Our train starts to move slowly down well-traveled tracks. Sunny out,
clouds in the distance. We pick up speed.
We offer obligatory greetings,
courtesy How you feelings?
We both know why she's here
we defer that talk
as if deferring for a few minutes will make it easier.
The trackside turns to trash, human detritus, rusting hulks without utility.
I edge closer, negotiating perfunctory reviews--
her history, her physical, her labs, her imaging--
she owns them, they're hers alone.
Then it's time to enter the forbidden room of abnormals:
machine-made "shadows," the blood's "too highs."
Her cloak of woven fear lies quietly on her shoulders.
Melanie Di Stante
In 2000, my husband Brian was diagnosed with Stage IIIB Hodgkin lymphoma, which has since become a prominent part of our lives. My children and I belong to Gilda's Club, a cancer support community, and recently we were asked to help record a promotional video to be featured at a fundraising gala for the local chapter and on the club's website.
I'm not a "spotlight" kind of girl, and I don't feel drawn to video cameras or speeches, but I've been going to two Gilda's Club programs--a caregiver-support group, and a writing group--for nearly five years. Everyone is nurturing, supportive and so nice. My son Marco and daughter Gabriella also attend a group, where they do projects to help build resilience for kids impacted by cancer. It's priceless, and it's free.
If this is something I can do to give back, I thought, I'll do it. My kids were on board as well.
"Why do you want to go into family medicine?" my internal-medicine preceptor asked.
It was an innocent enough question. I'd known from day one of medical school what I wanted to do, so I answered with confidence, and perhaps a bit of a chip on my shoulder.
"I love being with people and getting to know them," I said. "I've always been this way, so it makes sense that's what I would do for my career. I'm looking forward to having the long-term relationships and seeing where they go."
A raised eyebrow, followed by his knowing Irish brogue: "I applaud that. My own father was a GP in Ireland. But I'm afraid you won't find much of that in one month on the wards. This will be a chance, however, to learn your medicine well."