'Please don't' - by Cordelia

 “‘Please Don’t …’ By Cordelia” Written over an aerial photo of a snowy path through a forest.

Cordelia, our guest blogger from earlier this week, is back today with a poem she wrote about coping with people’s comments around her breast cancer diagnosis. Want to catch up on Cordelia’s previous blog? Click here to read her story.

Please don’t…

Please don’t tell me how I should feel

Or what I should think about having breast cancer;

How I should be ‘over it’ by now;

How I should be more positive;

How I should be grateful that I’m alive.


And please don’t say, ‘You’re over-reacting to your situation,

It’s only you who feels like this’ or

‘It’s time you got on with your life.’

How can you know? You have never been in my situation.

And please don’t ask me what I have contributed to my cancer

Or tell me how brave I’ve been.

There was no choice is all.

It was just the luck of the draw.


And please don’t ask me how my breast cancer journey has been.

There was no journey.

There is no journey, because there is no end in sight.

And for pity’s sake, don’t say,

‘well we’re all going to die in the end,

I could get run over by a bus tomorrow.’

It’s different.

You have never stared death head on.

You have never had breast cancer.

We are on different sides of the track now.


Tell me instead

That you cannot know what it is like living through this hell.

Tell me instead that you have an open heart

And an open mind,

That you’ll listen,

That you’ll try and understand.

Even when what I’m saying sounds preposterous to you.

It is my reality.

And please, please try and look beyond your own fears.

Or if you can’t, tell me so.

Having breast cancer is terrifying

And the terror does not diminish,

Because the fear that is will come back is ever present.

So, please, please don’t tell me that I’m one of the lucky ones.

That I’ll be back to normal soon,

Because my life and I have been changed forever.

A huge thanks to Cordelia for sharing this powerful piece with us. If you have any poetry that you would like to share on the Community do remember we have the Express yourself group - a space where you can share anything creative, cancer related or not.

  • Hi Cordelia

    Thank you for sharing your poem and story, it rings very true.

    I am a cancer support worker with breast patients.


  • Hi Kate. Thank you so much. And thank you for all you do. I am sure you are a life line for the people you support and you clearly understand the issues involved! 

  • <p>Sobbing my heart out. This poem is so true.</p> <p>My breast cancer has been pushed to one side because hubby was diagnosed with throat cancer just after my mastectomy. His treatment has been gruelling and the side effects horrendous.&nbsp;<br /><br /></p> <p>Reading this has allowed me to think about myself and how I feel about what&rsquo;s happened to me.</p> <p>Thank you HeartHeartHeart️</p>
  • I’m so pleased it has given you that. What an incredibly hard time for you but please keep thinking about yourself now you have started to.   You deserve it! I’ll remind myself to do the same. So easy to forget to. 

  • You said it all Cordelia well done!

    All we need is " I'm so sorry you're having to go through this and am here for you in whatever way you need"

    We don't expect answers,just a hug or a listening ear.

    NOT comments such as:

    "Look on the bright side...you'll  lose that weight!..(.My oldest friend! )

    "You're not alone. ....So many people have cancer."(I felt very alone even with family around me)

    Or talking about other people they know/knew with cancer....it doesn't help.

    There were also some really upsetting comments which I won't mention as people on here may be upset by them.

    You certainly know who's got your back at times like this.

    One relative hasn't been in touch since I was diagnosed in 2017!! Apparently  she was annoyed I didn't tell her,I got her sister to do it as i was finding it hard to keep telling people...unbelievable!  

    Amazingly it was people who hadn't featured much in my life for years that supported me.

    Old school and college friends who i had recently hooked up with again rallied around.

    One even came to my last chemo session and we had lunch together...God love her!

    (I'm all mended now btw)

    Thinking of everyone who's going through a tough time x