However, underneath many of the t-shirts are chemotherapy ports and surgical scars, below the hats are bald heads and behind the smiles are fears, memories and young lives impacted by cancer. Yet walking through
and for the third time my grandfather grabs the bottle of sparkling cider
and for the third time it is empty and for the third time his face falls
of all the things to forget this is not the saddest
he forgets how the trees are laid out in the woods behind his house,
forgets whether he took his pills in the morning, forgets to protect
If I wake up in the middle of the night, that’s what time it will be, give or take 15 minutes: 4 a.m. No matter what the season, it’s dark at that time of night, it’s lonely, even the cats are snoring. If a window is open, I can hear if an owl, a coyote or, rarely, a whippoorwill or chuck-will’s-widow is crying into the night. If it’s a warm autumn night, I can hear
All through November he prayed, “Please God, help this pain, and please help me find out what is wrong so I can heal.”
Through December: “Please God, when I see the doctor, don’t let it be cancer. And I beg you to please help this pain.”
In January and February his prayer changed to, “Please God, let the chemotherapy and radiation work.”
She hadn’t been able to talk for several days. I don’t know what robbed my mom of her speech. Was morphine the culprit, with its ability to dull both mind and body? Did sheer exhaustion from laboring over each breath leave her too tired to talk? Or maybe her pain was so severe that she could not give voice to its intensity. But what she couldn’t speak with words, she
“Use the room over there,” she said, pointing towards the closed door to my right and handing me a clear, plastic cup with blue-twist top. “When you’re done, open the slot behind you, place the sample and close the slot door.”
It’s opening day at my cancer hospital. First peek into my innards is a urine sample, checking for protein. Too much excreted protein may signal kidney disease,
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–
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