January 8th, 2014 § 39 comments

IMG_8090I add another ball of surgical tape to the back of the photograph of my family hanging at foot of my bed.

Don’t fall.
Stay there.
Just stay.


I wake up fettered, chained, restrained in body and mind.

The room is cold and yet it stifles:

Choking, pulling, grabbing me back, reeling me in.

I start to shake, fear manifest in movement,
Waiting for Reality,
The next interloper…
Another who will not be pushed away,
Wished or willed or
Bargained for.

I search for powers to rise above, get out, fly away.

Those dreams cannot escape that reality.
That shaking cannot stop.

When repeatedly pushing the button of narcotics is an act of acceptance,
A realization of what is,
In part an impotent attempt to eject myself from the room, the bed, my body.

The tears which accompany my pathetic try stay safely tucked away,
Hiding with hope and mental acuity and certainty.

Like middle school children the fear starts to divide, partners off, chooses a companion for the evening.
Two by two, hands on hips, turning tightly into a circle
Guarding spots of possession,
Declaring ownership,
This is mine.

The fetters must remain and yet I will not budge.
I have my spot.
Small perhaps,
But it is still mine.

I have my life.
I watch it shrink.

I have my words.
But now I see them dissolve around the edges
Like watercolors they bleed as they search for pristine lands to conquer
As they stretch that lifeline.

The words of disease become words my brain gravitates to.
The ebb and flow of cancer,
Of life.
And so too,
Of death.

Each night when I return to my room after radiation now it happens:
My voice instantly is quiet, reverent.

I am resepectful of what I ask that beam to do,
I ponder the magnitude of something I cannot see.

And so I affix that photograph, one more piece of tape just in case.
Holding on to all that matters,
Doing as much as I can for as long as I can.
Day by day,
Storing up bits of beauty wherever I can find them.

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§ 39 Responses to Adhesive"

  • Merva says:

    Lisa, Once again you have expressed in beautiful phrases the ugliness of cancer. I humbly send my thoughts with hope that you find strength to continue through each hour and treatment. I know you help many people with every tweet and post.

  • Lori says:

    Powerful …sending virtual hugs of comfort

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  • Colleen says:

    Beautiful, terrifying, and sorrowful. This is the first thing I ever read that perfectly captures those middle of the night feelings when you are in the hospital with a very serious illness. I am giving this to my family to read. I wish you comfort. Your strength is an inspiration.

  • this is your best. thank you for all that you are and the honesty with which you express it.

  • Thinking of you and wishing you strength and comfort. Your honesty is inspiring. Thank you.

  • Beth Smith says:

    I sit here with tears running down my face. I know this fear, the one that catches me as I start to fall to sleep some nights. I stuff it back into place and try not to let it get hold of me. Know there are many out here with you, thinking of you, wishing you so much, but mostly, more time.

  • Absolutely magnificent.

  • kathi Geglia says:

    You have a gift, Lisa. The talent you share helps us to understand. We appreciate your generosity, your hope, enduring the dark. We wish you more light, hope and time.

  • Christie says:

    For any of us who have ever feared anything and felt we were losing control – you speak to those feelings. Our protective circle is always around you.

  • Silvia So says:

    This is such a piece of beauty, Lisa. Soft and harsh. Sharp and fragile. Just like a red rose.

  • Pris says:

    You have shown us your heart. Thank you

  • You have written of the night…I wish you sunshine…
    Hang onto that photo!

  • Rebecca says:

    Wishing you time and light and many more mornings. I wish your family could be at your side instead of just in that photo. Sending you hugs and holding you close to my heart.

  • Elizabeth says:

    Thank you for these words. You have written so beautifully of the fear we constantly live with. Wishing you only the best. How you continue to have the strength to write is amazing.

  • denise says:

    i love you. somehow, this isn’t enough but it’s everything. xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo

  • Lynn says:

    You are heard.
    And we thank you.

  • mary says:

    Beautifully written. You said it all. I appreciate you, Lisa.

  • Vicki Sivilli says:

    Thank you for sharing. Thank you for your honesty.

  • Patti says:

    You are such a gifted writer, Lisa.

    I wish you all the best and I too thank you for sharing yourself with your readers.

  • Karen says:

    Lisa, you are like a reporter from a foreign land to most of us. You must surely think about turning away from the reporting to just be for awhile, but yet you continue to keep the conversation going. Your elegant use of language and honest sharing of your innermost feelings makes your story so compelling. I wish you peace, relief from pain, and more time with your precious family. Thank them for sharing you with us!

  • Eleanor says:

    Thank you. You do help others with every tweet and post. I know you have helped me.

  • Cyndi says:


    This is gorgeous. Thank you.

    I wish you peace, I wish you peace in that small space that is not really small because of the enormity of your mind.

    My mother was unfortunately not always lucid in the hospital and she would ask me different things like to take her out of the hospital. “Take me to the beach; I want to get out of here. I want to smell the air.”

    I want to take you to the beach.


  • Jennifer pascall says:

    oh Lisa…I cannot imagine …
    Your writing is so powerful…up there with the best…
    Just so wish it were fiction.
    you are so often in my thoughts and I have shared your blog with family and friends…
    wishing you strength and hoping for relief for you from the pain…
    and sending a south african hug

  • Kcecelia says:

    This is beautiful. It is made all the more extraordinary by what you are dealing with. Sending you love and admiration over and over again; thinking of you often, wishing you well. xo.xo. xo.

  • kelly says:

    I keep seeing your reminders about finding beauty on twitter, and I just wanted to tell you that they help, they work, they make me look. And I will keep looking, and save some just for you, all the while wishing there was more that I could do.

  • David Dobbs says:

    That’s some powerful work.

    May the tape stick.

    Yours, David

  • SER says:

    I recently took a mindfulness course, and the instructor said meditation is to help us simply observe “it’s like this” and not flash forward or back. For me, this is hard. But you do such an amazing job of it, and I deeply value your sharing of your experiences, though of course I wish you didn’t have to be in this situation at all.

  • Leah Wise says:

    Tears …

  • Pam says:

    Wonderful evocation of the feelings washing over you in a situation we all wish we could alleviate.

    Instead, we send love and bear witness to your articulate humanity and generosity.


  • joannefirth says:

    I find all that is truly beautiful in you.

  • Jennine Jones says:

    Your post filled me with sadness. I think of you often, as many do. Although we have never and will never meet, you have had a profound effect on me. You have given me guidance on how to communicate and be there for loved ones suffering from life-threatening illness. You have given me the freedom to not only not participate in the stupid FB pink ribbon game, but to actually vocalize that this is not helping. There are tangible ways to help, but reposting something is not one of those things. I am in awe of your strength and will to live. Please let it carry you through many more mornings to come.

  • Sharon says:

    Beautiful and so heartfelt. Stay strong and left no one bring you down or question your right to be you.

  • Sharon says:

    Beautiful and heartfelt. Stay strong and let no one bring you down or second guess yourself.

  • Jennifer says:

    The article about you is thoughtless, cruel and cheap. The writer clearly does not have the skill you do and has resorted to sensationalist tactics. The piece your wrote is stunning. You are brave and strong and wise. Your words matter.

  • Simone says:

    Dear Lisa

    I have been reading your blog for the last few months. I came across when I was looking for advice on how to interact with children of mothers suffering from terminal illness. A friend of my son’s mother had just told me that she had terminal breast cancer. Although my son and her daughter had played together often and I had had many small chats with her, strange as it sounds I had never actually realised she was ill. She dealt with her illness in a different way to you, she chose to be very private about it. I totally respect both ways of dealing with it, but I wanted to let you know that your blog helped me to know how to interact with her child who is only 5 years old and who continued to come over to play. After I stopped seeing her at the school gates , on your advice I wrote her notes about what fun the children had had together and just let her know that I was thinking of her. I never heard back from her and she died last week. I am a British person living in Switzerland and the Swiss deal with illness in a different way, but your blog really helped me to think about what she must be going through which I think is the right thing to do – it would be all to easy to put people we don’t see out of mind. Over the last few days I have been keeping an even closer eye on your updates and am wishing things to turn around for you. I saw The Guardian article and find it quite disgusting that someone wrote such a piece about someone who already has so much on their plate to deal with and this is why i really want to make sure that. i write today how much your blog has helped me even stretching as far as Switzerland.

    Wishing all the best to you and your family


  • Very powerful and wise. I’m amazed at your perspective. It helps mine. Thanks to @beckysain for guiding me to you. Thanks for the writing. Sending only good thoughts,

  • […] Poetry conveys the burden for Lisa Adams, […]

  • rocky says:

    Beautiful. Honest. Authentic.
    Thank you!

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