Tag Archives: Cancer

“Avoid a remedy that is worse than the disease”

Howard Fischer Uppsala, Sweden   Hair loss in child with tinea capitis infection. CDC, 1970. Public domain. Overconfidence is an undesirable quality. It does not enhance a physician’s approach to learning, nor to changing when change is needed. How a doctor diagnoses or treats a condition today may cause future generations of physicians to wonder, […]

Revising my bargain with the deity

Barry Perlman New York, New York, United States   Photo by S. Tsuchiya on Unsplash. My parents lived into their nineties. Before they died, they endured years of dementia. Aware of my potential genetic inheritance, I have long harbored a deep dread of what my future might hold. If my curved pinky fingers were inherited […]

Piano lessons

James Stemmle West Virginia, United States   Watercolor by author. The piano teacher was angry, irritable, incontinent, and in pain. Dying of cancer, she eventually went home with hospice care. The hospice lady asked, “What would a good day look like?” They rigged things in her home to live at least one good day: a […]

Hieroglyphics

Gail Ghai Sarasota, Florida, United States Wooden Egyptian stela showing the woman Isetweret adoring the god Re-Horakhty, 945–712 AD. Distribution from the Egyptian Research Account, 1896. Courtesy of the Penn Museum.   The room shuffles nervously as the oncologist takes the microphone. He’s the first speaker at the breast cancer lecture and he does not […]

Drama in brief

Anthony Papagiannis Thessaloniki, Greece   Winter foliage. Photo by author. Four years earlier I had had the sad duty to announce her debut as a protagonist on the stage of cancer. Now I was witnessing the last act. She came to the first visit with her elder sister, an old acquaintance from our student days […]

The Queen’s quickening: the phantom pregnancies of Mary I

Eve Elliot Dublin, Ireland   Portrait of Queen Mary I of England by Anthonis Mor, 1554. Prado Museum, Madrid Spain. Via Wikimedia. Public Domain. In November 1554, the people of England believed a miracle had taken place. Resplendent on her new throne, Queen Mary I, daughter of Henry VIII, proudly revealed that she was with […]

Two words in the patient portal

Paul Rousseau Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, United States   Photo by Anna Tarazevich from Pexels He lost twenty pounds from January to June. Not purposely. Still, he was pleased; at seventy-nine, he looked svelte, and younger. He lost another twelve pounds from July to December. His lips grimaced. He was a stick figure, his bones […]

Metastases

A CXR of a person with lung cancer causing superior vena cava syndrome. Photo by James Heilman, MD. Via Wikimedia. CC BY-SA 3.0. Paul Rousseau Charleston, South Carolina, United States   The fact Is they are there, gathered like a clutter of popcorn, some kernels, others fluffy white swirls, but they are there, bound to […]

Dr. Susan LaFlesche Picotte: tradition, assimilation, and healing

Mariel Tishma Chicago, Illinois, United States   Fig 1. Susan La Flesche Picotte. 1889. Drexel University College of Medicine Legacy Center Archives & Special Collections. Published with permission. “My office hours are any and all hours of the day and night.” — Susan LaFlesche Picotte1   It was August of 1889 and Dr. Susan LaFlesche Picotte […]

The good, the bad, and the regrettable

Howard Fischer Uppsala, Sweden   “Man . . . cannot learn to forget, but hangs on the past: however far or fast he runs, that chain runs with him.” — Frederick Nietzsche   Lab coat and scrubs. Photo by Samir. 2006. Via Wikimedia. CC BY-SA 3.0. What follows is a description of different aspects of […]