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  • Getting the Diagnosis

    Posted 9/3/2015 by hhill

      I remember his shirt. It was white with thin black stripes, and I saw his back when I entered the room. His presence told me everything. It was February 1993, and I had just walked out of the OR where a surgeon had done a breast biopsy. "Your surgeon can talk with you in this room" said someone. And, when I walked in, I saw my husband's back.

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  • CAM and Older Patients

    Posted 9/2/2015 by hhill

      This report from the Journal of Geriatric Oncology was surprising to me. It suggests a high use of CAM (complementary and alternative therapies) by older patients who are undergoing active cancer treatment. I have not read the full study, and the summaries don't include information about the ages of the participants. Therefore, I don't know if we are talking about people in their mid to late 60s or mid to late 80s. Does that change things? Does it matter?

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  • Collateral Damage

    Posted 9/1/2015 by hhill

      Collateral damage is most often a military term. You know, those unfortunate children who just happened to be in the school building that was bombed as part of a mission to destroy enemy operatives nearby. There seems to be all too much war language used in Cancer World. but this phrase, thank you Susan Gubar, seems absolutely correct. Reminds me of the analogy used years ago by one of my patients: "My body and my life after treatment are like a bombed out city. I have to rebuild brick by brick."

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  • Musings on the Jury System

    Posted 8/31/2015 by hhill

      I begin by begging your forgiveness as this has nothing to do with cancer. I am just home, having been sprung from jury duty after spending 2/3 of the work day at the Middlesex Superior Court in Woburn. If you have to go to court for any reason in Middlesex Country, this would be one to consider. It is easy to find, just off 128, lots of free parking, in a big office complex. That is the good news.

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  • Do You Identify as a Cancer Patient

    Posted 8/28/2015 by hhill

      This essay by Heather Millar (linked at the end of this post) has stimulated my thinking about whether we identify, or not as a cancer patient. There are people who very much take on the mantle of cancer, and this can be a positive statement. Like the old Black and Proud slogan, these patients may choose not to cover their bald heads, to participate in many cancer-related activities, to focus their time and attention on their illness and recovery. Sometimes this changes over the months, and sometimes it does not.

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Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
330 Brookline Avenue
Boston, MA 02215

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