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  • A Magnificent Life

    Posted 7/3/2015 by hhill

      Today is July 3rd, but in the odd calendar of holidays, it is the official July 4th holiday. At BIDMC, this means that ambulatory areas are closed, but of course the hospital is open, and minimal coverage must be provided by those services that aren't ordinarily there during non-regular work hours. My group takes turns covering days like this, and I am always very proud and pleased that we work it out without rancor. I last took a turn for Presidents' Day, and that seemed a lot more attractive than a summer rotation. I am grateful to my colleague, Frank, who is there today while the rest of us enjoy this extra day off and glorious weather.

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  • Finding a Perspective

    Posted 7/2/2015 by hhill

      One of the most important lessons that I have learned over my years here has been to develop a perspective that distinguishes an annoyance from a real problem. Most things are annoyances--granted, some of those things are really big annoyances, but that is all that they are. A good guide to knowing the difference is to ask yourself: Will this matter tomorrow, in a week, in a month, in a year? Hardly anything, except health-related things, will matter even a week from now.

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  • A Review of Chinese Medicine

    Posted 7/1/2015 by hhill

      Chinese medicine and traditions often hold the most interest in any consideration of CAM (complementary and alternative medicine). Even people who are naturally skeptical are forced to recognize the long history and apparent value of some treatments. Have you ever read one of the amazing accounts of someone comfortably having surgery with acupuncture as the only anesthesia? That surely seems to beat the old Western tradition of whiskey and a bullet to bite.

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  • Sleep and Recurrence

    Posted 6/30/2015 by hhill

      Very honestly, I have been somewhat hesitant about sharing this study about sleep and the risk of cancer recurrence. First reason is that I am, blessedly, a world class sleeper. It makes my husband nuts that I am always asleep less than five minutes after putting my head on the pillow, and that I rarely awaken during the night. The only time in my life that sleep has been a recurring issue was during the last few months of my first marriage; that was one of the biggest indicators that I really had a big problem. Otherwise, I have slept soundly through all of life's other crises--maybe that suggests that I am shallow in some way, but it certainly has meant that I have been better rested and better able to cope during the day.

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  • Being Mortal and EOL

    Posted 6/29/2015 by hhill

      Today feels like the end of an important era. A very beloved, very long-term patient died early yesterday morning. She had first been diagnosed with breast cancer in 2002, developed brain mets and received whole brain radiation in 2004 and then lived for another eleven years. There was a high price for this amazingly long survival; she was damaged by the radiation, and the consequences worsened with time. She had increasing troubles with balance/mobility and, eventually, cognitive losses, especially her short term memory.

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Cancer Center
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
330 Brookline Avenue
Boston, MA 02215
617-667-1900


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