At the direction of my endocrinologist, I scheduled a couple tests to make sure my thyroid cancer is still in check.  My labs were OK.  This week, I went to Radiology for an ultrasound, then Nuclear Medicine for a whole body PET scan.  The ultrasound required no special prep.  The instructions for the PET seemed fairly routine until the last few sentences.  I was distressed by the prospect of sitting around for an hour with nothing to read.  Then I was told I musn’t “think too hard.”   After the administration of the fluorosine glucose, I needed to keep
the ol’ gray matter at rest until the scanning process was complete.  PET scans locate cancers by mapping out areas of increased glucose uptake.  Because cancer cells multiply faster than normal cells, they require more glucose.  As do brains when they’re in use, meaning that rumination by the patient could potentially skew the results.  Tell me, how is a person supposed to “not think” while she lies under a scanner waiting for her fate to be decided?  So much the worse if she’s a writer whose mind churns endlessly, chasing metaphors, counting syllables, and wondering why humor rhymes with something as un-funny as a tumor.

The following poem is a VERS BEAUCOUP, French for “many rhymes.” Each four-line stanza adheres to this scheme of internal and enjambed rhyme: a-a-a / a-b-b / b-c-c / c-d-d.



Nuclear Med Man schedules my PET scan, explains the plan:
OK, ma’am, fast for six hours prior, wear comfortable attire
It also requires avoidance of brain stimulation as cogitation
could be mistaken by the scanner and read as brain cancer.

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  1. judyrutrider February 10, 2019 / 12:37 am

    I’ve read a few books that left my brain entirely inactive. Of course, It seems like leaving your brain to its own devices would be far worse than reading a bodice ripper.
    So, did you pass the test?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Just Joan February 10, 2019 / 10:40 am

      So which is worse, Judy, a boring book or no book at all? Hmmmmm. I’d never heard the term “bodice ripper” and wasn’t sure if I should be envisioning a hot romance or sexual assault. I didn’t expect to get my test results back so quickly but I passed them all, including the PET. 🙂


    • Just Joan February 10, 2019 / 10:44 am

      Everything came out fine, PB. I was able to stop pondering quantum theory and working NASA equations in my head just long enough to get an accurate reading. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • pranabaxom February 10, 2019 / 1:49 pm

        😊😊😊Love that sense of humor. Glad to know that everything is fine.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Tippy Gnu February 10, 2019 / 9:19 am

    That’s sort of like staring at a person and telling them not to smile. Your poem reads like a rap song, to me. I hope all your tests went okay.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Just Joan February 10, 2019 / 10:57 am

      Maybe professional photographers should try that with tough non-smilers (instead of telling them to say “cheese”). Maybe Vers Beaucoup is the predecessor of today’s Rap and Slam Poetry. I did a rap poem years back about winter colds, let me see if I can find it. My tests came out good. Before I retired from nursing, one of my daily tasks was relaying people’s test results; the doctor would interpret the report and send me a short note with whatever they wanted me to tell the patient. One of my favorites said “Please call Mrs. Smith and tell her that her MRI of the brain showed nothing.” LOL. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  3. murisopsis February 11, 2019 / 11:54 pm

    So happy the news was good and the vers beaucoup came out A+ too! Having a sense of humor improves the outcome in many conditions so looks like you are in good shape!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Just Joan February 12, 2019 / 1:37 pm

      Thanks, Muri. The in-line rhyme makes Vers Beaucoup a quite challenging form. I appreciate the A+ rating; I thought you might dock me a point or two for using slant rhymes. Life and lost buttons and flapping coats are survived more easily with a sense of humor. I’m 3/4 of the way done with my cancer check-up. I have one more test to complete in the springtime; it requires weeks of prep on an iodine-free diet, then 4 appointments in one week for administration of Thyrogen shots, required labwork, and the scan itself. Waiting decreases the chance that the weather will interfere; if it did, we’d have to scrap it and start all over again. 🙂


  4. L. T. Garvin, Author February 15, 2019 / 6:37 am

    And still, such a beautiful and eloquent sense of humor. Ah Joan, sorry to hear about your illness, but I am so glad that your tests are good. Stopping the thinking process would be very difficult for many of us for sure, and most definitely a writer! I need to find a good bodice ripper, LOL. Glad to hear your good news, Joan. xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

    • Just Joan February 15, 2019 / 11:23 am

      Thanks, Lana. I was a mere babe when I was diagnosed, just 21, so I’ve been a cancer survivor for many years. Still, the testing is nerve-wracking, as if the beast could emerge from the shadows at any time. You don’t realize how many thoughts pass through your brain in an hour until someone tells you not to think. In the scanner, I vacillated from meditation to worry, like Ohmmmmm (my God!), Ohmmmmm (my God!) At least my bodice stayed in one piece, LOL. Laughter really is the best medicine. 🙂


      • L. T. Garvin, Author February 15, 2019 / 12:35 pm

        That is very young, Joan. So wonderful for you! I’m glad to hear you’ve done well. I would imagine the mind would certainly rebel under those conditions. Stressful, to say the least. I’m glad you made it out with your bodice, lol!

        Liked by 1 person

    • Just Joan February 16, 2019 / 7:57 am

      Thanks, KE. Weirdest test instructions ever. But I managed, and the tests came out OK. Keep those fingers crossed though, I have one more test to do in the spring. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. joyroses13 March 8, 2019 / 2:52 pm

    Glad to read in the comments that your tests came back fine!
    Gotta love humor, gets you through life! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Just Joan March 8, 2019 / 5:52 pm

      Thanks, JR. Humor makes everything a little lighter. The best stories are the ones where things didn’t go as expected. Like my wedding day, when our unity candle almost went out. The two groomsmen who didn’t make it to the rehearsal (neither was Catholic) got in line for communion, then couldn’t figure out what to do with the host. They were both caught on videotape slipping ‘Jesus’ into their jacket pockets! When I sat down for my hubby to remove my garter, the hoop skirt under my dress popped up and gave everyone a free show. Too funny. 🙂


      • joyroses13 March 8, 2019 / 6:16 pm

        You are welcome and you are so very right!! I am sure that you have noticed that humor is something I love!
        Oh my gosh about your wedding day. Hilarious! 🙂 Thanks for sharing!
        My friend will never let me forget how I got sick on her wedding day. Was standing up there as her bridesmaid and as they had just begun their wedding vows I ran in front of them to go out the door for a needed the bathroom pronto!! My poor friend was like Where is she going ? LOL!
        Sooo glad I didn”t get sick on my wedding day! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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