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“Hold your breath,” the technician states.
About the artist:
Marla Lukofsky is a standup comedian, inspirational speaker, jazz singer, cancer survivor and writer. Her stories have been published in various narrative medicine journals, including Cell2Soul and Health Story Collaborative. With two TEDx Talks to her credit, Marla continues to share her experiences in the hopes of helping others.
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Susan S. Turner
When I find a lump in my left breast I am stunned. I probably shouldn’t be surprised, but I’m immobilized. It takes me several days before I tell my partner, who has to push me into action. I get the referral from my doctor and schedule a mammogram. The radiology practice fits me into their schedule that same week, but I still have several days to sit with the unknown.
Alice Y. Kim
When Teresa showed up forty-five minutes late for her appointment, I sighed. I knew this would disrupt our clinic’s afternoon schedule.
That was nothing unusual, though. The clinic treats large numbers of patients who are undocumented, homeless and uninsured, and many must walk or take public transportation to get here. After seven weeks on rotation here as a third-year medical student, I knew that appointment times were flexible.
“Do you need help getting undressed?” Jon asks from the doorway of our bedroom, one hand holding his BlackBerry, the other tucked into the front pocket of his baggy jeans. His head is slightly tilted, his eyebrows arched, highlighting his forehead wrinkles.
His phone vibrates, drawing his eyes from me to the incoming message. I wait.
Jon reads, ponders and then looks up, half-absorbed in what he’s just read, and
About the artist:
Danielle Shamlian is a freelance photographer in eastern Massachusetts, specializing in children and family photography. She received her degree in photography from Boston University Center for Digital Imaging Arts. In May 2014, she was diagnosed with an aggressive breast cancer. This shock was
“The plastic surgeons tell me that women who like to swim do much better with reconstruction than with prostheses,” says a young breast surgeon at our weekly Breast Cancer Tumor Board, the working conference where we discuss every new breast cancer patient before starting treatment.
There’s a slight note of surprise in her voice; to her, it’s simply another consideration when advising women before mastectomy.
For decades, the only option after a mastectomy
Sitting here, waiting to teach a medical student.
My eyes lock
onto the windowed display cabinet of anatomic pathology specimens.
Aging bottles of shriveled dun-colored parts, pale reminders of bodies once vital.
My thoughts drift
my rib pain, localized, continuous, nagging.
my breast cancer, localized, excised, treated…just over a year ago.
What pains my rib?