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Poetry written by Deidra Abbott

The following poems are part of collection of poetry written by St. Jude patient Deidra Abbott as part of her college’s senior seminar. The collection of poetry chronicles Deidra’s experiences as a survivor of mesenchymal chondrosarcoma, an extremely rare cancer of the cartilage. After graduation in December of 2014, Deidra intends to pursue a writing career.


I got a life sentence, not a death.
I get to live, so let’s be happy.
It didn’t destroy me, no, not me.
I am strong, while it was weak.

Chemo, radiation, surgery—Poof!
I got a life sentence, not a death.
It’s gone! A positive, I see, in life.
A life I am not missing out at all.

I get to be happy, sad, silly, hungry
I get to love, laugh, and linger here.
I got a life sentence, not a death.
My life is not over, no, not yet.

Life is more than material things,
More than forced limitations,
More than loss of body pieces.
I got life sentence, not a death.

I get to live, so let’s be happy.
Let’s celebrate while we can!


Do you ever wonder why me?
I find this question damaging.
Such questions don't let you be free.
Do you ever wonder why me?
Such questions don't let you be free.
Evil question, needs banishing.
Do you ever wonder why me?
I find this question damaging.

Comic Relief

Chuck, my dear friend, we now depart.
Your life ended too soon.
Remember when you had both of your antennae?
You made me a legend, Chuck.
When I pulled back my patch, and
she saw you…
Man, she flipped! I didn’t know people
could turn so red!
Not only did we get her, but we
got the doc as well!
“Oh, it has legs” she said while sinking
down to her seat. White as a ghost.

Your life ended too soon.
I remember coming home, finding
your rubbery body chewed to bits.
I thought I had you out of her reach,
but she managed to get you.

Thanks to you, Chuck, I am immortalized.
I now come with a warning label
“May hide plastic cockroaches in her orbit.”

Living in My Head

Dream away the day
Dream away the Night
Keeping reality at bay
By keeping a fantasy
in flight
Reality is too much
Fantasy—not enough
Always Chasing
Never Looking
Keeping the lie
Ditching the truth
Suspended in time
Never moving forward

What I am Not

I am not a survivor, but I merely survive
In a world that has no place for the damaged.
But all are damaged at some point in time,
Some are just better at hiding it.

It is okay to be damaged in one way
But in another way, you deserved it.
How can someone deserve pain
That they didn’t bring upon their life?

We have to hide the things that damaged us
In order to fit into a society that will judge us
For choices we did not make. Choices that were
On us. No one says it to our face though.

Back hand remarks fly as soon as you leave the room.
How can we try to heal when it seems to be the piece
That is focused on and brought up by other.
It is like they hold the key to our health.

The fetters were forged by the fates,
Placed on us by an unlucky chance,
Society holds the key to our shackles,
But we can take back the key. We can work it through;

Unlock our manacles
We have to show the world even though we are
We are not worthless.
We are not broken.

Really? You are going there?

Am I the eye I lost?
The patch I wear?
The hole that’s there?
Are you your arms?
Your legs?
Your hips?
Your lips?
The clothes you don?
Your accessories, your hair?
You say you would rather
Than lose your treasured locks.
You say you would rather
Than lose your arm
Your leg
Your foot
Your nose
Your eye…
You DARE to look me in MY
And tell me you would rather
You, my friend, live a piteous life—
No, you do not live
If you think that “missing” one thing
Is not worth continuing in life.
So get out of my way, I am

Jezebel, My Tumor

Jezebel, you grew in my body.
You watched out my eye.
Jezebel, you made my life rocky,
And painted my life in goodbyes.

You made up my face in blood,
But tears for you will never fall.
I am strong. My life isn’t that tough.
Jezebel, you will never break my wall.

I have handled you, not as doom,
But just another hurdle. Easy.
Dear Jezebel, my life is still in bloom.
Silly Jezebel, you were just a meanie!

One Word

Funny how one word changes everything.
It can take you from freak to popular.
One word, and everyone is your “friend”.
One word you don’t want to say.
One word you don’t want to think.
One word brings you to your knees.
This word becomes you. Defines you.
It will stick to you forever.
One word. Only one word.
You have to say it. Tell them.
Even though in your mind it is still just a WORD.
This word has drowned people.
This word has demolished people.
This word. This word is all too real.
This word, this one word
Took my eye.
Her leg.
His life.

Never Have I

Never have I been my diagnosis,
Strong and sure I have always been.
My doctors told me I am ferocious.
Never have I been my diagnosis.
Never have I felt hopeless.
Always, yes, always will I win.
Never have I been my diagnosis,
Strong and sure have I always been.