You came from nowhere, struck the first blow.
Sent me reeling, dazed with confusion.
Realising the fight was on, I stumbled to my feet.
You had the upper hand, the element of surprise,
but this was a battle of attrition I wouldn't allow you to win.
Knowing I would soon be weakened by your attack,
I armed myself with my trusted weapon, knowledge.
The battleground was unfamiliar;
corridors, waiting rooms, hospital beds.
I had an army of supporters, both trained fighters, and novices like me.
They didn't understand my lack of fear,
but I was focussed on the job at hand.
The first fight was just to get to know you:
Poke, scan, stab, slice, find out what you can.
Now I've got you figured, you bastard:
Prepare for full attack.
The battle begins.
I fill my blood with poisons to flush you out,
needle after needle.
The first night you take me to despair;
pain, vomit and tears. I will get no rest.
The next few days are still.
We are both surprised by the power of the attack.
Your next blow is to my confidence, hair falling out in clumps.
I take control, shave it off.
I look like a warrior but I feel exposed.
You win this fight, my insecurities grow.
Five long months we fight like this,
blow for blow.
I am weakening your powers and you weaken mine.
I am tired of this fight and so are you.
What is left of you is sliced away.
I start to heal, stitches melt away,
I grow stronger, ready for the final battle.
You left no visible trace but I must be sure.
I receive my tribal tattoos:
An initiation process that marks me forever as a survivor of this war.
Technology is my final friend; blasting you with radiowaves.
Waiting, discomfort, lead and lasers, my daily rituals.
Relief sets in.
I am exhausted.
I have no fight left but I have won the war.
You took my health, I kept my head.
You attacked my family, but bonds grew stronger.
You ruined my social life, but friendships blossomed.
You robbed me of the naive immortality of youth.
You gave me the gift of truly appreciating life.