Ultra Sounds Monday, November 28

I have been holding back on my own posts lately in order to highlight the received submissions. I intend now to resume my regular blogging, but you can always follow previous submissions through the menu item “Ultra Sounds Mondays Archive”.

Today’s epic prose poem is from Karin Gehm Barrett. Karin is both an ovarian and uterine cancer survivor herself and  also lost her father to pancreatic and liver cancer twelve years ago.

I like the stream of consciousness kind of approach Karin takes to summarize her experience. Her one long sentence gives you the feeling of a train out of control, which is what it can feel like in the crisis/diagnosis/treatment stages.

Just A Little Different

by Karin Gehm Barrett

My life as I knew it

Was there in front of me

Every day the same

But just a little different

Then one day there was a pain

There was a feeling of unease

Of being uncomfortable

Things were happening that were just a little different

My belly was huge and hard as a rock

A doctor visit

I expected to hear something simple

But instead

I was sent for a CT scan

Forced to drink that nasty stuff

Don’t they understand there is nowhere for it to go

I haven’t been able to eat for days

They take their pictures and I go home

The phone rings late that afternoon

Large abdominal mass and ascites she says

All I can think is, what is ascites, did she say mass?

What now?

Google it all

This can’t be?

Ovarian Cancer????

This was supposed to be gallstones or something

No one believes me that this is what this could be

It’s 5:30 on a Friday

Who do I call?

Days later I am sitting with an oncologist

Is this real?

What did he say?



No, not me, this has to be wrong

It’s not

You drain my belly each week for three weeks

Six liters of fluid each time

It looks like tap beer he says

I try not to laugh

There is a huge needle in my belly after all

It’s your birthday and you take me to be cut open

You walk me to the door

You kiss me and tell me you love me

I walk through the door

Down the hall

To the room where they all await my arrival

Why does that table look like a crucifix?

I lay down

They start to hook up my IV

I try to breathe slowly

I taste your kiss on my lips

I feel a tear slide down my cheek

God, I don’t want this to be the last thing I remember

It’s not

I awake the next day

Tube still down my throat

It has to stay in, they say

You lost a lot of blood, they say

Eight and a half hours in surgery

And four pints of blood, they say

And yes, they also say

It is cancer

We believe we got it all

Three tumors

The big one was blocking the two smaller ones

We didn’t see them on the scan

The next day they make me walk
There are staples

A lot of staples

From my belly button all the way down

You want me to walk?

Give me more drugs

Two days later they send me home

And just when I feel a little better

It is time for the poison

That first time

In a place called ‘The Infusion Center’

It sounds like a trendy night club

Sitting in my comfy recliner

The doctor talks to me

The nurse talks to me

The nutritionist talks to me

You sit and hold my right hand

My left hand is being stuck with a needle

We will go real slow the first time the nurse says

We will monitor every reaction

Is she monitoring my heart that is jumping out of my chest right now?

They start with saline

Then Benadryl

Than anti-nausea meds

And then

Then it is time

The first of the two poisons is hooked up

She unclamps the tube

There is this hot rush into my hand

Up my arm

Into my chest

I feel it in me

This can’t be real

But as I look up

I see right under my name on the IV bag

The poison symbol

Time goes slow

The Benadryl makes me sleepy

And antsy at the same time

He is stroking my hair now


How long before he can’t do this anymore

Next poison is hooked up

Getting the hang of it now

Just have to do this 5 more times

I can do this

My life as I now know it

Is there in front of me

Every day the same

But just a little different

One thought on “Ultra Sounds Monday, November 28

  1. Maggie says:

    Thank you so much to Karin for sharing her poem. She says “this can’t be real” and yet that’s what every line, every word feels like – so real, such courage in her questions.

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