1. Lundell, Dana PhD

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


What to Bring

A beloved backpack or sturdy,


organic-cotton cloth bag.


Comfortable, broken-in shoes.


A snack. A stash of non-GMO


dark chocolate with nuts


just for these emergencies.


Foam ear plugs: pink, blue, or orange.


It is their decibel rating that is key


to those critical moments of rest.


To shut out the beeping,


the drama, the news, or the future.


Something to read, sprinkled liberally


with easy pictures to feed tired eyes.


Something already crinkled and worn.


And certainly a bottle for water. To drink.


To replenish. For something else to do


for another two minutes outside the room.


To hold. A moist breeze for stale air.


Tissues. Your eyes will leak.


Loose change for broken vending


machines lit up after hours. Again,


a different thing to do on another floor.


A compass. Better yet, a GPS


to mark your place. You will get lost.


You will go to and from many places


that will leave indelible marks.


Kind words. For they will wash


her feet and raw bottom. You


will worship them. They


may be the only gowned ones


at 3:00 a.m. who look inside your leaky eyes


and say: She matters.


PJs, a wrap, or small blanket for those nights.


May you never leave her side.


Bring everything. Bring nothing.


You will never be prepared.


Dana Lundell, PhD, Program Director at Portland State University, writes that she is the primary caregiver for and the only child of her mother, who has terminal endometrial cancer. This is one of several poems and vignettes she has written about her caregiver experiences.

Dana Lundell, PhD. D... - Click to enlarge in new windowDana Lundell, PhD. Dana Lundell, PhD