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The News Is Bleak and Then It Gets Worse
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The News Is Bleak and Then It Gets Worse

For more than a year, the pain and restricted movement in my jaw are diagnosed as a common joint disorder, but a loss of hearing changes everything.
PUBLISHED February 24, 2016
As a psychologist specializing in clinician-patient communication, Greg has worn a few hats: university professor, associate dean, foundation executive and independent consultant. Diagnosed in January 2014 with high-grade carcinoma of the head and neck, he underwent extensive surgery, chemotherapy and radiation treatment over the next five months. He and his wife Suzanne reside in Connecticut and are profoundly grateful to all the oncology professionals, staff and survivors who treat and support them.
The doctor’s eyes, nearly frozen in place
Cast downwards, fixed, and distorting his face
Today it seems I’m an interesting case
 
Three weeks ago he examined my ear
And ordered tests with a note, brief and clear
Three weeks too long to be waiting in fear
 
The news is bleak and the reason unknown
Were prior tests opportunities blown?
And so we learn that a tumor has grown
 
The mass is large, it’s been there for some time
But ones like this are so often benign
A surgeon thinks that I could do just fine
 
The stakes are high as I get on the table
Reposing there, acting brave, but unstable
The needle sharp and the doctors quite able
 
The fluids drawn, to the surgeon we go
Whatever’s best, I am sure he will know
The images shown on his screen, what a blow
 
The next few days we await and prepare
The process slow, the pathology rare
The lab confirms a malignancy there
 
The shock strikes hard, a mind-body attack
But hope endures, helps us take a new tack
It’s time to breathe, forge a plan and strike back
 
As time goes by, the consensus complete
Advanced, high grade and a challenge to treat
I wonder still, can this cancer be beat?
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