Speaking Openly About Cancer-Related Fears

Stage III

‘Twas love I’d wager placed the defect there

within the wrinkle of your smile concealed.

The surgeon’s blade our woe away might pare

but blacker truth the biopsy revealed.

A metastatic melanoma sank

its poison’d root and grew into your face.

Unknowingly a nearby lymph node drank;

it was removed. Does there remain a trace?

My turn to bear a burden for us both

though I the needier have been for long

and need now but recall our pledge of troth —

that first refrain of our forever song.

For we are two in faith each with our part

but for all days to come we share one heart.

A Sonnet Unnamed

Some may ask as have I from sleepless bed

Not why, to question why leaves just because,

Not answers; best to aim for how instead

On earth might one snatch hope from cancer’s jaws

For every night there is a dawn to break

The grip of dark that daylight might reveal

Rising from the depth of despair’s lake

Of tears, a raft of hope, with steady keel.

Love’s last trial waits, not while we are yet here

Atop the dune hills dreaming hand-in-hand

But if it comes to pass as is my fear

One set of footprints only press the sand

But whose? It matters not (’tis my belief)

My hope — that waves may wash away some grief

My wife Debra was diagnosed with stage 3B melanoma on her face and in a nearby sentinel lymph node in March 2021. Last February, we discovered that it migrated to the lymph nodes in her neck (although the doctors still maintain that it is not stage 4). She has been a member of the Facebook “Melahomies” site since that time.

During the first few months after Deb’s diagnosis, while she was undergoing immunotherapy, we started having regular, honest and often difficult, conversations about the uncertainty of our future together because of this insidious disease. We continue to do so and are able to speak openly about our fears. We use the comfort and strength of our relationship to find a way forward.

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

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