Experiencing My ‘Firsts’ at the Cancer Center


I walked through the door with you.

The room was hollow.

I paused. You pulled.

I don’t want to be here.

I Am afraid

The soft letters spelling Cancer Center

centered on the wall.

They are stark, sharp, loud

yelling without

meaning to.

I scan the waiting room.

Scarves thin





You pull harder

and feed fear like a banquet.

At this first

time. This first haze.

I don’t want to be here.


for a

soft blanket

warm hand

clear scan.


to be





here with you.

Walking into the cancer center that first time was a defining moment for me. It shook me to the core. When I stepped off of the elevator and scanned the room, my first response was to turn and run. I turned to my husband and told him I was going home and “I don’t want to be here.” He took my hand and walked with me to the front desk. I had never felt so alone and so loved at the same time.

I tried to convey that in the poem, First. First diagnosis for breast cancer, first visit, first heaviest feeling of dread and flight, first feeling of loneliness and love at the same time, and all in such a supremely profound way. As I reflect, I acknowledge that that first moment changed me in a millisecond. In all of those firsts bundled together, I transformed into someone else.

This post was written and submitted by Jennifer Carlson. The article reflects the views of Carlson and not of CURE®. This is also not supposed to be intended as medical advice.

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