This Is Why - Leslie Kronberger

Cancer is the only thing I really hate.  I hate it because it steals and never gives back.  Cancer tries to render us powerless and label us victims.  What cancer cannot destroy, it changes forever.  Once it invades your life or the life of someone you love, it wants to stay in your head, always disrupting and distracting, coloring things dull, dark, threatening.

I am a mother and I hate cancer because it attacked my wonderful only son, Paul [Read Paul’s story here - Ed.].  Cancer snuck in without warning and left a mark forever. I hate the way cancer made us wait for answers and then forced us to place our human trust in strangers.  I hate the time and memory space that cancer took from my children.  I hate the physical, mental and spiritual pain my son, daughter-in-law and our family lived through. I hate the tears I saw in the eyes of my son and daughter-in-law, the worry, the fear and the anger. I hate that I could not take away any of my son’s pain and that he will always remember he had cancer.

I hate cancer because it took my lifelong best friend almost 9 years ago after a 10 + year battle.  I hate cancer because it over-shadowed the happiest events in her life.  I hate cancer because her children and husband must get on without her.  I hate cancer because I know how hard she tried and how much she wanted to beat it.  It is neither fair nor right, she is the best person I know.  I hate cancer because I miss her every single day.

Kronberger TIW 1.jpeg

I hate cancer because a second malignancy now threatens the life of my husband’s lifelong friend.  I hate cancer because I don’t know what to say to bring comfort to our friend and his wife when they cry and ask why and how. I hate cancer because my husband feels helpless and doesn’t know what to do for his friend of 60 years. 

I have been an oncology nurse for almost 20 years.  I can put a face and name to hundreds of reasons why I hate cancer.  Some are young, many elderly, most are kind, and usually frightened and unhappy, at times lonely, some average and others genius, each hardworking, desperate, and always grateful for and helpful to each other…the adjectives go on and on.  These words describe the wonderful, powerful individuals who shared so much and fought so hard.  They are the men & women who refused to let cancer define them.  They are the dear Moms and Dads, Sons and Daughters, Sisters and Brothers, Children, Family and Friends who taught me what matters most in this life.  I hate cancer because so often I never got to thank them. 

Tell someone that you love them, say thank you and share a hug, lend an ear, send a smile, offer a kind word and SCREAM a loud prayer that really soon we no longer hate cancer because it is gone for good.

Michael Walsh