Celebrating Life...

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Day One

We waited behind closed doors,
Not sure, what the future had in store.
In our silence,all we could do was think
It seemed like the walls,began to shrink
The doctor came in,
Joining my partner and me.
The results of the biopsy,
He'd let us see.
"It's cancer," is all he'd say.
I really don't remember,
Much else from that day.

He talked of a surgery - ASAP.
Then we'd know, what it'd take,
To be cancer-free.
Dreaded words - chemo and radiation,
I didn't want to hear.
Schedules being set,
For the rest of the year.
He talked of stages, and survival rates.
But he really wanted a commitment,
For a surgery date.

Only twenty minutes had past,
But our lives changed forever,
So very, very fast!
I sat numb and in shock,
Emotions were getting harder,
To keep under lock.
Tears broke free, like a stormy sea.
What would happen to my partner and me?

We left the clinic knowing,
The day was far from done.
The hard part was coming ...
Telling daughters and sons.
We realized more fears,
And got to see, a lot more tears.
We told the children,
The battle would be fought.
That we would survive ...
With faith, love and support!
Already drained, the battle begun,
Then we realized ... it was still ...
... Only ... Day One.

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Emotional Scars

The battles that I’ve fought
are pretty well known
documented in clinics
hospitals and ER’s
war wounds and scars
decorate my body
but some remain hidden
never seen except by a mirror
and… reluctantly…
by my lover

This conflict has left scars
the physical can be dealt with
but it’s the emotional I struggle to embrace
feelings of being less then whole
a sense of shame…
occupies my mind

Still learning an acceptance
for things I can not control
this is who I am
every scar… a little victory
every body part taken…
all done for a hatred of cancer
and a love for you…

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physical scars

Physical Scars

If you try to see who I am
your eyes can deceive
cancer has disfigured my body
you try to understand
how chemo made me ill
you have empathy
seeing the burns from radiation
while you may have sympathy
you try not to gaze…
at a head… with no hair…

You don’t see my soul
it’s OK, I understand
I live in fear…
of every cough, sniffle, and pain
you can’t see how I strive
to be independent
never a burden
cancer did a lot of things to me
but it didn’t steal
my dignity or grace
it didn’t steal my love
for my children or my spouse
cancer may have changed me
but it will never own me

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Five Long Years Ago

When the news arrived,
Shock - not knowing what to do,
Fear - from the unknown.
Doctors, surgeries,
Visits to clinics,
Late nights in ER.
Chemo and radiation,
Praying, just for today.
The future - disappeared.
The end... or... the beginning...
Of Year One.

It was so long,
That first year.
Felt a little better,
When it left.
But, new fears arose,
With every cough, sniffle,
Or Illness.
There would be celebrations,
Along the way.
Your hair returned,
Son graduating college.
But, fears still ruled Year Two.

A vacation, some gardening,
Lots of home remodeling.
Still don't mention the future.
But, privately, we begin to dream...
Anxiety sets in, with every test,
We wait for results,
For numbers,
We know so well.
"Could it be?" ruled Year Three.

A little beam - what is it?
Could it be a light,
Out of this dark world?
Still living day to day.
Noticing every little sign.
Wondering, if remission would end.
We've come so far,
But, still have forever to go.
We keep moving on.
Year Four was full...
Dreams, hopes, and prayers.
But, the future, still isn't mentioned.

That beam is getting brighter.
As days turn to weeks,
Weeks to months.
Count down begun,
An end in sight.
In silence,
We anticipate...
But, no words are said.

Like a pitcher throwing,
A no-hitter.
We live in fear, of dreams,
Everything becomes a jinx.

Two months left,
Brightness can be seen,
The warmth, so comforting
And peaceful.
One week... one day...
Its over...
Five Years... cancer...
Has gone its way
Five Years, living day to day.
Five Years, of holding our breath.

Today, we let out a sigh.
We made it! We're alive!
Today, the future, came back.
A past, we both survived.
A past, we won't forget.

Hand - in - hand,
The future is ours!
We'll start again,
We live life, for today.
But, finally, a future,
Where we can have a say.


Cancer didn't kill me.
It gave me a power,
Down deep, in my heart,
It wished to come out.

Cancer showed me a world,
My eyes never did see.
It opened the doors,
To my spirit.
Feeling deformed,
But got no sympathy.
My lover, just showed me,
He still wanted me.

Depression left, I got to see,
The world, with all its beauty!
Sunrise means more everyday.
On my knees, I'm getting,
Stronger, in so many ways.

It stole my body,
Afraid to let it be seen.
A scar, replaced part of me.
Deep inside, a fire still burned.
I knew, I wasn't alone.

The soul, more alive then ever.
Quit - wasn't a word - NEVER.
Days turned to weeks,
Weeks into months,
Months to years.

As time went on,
My soul, released the fears.
Cancer didn't get all of me.
I could still feel and see.
No, cancer didn't kill me.
I'm still alive ... and ...
I've been reborn ... FREE!

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Relay For Survivors

Under balloons, dressed in blue.
They'll take that first lap,
Designed for them.
Lined with luminaries,
Honoring, loved ones,
Remembering, departed souls.

They're our wifes and husbands,
Our brothers and sisters,
Our neighbors and friends.
They are survivors.

They endured pain,
For the love of family.
They showed us strength,
Courage and wisdom.
An acceptance, for things,
We could not change.

Tonight, we'll celebrate,
And shed some tears.
We'll walk, share some stories,
Relive our worst fears.

We remember, many sleepless nights.
Visits to ER, poked and probed.
Check-ups, chemo, and radiation.
It's a part of us,
That no matter how long,
Will never disappear.

We're thankful, you had the fight,
To continue on...
To guide us and lead us,
On a new journey...

They're young and old.
They're black and white.
They're moms and dads.
They're survivors.

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Relay For Life

Remember When?

Remember when,
Our love was simple,
Our love was free?

Remember when,
We spent more time together,
Then in front of a TV?

Remember when,
Cancer was a word,
That didn't bother you or me?

Remember when,
Playing in the garden was fun,
Planting flowers and maple trees?

Remember when,
School musicals and football games,
We couldn't wait to see?

Remember when,
Trips to town,
Didn't involve doctors or therapy?

Remember when,
Bills didn't overwhelm us,
We went out on dates or saw a movie?

Remember when,
Everything, was fresh and new,
"No," wasn't in our vocabulary?

Do you remember when?
"I do," and you will, too!
Its the way to be, for you and me!

Our hopes and dreams,
Will stay with us,
They are - our reality.

Do you remember when?
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Some new faces,
While some are no longer here.
Others - seen many times before.
Tonight, we'll forget our fears!
For a little while, we'll forget time.
Relay For Life, will occupy our mind.
For a little while, we'll forget the tragedies.
A celebration! Is all everyone will see.

With the first lap,
Caretakers and friends,
Relive the fight.
Survivors get cheers from everyone.
Memories of surgeries and chemo,
Still fresh in our sight.
And we realize, the battle,
Is still not done.

This war has claimed many lives.
We'll never forget,
The ones who came before.
It was their strength,
That opened new doors.
Their fight, made us a little stronger.
And we'll wait... together...
For a cure...
A little longer...

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Why do we complain,
About simple things?
We whine when we,
Don't feel good.
And forget about those,
With an incurable illness.
We get upset when we have,
To park away from the store.
And forget about those in,
Wheelchairs or using walkers.
We get angry with poor service,
At restaurants.
And forget about those with no food.
We get frustrated with our job,
And forget the unemployed.
We get stressed with,
Projects at home.
And forget about the homeless.
We ridicule the unchurched,
And forget their pain.
We live in fear of death,
And forget the living.
We look for the material,
And ignore the spiritual.

With our pride,
Its easy to forget and ignore.
At nights, in our warm beds,
Do we ever think -
By the Grace of God,
That could be me?
Celebrate our joy and peace,
Leave troubles behind.
And help those who have them.
One thing we all share,
We were brought here,
Out of love.
Can't we share it with all,
Our brothers and sisters?

(c)2004 Dave Harm
from my book "Damaged Merchandise;
Poems and Stories of an Alcoholic Addict"
Cancer poetry and stories

Loads of Cancer
Poetry & Stories

Loads of Cancer
Poetry & Stories
Cancer poetry and stories
Cancer poetry and stories

Loads of Cancer
Poetry & Stories

Caretakers know that waiting never seems to
end.  That is the reason why for a second
poem with the title


Waiting… for an answer
waiting for a life to begin
put on hold to many times

Waiting… in a room with strangers
idle chatter relieves the tension
for a few minutes… we forget

Waiting… for a doctor or nurse
to deliver good news
reviving our hopes and dreams

Waiting… then wonder
do you know who we are
as a couple

Waiting… we’ve come to a point
where our life
just seems to be… waiting


Another waiting room.
Thought I'd seen them all.
Large windows,
Distract the mind.
A pond with 100's of,
Ducks and geese.
Bring comfort,
And a little peace.

Looking around,
The large, lonely room.
Seeing people, sit in corners.
Quiet, reading, or on phones,
Staying busy, waiting for news.
Which they hope - or hope not -
They will receive.

Tranquility reappears,
As I gaze upon the pond.
A dozen ducks,
Walk on the shore.
Others, resting on grass.
Some venture out, on the thin ice.
While, other little clans,
Swim in the frigid water.

Reality returns, as I remember,
Where I am at, why I am here.
Only 20 minutes have past.
Once again, I survey the room.
Not much has changed.
A few new faces,
A few have left.

Rub my eyes,
Silent prayers begin.
"Please let this work.
Let her live the way, You intended.
Happy and pain-free.
Somehow, let it happen,
For Betty and me."

I wish her pain would leave.
Stress would be less,
Then maybe...
We could start again.
The doctor appears,
"Surgery went well.
We'll just have to wait and see,
How much pain she'll be in."

An hour later, we head home.
Together - not alone.
We'll find out in a day or two,
If the pain has lessened.
Pray for the best.
Sadly, expect the worst.
I feel my days, under the sun,
Sitting in waiting rooms,
Is far from done.

Support and love, is no less.
With doctors and nurses,
We are truly blessed.

A Yearly Test

It would become a yearly test
in a cool room she exposed her breast
results the doctor would see
made it worthwhile she was cancer free
she dreaded her mammogram day
but appointments always set
she couldn’t stay away
wasn’t a fear of death
she’d hope we’d see
done out of love for her family

Things changed that one year
she was presented with an unknown fear
there was a mass on her left breast
uncertainty created an emotional mess
a biopsy would be performed
memories of her past were reborn
thoughts of children’s first step’s
yellowed artwork on the refrigerator
she always kept

Results came back
cancer – her body was under attack
things began to move fast
surgery, chemo – radiation would be last
thoughts of a future left her mind
serenity and acceptance she would find
patiently she waited for year five
once again, the future came alive

A time of life her family won’t forget
they thank God for the goals she set
to watch her children grow up strong
waiting for grandchildren to come along
to grow old with the one she said “I do”
neither growing tired of saying
“I love you”

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Year Six

Here we are in year six
still seems like yesterday
it took 13 days for your hair to fall out
it took 4 months for chemo to end
it took 30 days to be burned

yet it took only one minute
for fear to enter my life

here we are in year six
still seems like yesterday
it took 6 months for your hair to return
it took 2 minutes to do blood work
it took 5 days to see if you’re still in remission

yet it took only one minute
for fear to enter my life

here we are in year six
still seems like yesterday
it took a day to comfort our kids
it took a day to comfort our family
it took a day to comfort each other

yet it took only one minute
for fear to enter my life

here we are in year six
still seems like yesterday
it still takes everyday to say “I love you”
it still takes everyday to thank God
for our time together
it still takes everyday to remember
your strength and courage

yet it took only one minute
for fear to enter my life

here we are in year six
still seems like yesterday
its taken 6 years to let out a sigh
its taken 6 years to not fear tomorrow
its taken 6 years to know our honeymoon
has just begun

yet it took only one minute
for fear to enter my life
and another minute for it to leave
because we are husband and wife
with faith and love we will survive
A Yearly Test

Strength From God Above

like it happened yesterday
the anxiety never seems to go away
every cough ... every pain ...
the worries can drive you insane

but early on I seen our love
and strength came from God above
by each others side we'll stay
a commitment we make every day

cancer tried to destroy you and me
but it back fired ...
instead it set us free
we became free to explore
and we were able to open
unimaginable doors

we looked fear in the eye
shedding tears we often cried
seen more then one doctor and nurse
and more then once
just wanted ... to scream and curse

cancer entered our life
but it's not who we are
we still dream and reach for the stars
cancer is with us every day
but it won't steal our goals
we refuse to give it the final say

we'll live for today and do our best
we see life is special
and we've been blest
living for today
has granted us a tomorrow
we'll live life with joy ... not sorrow

yes cancer has affected you and me
but that's not what others will see
we'll continue to pray for a cure
but until that time
we'll live life
and close no doors

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Facing The Unknown

late at night, in a cold sweat
I feared the future
it’s a life we didn’t want
but it’s a life we will
experience … together

two words changed our journey
‘It’s cancer’
you followed doctors orders
and I tried my best
to be strong
and give you a shoulder to lean on

over time I realized
I needed you to lean on
going for chemo
knowing how sick you would get
a courageous act … only you
could endure

I thought the worst was over
when those treatments were through
until radiation came
burned and burned again
skin peeled… holes formed
but you never quit

this journey has defined our life
fear … then fight
love and commitment …
then … strength and support
through it all we remain …

Our Heroes

a nasty word which brings fear and fright
involving many sleepless nights
a word we never wanted to say
we wished it would just go away
but when it wouldn’t leave
it was then… we realized the gift we received

your strength was easy to see
it gave courage to everyone… including me
analyzing every surgery… every test
so many sleepless nights… so little rest
we looked behind every door
but answers came when we prayed to our Lord

the reality is… you’re a survivor…
with the fight to live
using all available gifts God would give
you’re our heroes we say with pride
thankful… to walk by your side
tonight we celebrate and honor you
and remember everything you’ve been through

as children we fantasized about being
Superman… Captain Marvel,
The Green Hornet, or
maybe even the Karate Kid,
but for everything they accomplished
it’s nothing compared to what you did

showing us the battle against cancer
could be won
and our time together was far from done
the Bruce Wayne’s and Clark Kent’s
will come and go
but you have shown us…
there are real life heroes

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Celebrate, Remember,
And Fight Back

let's celebrate... it's your time
you're proof things can turn out fine
chemo made you weak and frail
but you didn't quit... you didn't fail
we celebrate and honor you
your determination carried us through

let's remember...
those that have been called home
they're with us today... we're never alone
memories... when you were under the weather
as well as the great times we spent together
thinking of things we used to do
through our tears... we really miss you

let's fight back... the war is far from done
but there's hope... cancer's on the run
visions of a cure... are looking great
we're seeing increases in survival rates
what a beautiful world I hope we see
everyone living cancer free

we'll celebrate... remember... and fight back
we'll laugh... cry... and stay on the attack
your courage is what we'll see
your strength set us free
we know now... this war can be won
and our time together... is far from done

One Simple Test

the doctor said it would just be a simple test
but it ended… in a day of nervousness
an x-ray would show a mass
doctor wanted a biopsy… real fast
now it was a waiting game
but in an eerie silence… we knew
our lives would never be the same

at home… our love and courage was strong
which made the wait for that call…
not seem so long
after a week… the phone call finally arrived
we headed to the clinic… what a long drive
outside… it was a beautiful day
but in that office it seemed dreary and gray

that room was so quiet…
you could hear a pin drop
when he finally entered… I felt my heart stop
he sat down next to me and my wife
and with his words… I shook and saw our life
“I’m sorry, it’s cancer,” he would say
I didn’t know whether to cry or run away

he talked of our future plans
where surgery… would be our line in the sand
after recovery we’d start our attack
chemo would begin pushing cancer back
but we were far from done
radiation… would burn those final cells
before they could run

this cancer battle started with a simple test
when diagnosed… I felt blest
it was a gift my wife gave our family
to start these tests at age 40
I’m thankful she decided to have them done
I know now… the war against cancer
can be won

click here available as a MP3

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Cancer poetry and stories

Loads of Cancer
Poetry & Stories
Purple Power CD

poetry & music
the  ultimate CD
for individuals
and fund raisers
top of page
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Purple Power
now available
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Purple Power
now available
as MP3's

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Purple Power
now available
as MP3's

click here

Purple Power
now available
as MP3's

click here
Celebrating Life
Damaged Merchandise audio book has arrived...

With the release of this audio book, the chapter speaking about cancer has
come alive.  The video below plays a section of the
Illness chapter.  It starts at
the 2 minute mark.

This audio book is unique in that you can purchase a chapter of the book
without buying the whole book.  For more information on purchasing the book or
a chapter
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14  years