1. Meyskens, Frank L. Jr., MD

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Figure. Frank L. Mey... - Click to enlarge in new windowFigure. Frank L. Meyskens, Jr., MD

The Single Sob

When cancer visits your universe, a companion feared, not wanted.


After the shock and disbelief, silence the redoubt most often taken.


And the journey of cuts, drugs, big machines, touchstones to your presence on this earth.


On this battlefield and beyond the tears flow and flow, quite unexpectedly.


And the loneliness, an innocent prisoner in a solitary cell, a survivor's hope, when hope is in short supply.


Believing in miracles, because that is all that remains, talking to me about your dreams.


My eyes glisten as you struggle to continue not wanting to disappoint me, your protector.


A single sob from within belies the pain, the grief, your journey.


Life Panel

The sickness has revisited a body wracked, invaded unremitting, day and night.


Life ebbs, the verdict in.


All systems and technology failing maxed out with morphine and wonder drugs vital juices no longer flowing.


Desperate and despondent for hope.


Who should be the jury no controversy or doubt that the end is near.


The last great act of living now.


Life closing, shadows abound


Decisions made by a life panel, the one most loved who will loosen the rope and send me home.


FRANK L. MEYSKENS, JR., MD, is the Daniel G. Aldrich, Jr. Endowed Chair and Professor of Medicine, Biological Chemistry and Public Health; Vice Dean of the School of Medicine; and Director Emeritus of the Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center of the University of California, Irvine. He is a member of OT's Editorial Board, and it was his suggestion to include poetry as a regular feature.


A collection of his poems, Aching for Tomorrow, is available from Fithian Press, 800-662-8351, All author's royalties are contributed to the Meyskens Patient Care Fund (for nonmedical expenses) of the Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center.