Pectoriloquy |

Simple Cyst FREE TO VIEW

Gulchin A. Ergun, MD
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Editor’s Note: The author writes, “What doctor hasn’t told a patient they have a cyst, even one that needs a biopsy? We know most are benign, we tell them not to worry, but it’s not until you’re on the other end of a needle, you appreciate the real stab of worry. That jab inspired this poem. I am the Medical Director of the Reflux Center & Digestive Disease Department at The Methodist Hospital in Houston, and a Clinical Associate Professor of Medicine at Weill-Cornell Medical College and Baylor College of Medicine.”

Reproduction of this article is prohibited without written permission from the American College of Chest Physicians. See online for more details.

Chest. 2014;145(3):660. doi:10.1378/chest.13-1301
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A cyst, she said. Small, not much, but
come in for a better look. And I am surprised
by the spa approach of earth tones and green tea
with fluffy robes and dim lighting massaging the breast
as you stare at the ceiling with relaxing music
that doesn’t do its job.
Let’s aspirate the fluid. That’ll answer the question,
no one’s said out loud. Sure, I say, let’s get this done.
But stubborn sac won’t surrender the goods.
We should biopsy it.
Just roll on your side and I’ll numb the skin.
You will hear a sound.
Like a gun, I think and close my eyes. Click-pop bang, as skin so
innocent to alcohol, or iodine, or needles,
is stabbed again, and again, until the selfish cyst
collapses to the firing squad.
But a blood vessel retaliates and a little clip,
a staple marks the spot inside
while the rest of the breast
purples and oozes and bruises but is
taped with an X to keep it all together.
Just keep ice on it. Every 15 minutes until you go to sleep.
Like I have time to freeze my breast and sleep or
fear that it may not be so simple.
Because it’s never simple, is it?
It may be complicated.




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