Disclaimer: This post is slightly lengthy and only moderately content-filled until the end. If you’re short on time, I’d suggest reading the latter part.

It’s amazing how many blog posts I write; in my head, at 5:00 am, that is. Clearly, most of them never see the light of day. This one did. So, I realized that I wrote about my whole cancer saga, but it was a completely picture-less post. And honestly, what’s a post without pictures? Well, what kind of picture could I have included? Why, a before and after shot! And please note, this should be considered a great honor as the after picture is one of very few (eg. can count on one hand) pictures I’ve allowed to be taken of me since the pre-cancer days.





Obviously some things have changed, but it’s still me. I’ll definitely try to keep the weight off, but my hair could start coming back a little faster… any day now, any day. The creeper, lazy eye-like situation that I have going on is almost certainly temporary; but while it’s still around I get to enjoy double vision and scaring small children; okay, the second part of that I actually do sometimes enjoy. Also, note the necklace in the after picture – I wear it almost anywhere I go as it’s made with my sister’s ashes. This may seem creepy to some – and rightfully so – but it really does help me feel closer to her. To each his own, I suppose.

In the after picture I’m clearly smiling, but that’s mostly just because that’s what people tend to do; and because I wanted to show that I still have all my teeth. Yeah, apparently you can lose those from cancer too. I got a small chip from the breathing tube in my first surgery, but that I can handle.

Anyway, another reason I’m smiling is because I couldn’t think of an expression that properly conveyed sheer and utter boredom. I know that almost the entire country is dealing with lots of below-average temperatures, but let me remind you that I’m in WI. When I went to bed last night the “real feel” was -18, which is pretty representative of how it’s been. The issue is, since it’s so cold, I am even less motivated than normal to leave the house; but then there’s not much to do in the house. Enter: hibernation. Why leave the house or even go downstairs when I have a comfy queen bed with flannel sheets, fleece blankets, and a down comforter with flannel cover? I can’t think of many reasons. But then I get bored. Obviously. I am, after all, writing a post that talks about the weather, for goodness sake.

Besides the cold, I also get bored because there’s not much that I can do at the moment. I went shopping the other day, and just a few hours of standing and walking had me just about falling asleep at the dinner table. Good thing I’ve mastered the art of online shopping! I had tried rock climbing maybe 2 months ago, but found I was so much weaker than when I was rock climbing before that I just got discouraged. I did make it to the top of a wall, at least.

Like I said, the top of a wall...

Like I said, the top of a wall…

What I can do, and have been doing, to pass time is read or watch TV and movies. Consequently, though I may be back, future posts from me will probably be few and far between, since I think the only thing I could write might be a movie review or the like, and there are already plenty of those sites.

Now, there was actually something slightly more interesting (I hope) that inspired me to write this post. I was watching a TV show (shocker), and the people were at a coffee shop for a spoken word open mic night. I’m not sure if all of you are familiar with this type of thing, but my high school used to have some amazing slam poets (spoken word can also be called slam poetry) that we’d occasionally see perform during fine arts week, or the like. It’s definitely something to look up because, if done well, it’s “amazeballs” (to quote one of the judges on The Voice). So before my 5:00 am mental blogging began, I was having a 4:30 am mental poetry slam. Now try not to judge too harshly (or harshly at all, really), as I’m not even good at normal poetry, but I thought I’d share something I came up with. Just try reading it with a little rhythm for the slam poetry effect.

C-A-N-C-E-R. Cancer.
That six letter word we’re all familiar with. Right?
Maybe not.
Breast cancer, lung cancer, okay.
But have you heard of Medulloblastoma?
I’m one of the lucky ones, they say.
It’s a treatable cancer – I’ll survive.
But will I?
I lose my hair.
I lose some weight.
With over 20 pills a day,
I’m just glad insurance has to pay.
At first, I’m fine.
But it’s a thin line.
The longer it goes,
the harder it gets.
I start to think:
Can I do this? Really?
And the answer is
That it doesn’t matter if I can
I have to do this.
We lost my sister
To a disease that’s arguably worse than cancer;
It just doesn’t get the same attention.
But she’s gone, and I’m here,
So I have to fight, push past the fear.
But I’ll tell you dear,
I make no promises.
Finally, the light is here –
The end is near.
I survived.
And so can you.

Let me just say that all 3 versions I came up with during my mental open mic night were better, but they were gone long before I even found a pen. Anyway, it’s a start; not that I’d ever actually get up and perform somewhere, but maybe this is the beginning of a budding poetry hobby. Maybe.
Still, just remembering some of the slam poets from my high school gives me goose bumps because they were so good and so powerful. In case you don’t feel like searching YouTube yourself, I’ve posted a sample below so you can see how it’s really done. Watch it. Now. Do it. The video is a guy performing at my old high school, but the ones I remember were even better. I was disappointed with the videos I could find online, so if you really want to experience some spoken word, keep a lookout for any poetry slams in your area – whether you agree with the performers’ messages or not, you won’t regret going – promise!

Note: This was only working on my phone (and not my computer) for some reason, so if you have issues too, it’s a YouTube video called “gustavo manuel meneses spoken word fine arts week”

– Maddy


2 thoughts on “Inspired

  1. Hey Maddy – I think I have seen some of this slam poetry on TV – and it can be really amazing. I enjoyed Gustavo! And I also enjoyed your version, too! Great picture at the top of a wall – it is not the only “wall” you have conquered this past 15 months. It is just a physical representation of all the challenges you have faced successfully – so proud of you!

    Love, Anut Julane

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