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Poetry by Cancer Caregivers

Rudd, Virginia (Jennie) CRNA

doi: 10.1097/01.COT.0000430991.61421.7e
Figure. Vi

Figure. Vi

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.

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Invisible War

Battle lines are drawn; imaginary, but real. No country is spared in this fight for life, one at a time.

The enemy's name strikes fear in the very boldest of avengers. Whispered when spoken, as if taboo, or disguised with kinder words.

No soul can boast immunity, brave soldier or small child. Each may fall prey to the whelms of this cruel occupant.

Silently, the trespasser attempts control, creeping out of obscurity, eluding host defenses. Unheeded, multiplies and overwhelms.

Tiny assailants, huge advantage. Sailing in red rivers, Breaching borders, Defying detection.

No neutral zones or boundaries exist. To check these opponents, vigilantes need new recruits in the incessant quest for victory.

Our superheroes wear white coats, foregoing flashy capes and masks. Assorted medicinal ammunition Completes their arsenal of weapons.

Armed with research, combat begins. Syringes and bags dispense potent drops; Tactically delivered to volatile targets. Liquid projectiles racing to right the injustice.

The paradoxical mission of invisible rays and sharp swords; seeking to destroy opponents, attempting aid to those afflicted.

To all affected, the war is personal. Hope's light triumphs over dark despair. Faith prevails if hope is vanquished. Love makes this fight worthwhile.

Virginia (Jennie) Rudd, CRNA, is a former Oncology NP, working in Topeka, Kansas, at St. Francis Health Center, as well as an Army Reservist (mobilized to Iraq in 2008 and several stateside rotations). She writes that she admires all oncology professionals who dedicate their lives to cancer care and research.

“This poem is dedicated to two patients who died of leukemia. The first is a former nurse anesthetist classmate at Columbia School of Nursing, Alyssa-Jo Calio, CRNA, who left us in 2008, less than a year after becoming a CRNA. Alyssa was a class leader who was always available with a cheerful smile, homemade cookies, and a selfless attitude when asked to help teach others. Although Alyssa was diagnosed one year after starting the program, she persevered to finish just one semester later than her classmates.

“The poem is also dedicated to Madison ‘Madi’ Paige Frisbie, a brave 16-year-old girl, who died on April 19, 2013. She is the daughter of a work colleague. Madi was treated at Children's Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, and motivated many to dedicate time and money in support of leukemia research. She was also a talented artist and designed the tee shirts for one of the functions. She died so young, but inspired many people with her courage and sweet spirit.”

© 2013 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.
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