Dr. Peterson, the radiation oncologist, gets right to the point.
“The medical center’s tumor board has concluded that your cancer is inoperable, incurable and untreatable,” he says flatly. “Any chemotherapy or radiation treatments would be palliative in nature.”
He begins explaining the reasons behind the board’s verdict, but everything he’s saying washes out. My mind stopped working as soon as I heard the words “incurable” and “palliative.” I am sliding into
Day 1: For over thirty-five years my strong, spirited spouse, Carlo, served around the world in the Air Force. Now retired from the military, he still serves at the air base as a civilian security police officer.
His neck hurts. A lot. He blames the pain on the unbalanced weight of the bulletproof vest that Uncle Sam added last year to the uniform he proudly wears every day.
Dr. Robert’s office felt right to me, with a musical birdsong soundtrack, soft lighting and fresh green tea, and I had my best friend in tow: piece of cake. In this serene atmosphere, I was sure that I’d find out what to do next to finish treating my endometrial cancer.
It’s probably gone now, since my hysterectomy two weeks back, I thought. But let’s play it safe; he’s the gynecological-cancer guru.
Mary T. Shannon
Leaning against the hospital bed’s cold metal rails, I gazed down at my husband lying flat on his back. Under the harsh fluorescent ceiling lights, his olive skin looked almost as pale as mine.
We’d been in the outpatient unit since 6:00 am for what was supposedly a simple procedure–a right-heart catheterization to assess the blood
Flashback to a year ago: I’m a first-year medical student–a fledgling, a novice–trying to integrate countless facts into a coherent understanding of how the human body works. Professors slam me with two months’ worth of information inside of two weeks’ time. They tell us that this is a necessary process, one that all doctors must go through: we must first learn the science of medicine before we can master the art of healing.
I’m a third-year medical student, and I’m starting the second day of my new rotation–a month that I’ll spend with a family physician, Dr. Bauer, in his small, efficient home-based office.
Yesterday, my first day, a young woman named Sara came in for “strep throat.” She had dark Latina eyes, broad cheekbones and a delicate tattoo of the Chinese character for “dream” on her left wrist. She was 17 and seeking out a
My big sister Chris, 55, had recently returned to her first career, nursing, when she wrenched her back one day while helping to lift a patient. After weeks of physical therapy proved unhelpful, her internist ordered some tests, which indicated that her back injury might signal something more sinister. She’d had a lumpectomy for a “stage 0” breast cancer five years earlier, and her doctor advised her to make an appointment with the
Bad news is like a lump of red-hot coal that lands in your palm–and that you can’t let go of, no matter how badly you’d like to.
I was tossed the burning coal over twenty years ago, when I was thirty years old and fit as a fiddle. Or so I thought. I also happened to be a first-year medical student, having my head filled with facts large and small about the human