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Poetry by Cancer Caregivers

Lutwin, Lynn RN, OCN, MA, CBCN

doi: 10.1097/01.COT.0000431872.91777.5e
Lynn Lutwin, RN, OCN, MA, CBCN

Lynn Lutwin, RN, OCN, MA, CBCN

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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We walk into the room, the dog and I.

There is often anticipation, joy, excitement, Sometimes fear.

There may be tears, a remembrance of a lost pet, A fear of dying and leaving loved ones alone.

The dog knows what to do though.

She lays her muzzle on a chest or arm, brings comfort, some normalcy To an uncertain future.

How does the dog sense that time is short?

Does she smell the specter of death?

Does she see the sallow skin, the bruises like a patchwork on their arms?

No matter; when she is there, magic is in the air.

It is as though the dog is saying, “Give me your bitterness and I will exchange it for love. Give me your pain and I will make it into a yielding putty that we can toss like a ball into the yard.”

LYNN LUTWIN, RN, OCN, MA, CBCN, is Director of Breast Care Connection at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick, NJ. She notes that she has been writing poetry since childhood, and was recently the editor of the Breast Care Special Interest Group Newsletter for the Oncology Nursing Society. She also currently blogs for ONS Traveling Companions (

© 2013 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.
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