Holding Pattern

One month ago today was my last chemo treatment, and I received my first post chemo check up today with my wonderful oncologist, Dr. Jacqueline Vuky. She was pleased with all of my blood work and pleased to hear me report that after a rough patch (more vertigo, a surprise root canal), I was feeling pretty normal. Or what we now refer to as “the new normal.”

Slowly but surely, she expects me to feel like my old self again, more or less. At the very least, I won’t be feeling like I did when I wrote this poem, smack dab in the middle of chemo.

I’ve found it very difficult to write in prose form during this whole ordeal, but occasionally I’ve been able to express myself in poetry. I wrote this one when I was suffering greatly from CIFOMO (Cancer Induced Fear of Missing Out), so it’s not the most cheerful of pieces, but it is was how I felt, no holding back.

As I adjust to my new normal, I hope I’ll be able to write more about this experience, good and bad. I have a feeling I’ll be processing this crap for a long time.


Oh garden,

You grow and grow and grow.

Your haphazard abundance,

Is almost an affront.

All those years I toiled,

And fretted bad design,

Were for nothing.

You are fruitful and multiply quite nicely,

As I hobble around in a headscarf and housedress.

Useless, but, who knew?

It doesn’t matter anyway.

You are gorgeous, little garden,

Swaying in the breeze under the perfect blue sky.

The bees pitch forward drunkenly,

Diving headfirst into blooms.

I am the withered one in the corner.

The crusted up fertilizer left open in the shed,

Never needed anyway.

All weeding left undone this year,

Except for eradicating the cancer.

But poison is indiscriminate.

When you get rid of cutworms, they take the butterflies with them.

What happens to the landscape then,

Is anyone’s guess.

So, I wait.

While the world around me does what it always has.

I watch, as invisible as the hair on my head,

Knowing there is no picking up where we left off,

But hoping for a small space left open,

To wedge myself in.


8 thoughts on “Holding Pattern

  1. Jenni Asson

    Oh Jen, I love the poem! It’s so you! It’s honest and profound and I love it. I’m glad you’re feeling more like yourself – your country house seems like a perfect place to help restore some peace to your soul (and maybe inspire more poems!) They have such power! I love you, Jen…

  2. Jessica McCarthy

    Just beautiful. So heartfelt. I hope looking out on to your garden makes you know that you’re gonna grow back just like your beautiful garden and it gives you peace. Much love

  3. Veronica Kelly

    You’re an inspiration to all of us. Your poetry is beautiful and a true testament to the wonderful human being you truly are. May the world be inspired and uplifted by your journey to healing and peace!! Much love to you and your family.

  4. Lori Sprizza

    Beautiful and heartbreaking all in one my friend. A talent for this you have. Hoping your heart is mending.

  5. Linnie

    Jennifer that was wonderful, clever and heartbreaking. The world welcomes you back as you complete this awful chapter and is saving you a huge space filled with everything living!


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