Picture of Arnav AgarwalArnav Agarwal is an Internal Medicine Resident (R1) at the University of Toronto. Check back the last Thursday of each month for a new featured piece as part of his series (Doc Talks: Reflections to Reality)!


We sit on opposite sides
of the table,
meeting eye to eye,
yet far apart.

I sit cloaked in white,
patiently watching you
as you stare back through teary eyes,
asking more questions than having answers.

Your life is changed by a new diagnosis –
the initials “A-M-L” etching their mark
on every breath you take,
every uncertain word you speak:
everything your heart no longer lets you believe.

It is curious that
a few cells gone astray,
a mini musical chairs between two genes,
can change our lives forever.

I continue watching
as fears of the future flash across your eyes,
but you manage to bravely muster up a small smile:
to have faith in the cards you have been dealt.

I smile back, my hand outstretched to you
for all that separated us was a table,
a few rogue cells, a mini musical chairs –
and you could have been me.

Hand in hand,
we remain no longer separated
on opposite sides:
together, we move forward.