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by Christine McKee

They numbed my eyes
before probing them with brilliant lights.
They forced the lids to remain open
while trying to capture the tumor on film.
They encircled my eye in a pool of gel
to compute its dimensions.
Doctors, lots of doctors.
And now, in this darkened room
just me
I suppress my terror, ignore
the cincture tightening around my head
the ice pick piercing my throat
the steel bands crushing my chest
the block of ice encasing my legs.
Muffled voices and footsteps
pass outside the door.
I'm waiting
ever so calmly
because I refuse to think about
losing my sight
changing my life
telling my Mom
having my lover say, Hasta la vista, Baby!

Christine McKee was a teacher and administrator. After fifty years of smug good health and no symptoms, she was told that she had a cancerous tumor in her eye. The shock of the diagnosis was eventually tempered by a positive prognosis. One unexpected outcome was survivor's guilt when a best friend from high school, a wife and mother of three, died from ovarian cancer.