Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Tears and melanoma...they're not always sad...

Rosie was assigned...."Write a poem in a voice other than your own."  I think she chose mine...

Melanoma Muse

They wheedle
and complain-
How tired they
are today!
Eyes lowered,
shoulders clutched,
a slight cough,
a muscle cramp.
I do not doubt the
they have a cold,
they are in pain.

They have no experience
of the realm hurt,
where standing alone is
Yet still
I hope a stubbed toe,
a bout of flu,
is the worst they
have been dealt.

When I see a doctor,
(And I am not the doctor for
            someone else)
I wait in a room
by comparison,
I am in the best of health.


She knows me well.  We have often spoken of the weird world I feel I inhabit.  Rather....I spoke...she listened.  It is strange to seem to be the sickest, and alternately the most healthy person, in the room at odd times.  Like the time I had to step out of a room in the middle of a patient's exam, to take a call from my doctor who told me that, "Yes, the tumor in your lung came back positive for melanoma."  I was expecting the call that day, that is why my phone was on. And...I pretty much knew that was what he was going to say.  But....that didn't change the dry mouth, the lump in my throat.  I returned to the room and finished the exam.  I do not feel that the cute little 8 year old with strep throat was in any less need of care than myself.  But...it was still weird.  Weird to be trying to get a perfectly healthy, albeit overweight, 16 year old to exercise...just a little...fully aware that when YOU run...which you do...your right side and arm burn like fire from all the surgeries, subsequent nerve damage, and scars.  I just want them to be the most happy, healthy kid they can be.  I don't matter.  Then....I go to the doctor.  It was even more dramatic when I saw a general oncologist or surgeon.  I felt that the waiting bald, wheelchair bound, frail, cachexic folks were always thinking, "Poor thing.  She still looks good, has all her hair and everything.  She has no idea what she's in for!"  OR..."'Wow!  That's cool!  Somebody made it!!  If that girl can do it...I can, too!  She made it through.  She looks strong...hair grew back... I can do this!"

Melanoma doesn't fit the "cancer" mold.  I don't look like a "lung cancer" or "brain tumor" patient...though I have been both.  There is no traditional chemo.  There is [mostly] no baldness.  Skin cancer can't be THAT bad, can it?  I have a charm on my bag that carries my gear from room to room...otoscope, ear currettes, ophthalmoscope head....that says, "STUPID CANCER!"  People understand that one.  Very few ever suspect it applies to me.  And...that's ok.

 We all have our baggage.  We all have our scars.  Some are visible.  Some are not. I have been lifted up at times I didn't believe it was possible.  I hope I have paid it forward. Yet, I am changed.  For better?  For worse?  I guess time and those who know me will be the judge.  But, I have changed a poet.  And that.....gives me pause.

I love my girl.  Mommy     

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