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Breast Cancer

Following are some poems written by 

Sally Love Saunders 

during her breast cancer journey in 2003.

A thief in the night you were.
Tip toed into my chamber,
Only flashlight of mammogram
spotted you.
Then! I called upon
all exterminators.
Sirens, bright lights
to remove you
like an awful bat
in my living room.

Now you're gone.
Everything is back in place.
Do not return.


Breast cancer - a journey
as on a train.
Where I sit in window seat throughout.
Different people come and sit by me
for awhile.
Some sit, but don't talk.
Some bring beautiful flowers.
Some return.
It's a long train ride to recovery -
Many stops
Many delays
Sometimes ride jiggly
Sometimes smooth.
I like it best
when someone comes and sits by me.


To be back home with friends
away from language of fatigue,
no appointments tethering me.
To graze and let thoughts drift
with air-like escaped balloons.
To spend time with friends
who are having fun.


To listen to their music,
see their paintings,
listen to their trips.
To be home again with friends
is to be home, indeed,
rolling in the grass.


One skinny thread
gingerly hold on button eye
of the balance teddy bear.
This is my self portrait
after cancer treatments.
But then passport lure
shot out of a cannon.
Boom! Old energy,
A miracle
Taking me out of role
of being a cancer patient
into an international visitor
needing to give
passport number
not medical identification number.


Mummy had stitched
me a favorite doll
with obvious seams
holding the stuffings in.
I loved this doll
and hugged her a lot
seams and all.
Now I have handmade
stitches on my breast
holding my stuffings in.
Can I say I am now a handmade doll
the surgeon made?
I hope someone will want
to hug me
and love me
seams and all.


Hello world I'm back
after eight months
of being in a tornado shelter.
Hello world I'm back;
a tattered teddy bear
with one button eye missing
and my new red ribbon - gone.
World you've moved on.
Hello world I'm back.


When I heard I had a tumor inside,
I became like a pregnant woman
carrying a baby.
Except I had a bat
in my living room.
An ugly black bat,
a monster.
Getting it out
my entire concern.
Gestation period a year.
Before breast cancer,
my life's work was clearly set.
Followed the map closely
by an internal compass.
Storm of breast cancer
threw me off course.
Now I must return
to my original course...
Must stop thinking of myself
as Sally, The Breast Cancer Patient.


My breast cancer scare--
Fast track pass
through the toll plaza of life.
I've paid to soar through,
To enjoy smooth ride,
to have wind in my hair
reminding me I am alive!

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