Beautiful Tumor. ~ Shadia Alam

Via Shadia Alam
on Dec 4, 2013
get elephant's newsletter


I looked at a beautiful tumor.

It was as if petals of a flower had fallen before me. Big, pink petals with delicate lacy patterns and a violet eye at one end. These petals huddled together in clusters as if for warmth, or at least for sharing secrets. There was no mistaking the life that pulsed from these flower-petal-cells. I could see how even some were in the process of dividing, with spindles of indigo DNA, at either end of their textured cytoplasm, ready to give birth to another.

I looked at a beautiful tumor, and saw how the cells were being nourished by delicate blood vessels, coursing throughout. I saw the blood that the cells consumed like mother’s milk, growing stronger and plumper.

The sense of community was strong, as each cell stood shoulder to shoulder with its kin.

I looked at a beautiful tumor, and saw how all of this growth had happened as if it were overnight. Ceaselessly, tirelessly. There was no mistaking the passion for life that was before my eyes. These cells wanted nothing other than to live. While they might have disobeyed a certain order to do so, they had found fertile soil and sprang forth with abundance.

I looked at this beautiful tumor, and wondered about the patient.

How had he been living his life? Had he ever lived as freely as these cells? Had he ever known what it was like to fully express himself, to be vulnerable, and allow others to see him as he truly was? Had he ever approached life with abandon, growing with each opportunity, until it was undeniable what his true purpose was on this Earth? Had he fearlessly fought for what he believed in? For his right, as well as his brother’s and sister’s, to flourish with hope and health?

Or was this tumor the body’s last resort to release an unlived life? Were we all here with a certain amount of life to live, rather than time? That if we didn’t take the opportunity to live, these tumor cells could get the next claim? Were these cells accomplishing something in their lives, that perhaps, we had never accomplished in our own? Was this tumor, this form of concentrated life, the end result of years unlived?

I looked at a beautiful tumor, and saw life that might be its own death.

I saw an urgency to live.

Want 15 free additional reads weekly, just our best?

Get our weekly newsletter.

Assistant Editor: Alicia Wozniak/Editor: Bryonie Wise

Photo: elephant archives


About Shadia Alam

Shadia Alam, M.D. is a board certified hematopathologist who, after having spent many years looking through the microscope, discovered she was more than the sum of her cells. She hopes through her work as a physician, certified wellness coach and blogger at Eos In Love to encourage and nurture positive change in her clients and patients, one cellular micro-Universe at a time.


9 Responses to “Beautiful Tumor. ~ Shadia Alam”

  1. emily says:

    I love to read it again and again… having survived a tragic car accident that leave me incomplete paraplegia is like these cells struggles and fight for survivals on daily life.

  2. David says:

    I hope one day to be able to embrace all that is, without judgment. But to find beauty even in a tumor is another thing altogether….quite a remarkable achievement!

  3. Shadia says:

    Emily, I'm so sorry to hear what you have been through! Yes, our cells do organize themselves to survive. Good luck to you.

  4. Shadia says:

    Thanks David. It took me by surprise as well…there is beauty in every living thing, if we look deep enough

  5. Judy says:

    You always have a beautiful way with words.
    I love the things you write.
    I print them and put them in a book.

  6. Karissa says:

    Well this is a new way to think of the tumor in my brain. What a beautiful piece.

  7. Shadia says:

    Karissa, so sorry to hear what you are going through! I know the perspective I take in my poem is unconventional. Many physicians who treat cancer talk about "fighting" it, or "killing" it, and I have seen how harmful this is to the patient because it promotes fear and a feeling that your body has turned against you. A broader spiritual perspective is to consider what the cancer is trying to teach you, to embrace the message with love and faith. This calms the nervous system down and strengthens the immune system, and may help recovery. My thoughts are with you on your journey and thank you for the comment.

  8. Tanaman hias says:

    I don't think that Tumor has beauty in any way.