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Dan J Schmidt

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Member Since: Nov, 2007

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knowing self
by Dan J Schmidt
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Rated "PG13" by the Author.
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Recent poems by Dan J Schmidt
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I have been fighting cancer
For twenty years or so now.
My mothers breast was removed
Long before that and my uncles
Colon killed him when I was
Fondling girls breasts and wanting
More. But Grandpa died quick
From his, all this just family
Well before my fight started.

It might have been in Medical School
That haphazard choice of comfort
Without knowing self when I put on
Those twenty pounds so easily laid
Onto study when it's the lack of
Personal awareness, self/ not self
That lets it start to grow.

We were taught the mathematics
Of living organisms with a hundred million
Cells dividing daily, there's gotta be
A few bad ones each hour but our
Immune system sees these foul mistakes
And eliminates the seeds of the crab
Knowing them for something foreign.

Then my childless sisters breast
Killed her when I was well
Into my practice with four
Little children who have
Faint memories of her short
Powerful solemn body and the tight
Grip on this world she let go of
So easily once the
Cards were laid out.

I would come home from the
Busy all day office and my alert wife
Would notice(before even I did)
How I would shit right away
Having held in all that day
The powerful expression of unself
That needed to be flushed.
My immune system was doing it's best
But my will was strong.

So I worried about the twenty pounds
And lost them, proud to be stronger and
Wiser than those whiners who couldn't
Overcome their burdens and my pride
Grew slowly inside, a deadly sin.

I remember the colleague who shared the
Story of finding an eight cm.
Cecal mass in an loyal patient
After his diligent exploration, and I felt
A slap
On the cheek, like I should have known.
At the time I thought it was because
I thought I could do better, my pride,
But the feeling of a slap on the face
Is more personal than that.

In my last year of practice
Struggling with the worth of this job
And my own sense of how it didn't
Fit myself, my needs, my person,
I diagnosed with care and accuracy
And the simple office tools of a
Family doctor
Three cases of rectal or colon cancer
And saw the people struggle and
Survive or die as the invasion was
More than poison or surgery
Could extirminate so they could return
To their whole simple selves again.

When I quit with no sense of
Direction or purpose, just a gnawing
Feeling that this wasn't right and the
Hospital nurse asked me in a friendly way,
"Why? Are you sick? Do you have cancer?"
I had to smile and say honestly
"Not that I know of".

I vow to keep up the fight.
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