’s guidance from above.

Now you have left me my sister….
The friendship that we have built….

resembles to a great extent….
the stitches on a quilt.

So go and select the fabric for your wings…
out of the best stuff they must be built….

and I’ll meet you when I get there….
Just find a large enough place so we can quilt.

©  All Rights Reserved 2008


written by : Di Ballard  ..

she wrote: “I have written a couple of poems whilst being treated for breast cancer

and would love you to use them on your site.”

I Will Survive
It was dark and dismal as I lay in my bed,
It was also so dark, inside my head,
Thoughts going round inside my brain,
Spinning faster and wilder like a hurricane.
I`m scared of the cancer, would it come back?
I`m trying to smile,but I`m beginning to crack,
My mum and my aunt, now my dad have all gone,
Taken by cancer,now can I live on? 

I`m strong for my family,I smile for my friends,
Inside I`m unraveling, my sanity depends,
Upon beating this curse that has taken my kin,
I must get my head straight ,I will not give in.

I’ve  had many ops ,and all treatments are done,
I know that I now have the strength to go on,
So cancer, jog on ,you`re not taking me,
I`m staying right here with my family.


I don’t  look in the mirror anymore,
  because I don’t like what I see,
its a stranger that’s standing behind the glass ,
  looking back at me.

the face is the same,the eyes and the nose,
     and I’ve still got the wobbly bum,
the shoulder length hair ,so lustrous and dark
      has now all sadly gone.
clumps of hair on my pillow each morning,
    strands of hair where my head lay
the chemo was cruel, the sickness intense,
there were more bald patches each day,
would  I have got through this hell each day
without all my family’s love ,probably not ,
I think that without them I would surely have given up

When the doctors removed both of my breasts,
my life was changed forever,
would I ever feel like a woman again,
for a long time the answer was never.
I’ve now gone full circle,
Can look at my self and now I thankfully see.
when I look in the mirror,
tho a little bit changed,
the person in there is me. 

My body has changed but I’m now so alive
my future no longer looks bleak,
I see myself now as the woman I am,
I’m no longer, in my mind, “the freak”
Without my family I’d never had made it,
I’d never have got through each day,
I know now my husband of 32 years,
will love me whatever, come what may.