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Cancer Care Chronicles
January 13, 2022

Little Things

Author Affiliations
  • 1Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Tennessee
JAMA Oncol. 2022;8(3):339. doi:10.1001/jamaoncol.2021.6652

She spoke to us in fingerpaints. And words, as well, but she preferred not to use her speaking valve, and instead there was always an easel propped up at her bedside splattered with the color that most spoke to her that day. On better days, it was yellow swirled with a soft blue in a reflection of the summer sky. On days when the ache in her body grew to a 9, a 10, zigzags of red screamed at us from the canvas. The average days, the mundane days of waiting for whether bacteria might choose to grow again from another surveillance culture, she painted with her fingertips on the canvas in gold and orange like the shades of sunrise. Today will be better. Today. The sun is rising on yet another morning.

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