Fuck the Algorithm — A Wildfire Poem

I’m not defined by the cancer  
found in my right breast,  
or its reconstructed  
or when cancer was found  
again less than two years  
or by the six-year-old  
implant that ruptured and remained in my chest for  

I’m not defined by the scars  
from my surgeries,  
or the limited range-of 
motion in my arm because its  
lymph nodes were removed,  
or the darkened skin and  
tattoos left by radiation  
or the hair I lost that grew  
back wavy after chemo,  
or the unsteady hand that  
writes these words (hello,  

I’m not defined by the  
darkness that travels through  
my mind,  
or the moods and manic  
episodes that always catch  
me off-guard or the grief for  
my dreams before hearing:  
“it’s breast cancer,”  
or the 1,374 Instagram posts  
I’ve shared about living my  
breast life.  

I’m not defined by the figure  
I see in the mirror every day, 
or the 18 pounds of weight I  
gained after active treatment,  
or the creaky joints that are 
loudest when I’m rebuilding  
my strength at the gym,  
or the hot flashes that wake  
me up in the middle of the  
or the daily medication I take  
to prevent cancer.  

For as long as I’m breathing,  
I know I’m never just one  
thing – my truth is living in  
the complicated duality of  
it all.  

Each morning is a fresh start  
– a bonus day, to explore  
the labyrinth of life after  
cancer, to redefine the labels  
of this experience that don’t  
serve me.  

Each night, I cross the finish  
line and I come home to  
myself because I am worthy  
of peace.  

My body.  

My rules. 

Lindsey Baguio Gerhard — Writer. Diagnosed at 30 and 32. IDC, Stage II, ER+, PR+. Curious. Creative. Chatty. Lindsey is a storyteller, community organizer and homemaker. At 30 and 32 she was diagnosed with ER+ breast cancer and has been NED for three years. Her complicated health experiences include a mastectomy with immediate reconstruction, fertility preservation, a lumpectomy, ACT chemotherapy, 33 doses of radiation, Tamoxifen and a ruptured implant. Lindsey spent more than a decade as a journalist and social media content creator in Southern California. In 2019 she moved to Canada with her husband, David, who was recruited to work at an animation studio. Lindsey enjoys bike rides along the Ottawa River, hand-embroidering all the things, and celebrating milestones with Instagram dance parties. @thedailylindsey thedailylindsey.

This piece has been republished with permission from WILDFIRE Magazine, the “Body” issue, published originally June 12th, 2021. More information available at  wildfirecommunity.org    

WILDFIRE Magazine is the only magazine for young women survivors and fighters of breast cancer under 45 years old. Headquartered in Santa Cruz, California, WILDFIRE is a beautiful, story-based bi-monthly magazine published on different themes relevant to young women survivors, from stage 0 to stage IV. Beautiful and ad-free! Visit  wildfirecommunity.org for more info.

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