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Poetry by Cancer Caregivers

Steinberg, Amir MD, FACP

doi: 10.1097/01.COT.0000431579.14337.ff


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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The Stubborn One

There once was a patient from Yonkers

Who loved to drive our staff bonkers

He always threatened leaving

Causing his wife's grieving

His cancer she hopes he conquers

He did not let us draw morning labs

And often threw at us verbal jabs

Eventually he'd consent

We were shocked he'd relent

Of course we knew he was keeping tabs

We really urged him to stick around

To get his meds to be safe and sound

But if he did not stay

There's not more we could say

He was extremely stubborn we found

When his white cells began climbing up

He wanted some wine to have a cup

He was high as a kite

The news was out of sight

He became as gentle as a pup

He listened to everything said?

Since he was not going to be dead?

His discharge was coming

He began succumbing

His stubborn tendencies he had shed

You see the Stubborn One is no more

He is a gentle man to the core

But when death seems so near

And there is palpable fear

Our dear Stubborn One comes to the fore

AMIR STEINBERG, MD, FACP, is Assistant Professor of Medicine at Tisch Cancer Institute at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City, in the hematologic malignancies/stem cell transplantation group in the division of hematology-oncology. He notes that this poem, a limerick, was inspired by interactions with a patient undergoing a stem cell transplant.

© 2013 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.
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