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Turning Point

Amy P

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Here is a poem from Turning Point, an organization in Kansas City that helps individual deal with life altering diseases. I will include the link to the website - http://www.turningpointkc.org/sharinghope.asp

There are also some good resources on how to talk to kiddos about cancer etc. that might be helpful.

This poem will be included in a book of poems and short stories all written by survivors! Enjoy!

Well, It's Like This

Cancer came into my life when

I was most vulnerable, having loss after loss,

When I was working hard to integrate my mind, body, and spirit.

It came to me when the sun shone brightly and I was able to surrender,

When I was the strongest in the family,

When I least expected it.

Living with cancer is like

Riding a rollercoaster, dancing in limbo, walking a tightrope.

It's like waiting for the other shoe to drop,

Like a weight on my shoulders, like a heartache.

It's like university, a school for higher learning,

Where I wait for the next discovery, the unknown unfolding before me.

It's like living with a deadline reminding me to enjoy my life before it s too late.

It reminds me of

A long journey that requires stamina,

A board game with checkpoints, mile markers, a visible destination, and hidden explosions

along the way.

It reminds me of life's uncertainty, of love and hope, of a challenge, of my precious life.

Of mortality.

Cancer has brought me

More good than bad, an opportunity to prioritize, a greater appreciation of life.

It has brought me anger and fear and stress,

Hope and understanding,

Joy and more love than ever before.

It has brought self-discovery, cultivated insight, and

The ability to see my life differently.

And I have learned

More than I wanted to know about myself,

About my inner resources and about receiving support from others,

About how to live with cancer, sometimes alone.

I have learned that I am tougher than I thought,

That a cancer experience doesn't mean my life is over.

I have learned patience, forgiveness, and how to be still welcoming the calmness of spirit, to

be fully present in the moment.

To enjoy myself.

I have learned to live.

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Hi, Amy and thanks! Yes, I looked you up after I signed off. I thought you were the patient; I didn't realize it was your mom. It sounds like your mom has a wonderful survivor story.

I printed the poem and am going to leave it on the table for hubby to read in the morning. I have read it about 12 times and I think he could identify with it and don't think it will upset him. I have to kind of tiptoe around him. He gets upset easily if there's much reference to his stamina or how he's feeling. I think this poem, though, is really, really good, so I'm going to show it to him.

Thanks again, and it was nice talking to you in chat. Well be in touch again. Now, I really DO have to get to bed. LOL



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Buy some henna and tattoo it on him while he sleeps...or drop it in his lunch...or in his briefcase (or if he doesn't have a briefcase, put it in his briefs! lol)...on his car seat...

...and when you do that, make sure you leave the web address where Amy found it on the page so he can "surf" there some time when he needs another "fix".

Mr. Peggy needs to know there are others that feel as he does, going through the same thoughts, the same fears...

Oh hell, tape it on your shoe and kick him in the butt, for me! :wink:



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It's not that I think the poem is bad, I don't (though I am a ceative writing teacher and I would probably critique it heavily if it were submitted in a higher level course, ha--and will admit that there are some excellent lines)--it's just that the poem does not speak to me, a person with cancer. I dont know why but it seems to me like someone who is writing about what it seems like it would be like to have cancer. Even though it may well have been written by someone with cancer--maybe not stage IV cancer, it doesn't, to me, reach the depth of feelings that I have. Neither the good nor the bad.

I don't know why it doesn't speak to me. Maybe I expect too much from poetry. If someone gave it to me to read, I would be kinda mad and feel like "Here we go again--this is what is supposed to feel like...." I dont doubt for one moment that what your husband is experiencing is VASTLY different from what I am experiencing or anyone. I guess if a perfect world, we would each write our own poem of having cancer. But it, too, would change from day to day and maybe hour to hour.

I guess have him read it if he is the kind of person who likes to discuss things, but if not, maybe not.

On the other hand, it may be that he needs something to help him to open up and this might be it. Has this kind of thing worked in the past as to other things in life?

I am going to suggest to you a book of poems by Raymond Carver who died of lung cancer in his mid-fifities. Raymond Carver was a working man who wrote on the sly until his late thirties when he became the most influential American writer of the last half of the 20th century. He wrote about cancer in a way that to me speaks volumes--from his heart to mine, from his gut to mine. I will look tonight and find a poem of his and post it to see what you think.


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I think the poem was written by someone going through breast cancer - just a thought, I haven't researched it.

I don't think that breast cancer is as "desperate" a disease as lung cancer, statistics aren't as glum, etc. The poem seems rather light at times, written from the point of someone expecting a full physical recovery - anyhow, that's MY opinion.

I think a true poem on lung cancer would be a bit bleaker, but would still have that ray of hope through it - we all cling to that.

- and we all know that we have learned some very hard lessons while dealing with this disease. Those lessons may not be what we've wanted to learn, but now we KNOW the dread, the paralyzing fear, the despair...and the love, and the hope....and the NEED to LIVE.

Maybe someday I'll write an essay for you to critique...LOL...and maybe I won't! :wink: When my brain is functioning, the juices just flow right to the tips of my fingers and onto the screen.

Take care - and don't interfere with that butt-kickin'! Geesh! :shock:

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Ok, girlfriends, I've had my bath and ready to crawl into bed, but made one last check before going that direction.

My final decision is this - I'm not going to leave the poem for him to read.

Elaine, my husband is NOT a talker, especially not about anything deep, and yes, I hadn't thought about it, but he doesn't appreciate anybody ever trying to tell him how he feels or asking him how he feels. He loves my niece dearly - I mean she is one of his favorites and he about bit her head off quite a while back when she asked him how he was feeling about all this. I usually never "correct" my husband (it's way too painful), but I did speak to him about that afterward. She was just trying to be sweet and show interest. He told me he just feels like everybody's looking at him and trying to get inside his head. I told him that I knew it hurt her feelings and he felt bad, but he should have on that occasion.

Anyway, when I really think about him reading it, and knowing the way he is, I think there's a possibility that instead of helping, it would just tick him off -neither he nor I need that right now.

Elaine, I would LOVE to read those poems. I'm not one of those that really understands some poetry, so if it's deep stuff, it will probably be over my head, but I would still like to give it a try. Thanks for offering, and I will try to find that book at the library.

Good night all. Love and hugs and kisses and all that gooshy stuff.


P.S. Becky, I might be afraid to correct him or cross him because he has a much sharper tongue than I do, but I'm not afraid to kick him because I know he won't kick back. LOL

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Okay, here is one of the poems: I am sobbing, but that's just me, I hope:

What The Doctor Said

He said it doesn't look good

he said it looks bad in fact real bad

he said I counted thirty-two of them on one lung before

I quit counting them

I said I'm glad I wouldn't want to know

about any more being there than that

he said are you a religious man do you kneel down

in forest groves and let yourself ask for help

when you come to a waterfall

mist blowing against your face and arms

do you stop and ask for understanding at those moments

I said not yet but I intend to start today

he said I'm real sorry he said

I wish I had some other kind of news to give you

I said Amen and he said something else

I didn't catch and not knowing what else to do

and not wanting him to have to repeat it

and me to have to fully digest it

I just looked at him

for a minute and he looked back it was then

I jumped up and shook hands with this man who'd just given me

something no one else on earth had ever given me

I may have even thanked him habit being so strong

Ok, it's probably too sad for most people. But it really struck me because I also remember thanking the Dr and also saying "I'm sorry" like I was trying to comfort HIM for having to tell me.... Believe me, I showed ten times the compassion and politeness toward him than he did toward me. I still can't get over that....

Ok I am feeling guilty, so I am posting another poem that seems more hopeful. Remember he was stage IV. Anyway, this poem reminds me of DeanCarl and a few moments I have had, too.


So early it's still almost dark out.

I'm near the window with coffee,

and the usual early morning stuff

that passes for thought.

When I see the boy and his friend

walking up the road

to deliver the newspaper.

They wear caps and sweaters,

and one boy has a bag over his shoulder.

They are so happy

they aren't saying anything, these boys.

I think if they could, they would take

each other's arm.

It's early in the morning,

and they are doing this thing together.

They come on, slowly.

The sky is taking on light,

though the moon still hangs pale over the water.

Such beauty that for a minute

death and ambition, even love,

doesn't enter into this.

Happiness. It comes on

unexpectedly. And goes beyond, really,

any early morning talk about it.

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