University of British Columbia
Class of 2017
This spoken word was written after the death of a friend as a reflective means to express the feelings and questions one might have coming from a medical background and frame of mind. In particular, the poem explores how medicine, religion, and poetry itself may be part of one’s search for closure, but also how closure may not always be found.
Medical School is where i learned that:
The Key To Self-Care As A Professional Physician Is In Practicing The Art Of Self-Reflection.
but in my sleeplessness i’m tired of staring at my
over the place,
unable to write, my fingers only finding the broken keys
like the way i can break up the smile in a simile
it amounts to a mountain of imagery but at the summit’s summary,
i find myself saying nothing. i should have said something.
how can you heal someone when you are part of the disease?
she knew, she must have known that
deep down we are all children reaching with dirty hands to grasp the cookie jar,
earnestly longing for more ice cream before we have to go home
where Our Father is.
Peggy Cumming, is a wife, mother, grandmother of 6, sister, niece, cousin and friend, as well as a teacher - retired after 34 years in the classroom - and an athlete.
In 1985, when I was diagnosed with breast cancer, the disease was private and hushed. Other than a campaign for SBE (Self Breast Exam) there was no publicity or awareness. Feeling ashamed and embarrassed, and thinking that I had somehow caused this, I kept my diagnosis secret and silent from all but a very few close friends. After my treatment, my fears and feelings were repressed and locked, and I got on with my life, my family, my career and my health.
Twelve years later, I was one of the founding members of the Busting Out dragon boat program, and suddenly I was surrounded by other survivors and the steadily growing ‘Pink Ribbon Culture’! I found kindred sisters in these women, and my deeply secreted feelings found an outlet and an expression. My silence was broken, and relief came flooding in.
This year, when I finally accepted the ‘highly suspicious for Lung Cancer' report, I realized that I would not, and could not, be secret and silent about my disease. Learning from experience, I was concerned for my mental health as much as for my physical health ...continue reading →