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I’ve Heard This Before


I’ve heard this before,
This insidious pain you describe,
That grinds and gnaws
Diffusely below the stomach,
Then wanders briefly away.
For weeks and weeks,
It returned in waves,
Until today it wouldn’t wane.

I’ve heard this before,
This medical history so pristine,
That some weight loss
And traces of yellowing skin
Barely triggered any worry,
Until your “healthy” body
That never needed a pill,
Finally demanded one for pain.

I’ve heard this before,
This simple question of why,
From another voice, another face,
Awaiting the same answer.
Soon the blood tests, the scans,
And a tap of the belly would unfold,
With menacing familiarity
This story told and retold.

I’ve heard this before,
This cry from my heavy heart,
Weeping at what it knows.
Yet I must stay strong
And let the inner storm calm
To face your worried gaze,
For in a moment,
From me you will hear first,
About an unwelcome guest,
A worrisome growth,
That in your body has found home.

Though nothing I say
Can take it away,
I wish you,
And those who love you,
Peace,
And positive thoughts that sing
Louder than anything
I’ve heard before.

Phoebe Tsz Man Cheng (1 Posts)

Contributing Writer

University of British Columbia, Vancouver


Phoebe Cheng is a medical student at the University of British Columbia (UBC), Vancouver Fraser Medical Program, in the class of 2018. Before medical school, she completed a B.Sc in Biology at UBC with a minor in Arts. She writes and creates art to reflect on life’s memorable moments.