More than six years ago, Lisa Bonchek Adams heard the words, “You have cancer” for the first time. She started writing about her experiences as a wife and young mother of 3 with breast cancer. Lisa wrote about the darker, richer emotions that she was feeling — aimlessness, fear, despair — but also the dogged commitment to always be strong with an enthusiasm for life (Silver Linings!).
In October of 2012 she learned that the cancer had metastasized to her lymph nodes and bones. She now has stage IV breast cancer. She continues to write about her experience on her blog and has generously allowed me to post this poem that she wrote.
Thank you, Lisa.
I Just Want by Lisa Bonchek Adams
I just want to see my son play baseball,
Watch him wave at me when he’s on base.
I just want to take my daughter shopping for makeup,
Applying powder to her porcelain skin.
I just want to read with my youngest one,
Snuggled up in bed together turning pages of a book.
I just want to grow old with my husband,
Continue to share our lives as we have for twenty-two years already now.
I just want to sit in the garden when we are old.
I just want to talk about the good old days.
I don’t want to read about mTOR inhibitors or side effects or months of disease-free progression.
I want to read beach fluff and skim through cheesy magazines.
I want to get a pedicure and have a nap in the chair.
I want choosing the color of my nail polish to be the toughest decision I have to make for a day.
I don’t want to read reports from the ASCO conference or tweets about new research findings.
I just want it to go away.
But it can’t.
I will never know another day of my life without metastatic cancer or chemo or treatment or dread.
But I will search for joy.
I will do what I can every day to find that joy,
And if I can’t find it I will make it.
This is my pledge,
This is my promise.
Some days it is hard to do.
Some days fear and sadness are too much.
Some days I do not know how I will do this with grace,
But I will try.
I must make the most of this time:
Helping others, educating, writing.
I know no other way to do this.
But it’s the hardest thing to do.
I cry, I give in to the emotions, but only for a few minutes.
No good can come from that.
I gather strength.
I go on living.
The bad days will come someday.
But that day is not today.
That time is not now.
And so I am a parent, a wife, a friend, a sister, a daughter, a writer, and everything else I have been until now.
That is who I am.
That is who I will continue to be.
For as long as I possibly can.