JC Braithwaite, a friend and a breast cancer survivor, wrote this poem just a few days after she was diagnosed with the disease several years ago. In a chaotic time in her life, she turned to writing to express herself, and this beautiful piece was the result. JC was pushed into the three ring circus of cancer, and she emerged on the other side, battered and bruised but with an amazing sense of self and purpose. Today, she is cancer-free, and she and her husband are enjoying life with their two-year old daughter, Emily Shea. Emily is named after JC’s oncologist, Dr. Barbara Shea.
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The Circus of Cancer
Today the flyers came announcing the arrival of the circus.
The Circus of Cancer
With the weight of the world I became the center pole of this three ring circus.
Deflated and heavy I planted myself in the ground and began to heave the tent preparing for this crazy show.
Family and friends plant their poles next to mine and try to lift as much as they can.
Even friends from far away heave and pull tightening around me.
Slowly I raise and right myself with the help of those who love me.
This show must go on.
The side show acts bring gasps of, “Why in the world?” and “How can it be?”
Everyone silently thanking God they aren’t the bearded lady.
Tears are shed for these oddities.
I’ve been a side pole in other circuses but this one is my very own.
No one can hold this tent up but me.
In come the clowns.
No circus is complete without them.
Laughter is my cotton candy.
Pies in the face take my eyes off the trapeze being raised in the dimmed background.
Even the sad clown has his place in this show.
The tightrope walk starts
Silently the crowd stares and prays.
There are wobbles and gasps but no one will fall today.
Amid all the chaos the Ringmaster is in charge of the show.
He conducts everything.
He can make sense of this 3 ring circus.
The show will conclude with a death defying feat.
Drum roll please.
Sighs of relief and cheers from the crowd.
She made it!
The big top will be lowered and the circus will move on.
The best thing about a circus is…
It may come to town but it never stays!