2017 wasn’t the best year overall. Too much loss, too many unfortunate events and a world slipping fast into old habits we thought we had left behind. But here at The Underbelly we are nothing short of in love with and amazed by the writing that was submitted to us and we aren’t the only ones who feel that way. Here are our top 10 share articles of 2017.
by Margaret Lesh
Before breast cancer, I was happy with my floppy breasts, even if they were somewhat ravaged by breastfeeding, and time. When I received my diagnosis of invasive ductal carcinoma at age thirty-four, I was relieved to have the option of breast conservation surgery, or lumpectomy, in which I lost a quarter of my breast to the surgical removal of the tumor. Afterwards, I had a whole new appreciation for my comfortable, albeit a bit saggy—and now asymmetrical—buddies.
by Jennifer Caldwell
Shit happens. Cancer fucking sucks. We are all going to die. The weird thing about cancer is that you know from *what* you’ll die. You also know that it will be sooner than you’d like, even if there’s no way to tell exactly when.
You know what really fucking sucks? Having breast cancer at age 28, before even getting to start a family with my husband.
by Andy Sealy
The first thing I thought was “How am I going to tell my parents?”. I never would have thought that having breast cancer would be something that I would be ashamed to tell my parents because I felt I had disappointed them. Such an odd response, but it was the first thing that I felt. The second thing I felt was “Who is ever going to want someone in my shoes?”
by Melissa McAllister
If you take the time to look at the faces of the women and men in this project, you will see what cannot or need not be spoken. Mostly, pain. And while you will even see some smiling faces (and we all love to smile) sometimes that smile is a filter (that mask) through which a person can be provided protection from the vulnerability of being truly seen. But we see them all.
by Brandie Langer
As I fold laundry, I wonder if the cancer is back.
As I vacuum the living room, I wonder if another friend will receive bad news.
As I read books to my children that contain sad scenes, I cry more than I should, because I’m crying not just for the character in my book, but for my child who has to also bear some of the burden of cancer.
by Lisa Faden
But what if you’re not a warrior by nature, and what if you don’t want your body to be a battleground? What if you are a feminist who has spent a lifetime critiquing the fetishization of militaristic narratives? What if someone tells you to fight, and your first instinct is, “Can we just … not?”
by Melissa McAllister
We all lose when someone dies. We lose their brilliance, their gifts, their potential, their beauty and their humanity. We lose the joy and splendor of sharing more time with those we love. We lose the chance to love deeper and longer. We lose the opportunity to share all the milestones we’ve yet to reach with them.
by Larissa Podermandski
There are many circumstances one hopes never to experience. No one wants to get sick. We all subconsciously fear being the the next person who learns they will have to face the ultimate fight. What is it like to face something as terrifying as cancer? It’s very scary.
by Nanea Hoffman
First of all, let’s get one thing straight. A cancer diagnosis is like having a very large turd descend upon your unsuspecting head from a very great height, out of nowhere. Suddenly: SHIT. And I don’t care what anyone says – you don’t have to be philosophical, positive, or grateful regarding any of it. The world gaslights you enough. You don’t need to do that to yourself.
by Jaspreet Dhindsa-Sidhu
I hope you are realizing that I have compromised a lot in this relationship. After making it to my brain, you were abruptly removed through an emergency craniotomy. Anything left behind was radiated, along with your little friend. I thought you would’ve got the message. YOU ARE NOT WANTED! THERE IS NO PLACE FOR YOU HERE! YOU NEED TO MOVE ON! But you didn’t listen.
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