1. Johnson, Karen RNP-C

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Poetry by Cancer Caregivers

Submissions are welcome from oncologists, oncology nurses, and other cancer caregivers. E-mail only, please, to:, and include affiliation/title, address, and phone number, along with a photo, if available.

KAREN JOHNSON, RNP-C... - Click to enlarge in new windowKAREN JOHNSON, RNP-C, is Family Nurse Practitioner and Nurse Manager at Wood River Health Services, a community health center in Rhode Island, and a 15-year survivor of lymphoma.



Lying in my bed, it's warm


I stretch, thinking, turn over


For just a few more minutes.


Tea, warm, a beautiful brown


Thinking of a cup of tea


Gets me started in my day.


When I was a child,


Tea was for sick people


Tea with honey for sore throats.


Forgotten in my college years


Cast aside for coffee,


Coffee needed to keep going.


Coffee brings more energy


More energy than tea, addictive


I must combat fatigue.


Fatigue of life-fight back with coffee


One cup, then two, then twelve each day


Just to keep going.


Coffee to extract every bit of energy


From my cells, twelve cups every day


Why am I so tired?


Cancer, they said, serious, widespread


Chemotherapy, radiation


So tired, coffee no longer satisfies.


Twelve cups of coffee, so pitiful, so sad


A long missed diagnosis


What I did to just keep going!!


No more coffee!!


I don't like the memory of how I


Whipped my fatigued body.


Awakening now, stiff, sore, older


But cancer free


I take time for gratitude.


Morning tea, warm, comforting


Awakens my spirit gently


as I travel through my day.


Remembering morning tea


Remembering days of coffee


Treasuring these days of tea.