Pectoriloquy |


Deborah Lawrence
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Editor’s Note: Deborah Lawrence teaches 3rd grade in Michigan and was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma at 24. “I am cancer free and have been for 15 years. I had never taken the time in the blur of my treatment to write what I needed to say about cancer. It is part of me and I am proud to be part of the community of survivors.”

Reproduction of this article is prohibited without written permission from the American College of Chest Physicians (www.chestpubs.org/site/misc/reprints.xhtml).

© 2010 American College of Chest Physicians

Chest. 2010;137(6):1483. doi:10.1378/chest.09-1971
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I can’t write about you.
You took my 20s.
You threatened dreams of children.
I did drugs because of you. Not my choice.
Changed my identity. Not by design.
Broke my family’s hearts. Broke promises, plans, futures.
It has been 15 years, and you are still on my mind.
You whisper to me when I least expect it.
You’re there reminding me of the fear I still face–of what new form you may take.
Are you sleeping?
Or just waiting?
Why is your grip so long-lasting? So far-reaching?
Is it possible to make myself sick with worry?
You are gone–but not gone.
A brush against my cheek and I find you.
A long kiss from my love and I find you.
You have robbed me of much. You are a thief and a tyrant.
I rack my brain to find a way to block you out.
Maybe the answer is this.
Maybe the answer is to write. Write you out of me.




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