Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Reflections of Autumn - and Cancer

I took a long walk through the crisp forests of Missouri last weekend, marveling at the bronze and yellow-gold giants of autumn. They towered over me, lightly swaying in the October breeze as I tramped along. Fall is especially a poignant time for me, and not just because of the pleasure of scanning the brilliant countryside stained with color. No, this season also reminds me of my profession. It announces the death of summer - the slow transformation of green life into dark, skeletal corpses. This allegory is familiar to the oncologist, who all too often sees the same change in his patients. As I stepped on a vast carpet of fallen oak leaves I continued the metaphor. These leaves, which once shimmered in the blue dome of a hot July afternoon, now rested quietly on the forest floor. Could any cancer specialist not see the obviously painful comparison? What do we do with such a gloomy conceit on a sunny October day?

What I did was to consider my patients, some doing well, some struggling to live, and wondered how many of them would soon, like the scene before them, float downward from life and lie on the shady hillside, joining the limitless pile. I recalled that leaves are delightful when turning color, but once on the ground they are either a nuisance to be raked, or to be crushed by the boot on the way home. They are forever forgotten - who ever remembers on which branch they hung? Upon this reflection, I saw the contrast. The lives of my patients were more memorable than that of these trees. Their lives touched other lives - including mine. To each who was in my care I mouth a promise: "I will not forget you."

My time in the woods is therefore a lovely sorrow, a walk filled with thoughts about the beauty of the afternoon and of the disease that pervades this time of year. I suddenly have a vision of an empty chair placed in the midst of this dense forest, waiting to rest a weary traveler. Many have found an end to their suffering by stopping here. Today I walk on, through the timbers and into the meadows beyond. I know the chair remains in the woods, among the dead leaves. Perhaps someday my journey will lead to it. Until then the work and the daydreams of the oncologist carry on.

22 Comments:

At 5:22 PM, Blogger Nurse Mia said...

Beautiful posting. I almost felt the peace of that walk on the fallen leaves with you. Don't forget how much children love to jump and play among the piles of fallen leaves and how much many of us love the smell of the leaves crushing beneath our feet. The cycle of life can be as beautiful as that colorful autumn hillside at times.

 
At 3:37 PM, Blogger Graeme said...

A nice poem on the same theme is Gerard Manley Hopkins's "Spring and Fall" (at http://www.bartleby.com/122/31.html, for example).

 
At 9:40 AM, Blogger jon said...

I was looking at your posts about american cancer society and found a good article about the same american cancer society info too...

God luck with it : )

 
At 9:49 AM, Blogger jon said...

I was looking at your posts about cancer institute national and found a good article about the same cancer institute national info too...

God luck with it : )

 
At 8:48 AM, Blogger cerulean resources said...

Looking for prostate cancer symptom information I came across this post. I totally agree with you and would feel the same way!

jon

 
At 8:56 AM, Blogger cerulean resources said...

Searching for cancer cure treatment and information I found this post. I totally agree with you and think it takes time!

 
At 10:27 AM, Blogger Tom Naka said...

You have a great blog here! I will be sure to book mark you. I have a low cost health insurance pa
site. It pretty much covers low cost health insurance pa
related stuff. Check it out if you get time :-)

 
At 11:27 PM, Blogger Jack Naka said...

Hi, I was just blog surfing and found you! If you are interested, go see my beauty salon denver related site. It pretty much covers beauty salon denver stuff. I guess you may find something of interest.

 
At 7:07 PM, Blogger Mandy said...

Hello there!...on my travels I found your blog, not bad at all... If you are interested, go see my stop hair loss related site. nothing fantastic but it's all I got!..lol

 
At 11:18 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There are many so called alternative therapies for cancer testicle many of which I dont think actually do anything unless they are able to control the mind as well which has huge healing potential. I think most issues relating to cancer testicle can be accommofdated to some degree with these altenative therapies but I would not let it be my only treatement in the fight against cancer.

 
At 11:36 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cancer cures will not be fully successful until we have finally cracked the full DNA coding. Discussing cancer throat issues such as your blog is a great information resource. Great information on cancer throat can also be located at this web site.

 
At 8:27 AM, Blogger Mandy said...

Nice little blog you have here, if you'd like a look at my hair loss remedy related site, feel free...if you need hair loss remedystuff that is.

 
At 10:47 PM, Blogger amacdrummer said...

If you need cancer stomach symptom info... Go to this cancer stomach symptom site : cancer stomach symptom

 
At 11:00 PM, Blogger amacdrummer said...

Nice breast cancer inflammatory blog... Check out this breast cancer inflammatory site.

 
At 7:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, you have a great blog here! I'm definitely going to bookmark you!

I have a american cancer society site. It pretty much covers american cancer society related stuff.

Come and check it out if you get time :-)

-----------------------------------------------------

 
At 7:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, you have a great blog here! I'm definitely going to bookmark you!

I have a cancer resource site. It pretty much covers cancer resource related stuff.

Come and check it out if you get time :-)

-----------------------------------------------------

 
At 11:59 PM, Blogger Webmaster said...

Saw your info on natural hair loss products and I have a hair losssite too that has products for women and men. Check it out.

 
At 5:03 AM, Blogger Mandy said...

What a nice blog, ...better than mine.!!..lol... perhaps you may like my hair loss remedy related site, if you’re into hair loss remedy that is.

 
At 5:51 AM, Blogger Editor said...

Hey, you have a great blog here! I'm definitely going to bookmark you!

I have a cancer site. It pretty much covers Cancer related stuff.

Come and check it out if you get time :-)

 
At 6:12 AM, Blogger Editor said...

Hey, you have a great blog here! I'm definitely going to bookmark you!

I have a asbestos lung cancer site. It pretty much covers Cancer related stuff.

Come and check it out if you get time :-)

 
At 10:26 PM, Blogger Webmaster said...

Nice blog on cause of male hair loss. I've got one too onhair loss solutions I like blogger.com, don't you? Prof sites in minutes, cool!

 
At 10:52 PM, Blogger websoftware said...

Hi: Just came across your blog. Intersting post and good looking site. I'm definitely going to visit again! I recently set up a new website just about **San Diego plastic surgery** There are a lot of interesting plastic surgery/cosmetic articles. So, if you have an interest in San Diego cosmetic surgery please stop by and let us know how we can improve the site.

Thanks
Judi

 

Post a Comment

<< Home