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High-Risk Disease: Neither Here Nor There
May 26, 2016 – Gregory Carroll, PhD
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High-Risk Disease: Neither Here Nor There

A poem about anxiety when facing high-risk cancer.
PUBLISHED May 26, 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.
A psychic shuttlecock
batted back and forth
over the same familiar court.
Flying straight on a hurried path,
losing momentum, then rerouted abruptly
in an entirely new direction.
 
So my mind scatters.
Darting toward a forbidden future
too dark and murky to grasp.
Flashing to perils past,
still smoldering with sadness.
Pausing in the uncertainty of the present.
 
Distracted and preoccupied,
my mind refuses to stay
in this moment or any other.
It wanders and wobbles.   
Neither here nor there, it is everywhere.
It dreads the next procedure,
adrift in the possibilities. 
It hopes to live. 
It lives to hope.
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