The Cost of Living
by Candice Tucker
Needles in, drains out
Try not to cry; try not to shout
Breathe. Don’t breathe. The testing is almost done
More blood tests to confirm the reality you can’t escape from
The treatment may kill you and the side effects are grave
In goes the toxins...Don’t worry! Be brave!
We’ve almost cured you but not before
We introduce you to the porch surrounding Death’s door
You’re in remission! You’re so lucky!
Now let’s talk about late effects; some can be yucky
You’ll be trapped in a body that you’re not sure is yours
But that’s the price we pay these days for cures
You have organ damage and won’t bear children of your own
But you’re a survivor! Don’t piss and moan!
Also, here’s the bill...yeah, living is very expensive
Hey, you didn’t die! Don’t get defensive
Also you get to enjoy the luxury of constant fear
That the remission won’t last, that your marrow won’t remain clear
Now get out there survivor; put on a brave face!
And endure those side effects, debt, and crippling fear of relapse with grace
Candice 'Nikki' Tucker is a board certified physician assistant who works in Pediatric Oncology. She has long been a poet but truly saw the value in it when she began to face her own health challenges and needed an outlet for expression. She continues to write as an outlet and to document what is the emotional roller coaster that is her clinic work as she sees the most glorious victories and most devastatingly tragic losses on a daily basis.