I met with a young patient recently, a woman who has been done with chemotherapy for lymphoma for close to a year. She was feeling well, and she had no symptoms of cancer, nothing that made her suspicious of a recurrence. After I examined her and reviewed her most recent CT scan and labs, I agreed. No recurrence. I wrote in my note, “NED,” the acronym for no evidence of ...

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If you Google “skinny definition” what will pop up is the following: Adjective: (of a person or part of their body) Unattractively thin. The word skinny according to Webster’s is defined as the following: 1. resembling skin: membranous 2a. lacking sufficient flesh: very thin: emaciated 2b. lacking usual or desirable bulk, quantity, qualities or significance. So how did our culture take this word and use it to represent a goal, or rather set "skinny" as a ...

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I have participated in two transitions in care with my mother.  The first was when she was released from the hospital after undergoing neurosurgery for a malignant brain tumor.  Immediately after surgery of her brain tumor, she went through two weeks of intensive physical, occupational, and speech therapy.  At the end of this period, the recommendation was clear.  She required around the clock supervision.  The plan was to send her ...

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Another call night in downtown L.A. It had not been a particularly eventful day: the usual offering of people hit by cars, falling off of things, and victims of man-made violence. Some injuries happen as a result of an accident, some as a result of carelessness, and of course many happen because of an intentional act. At about 1am the trauma pager went off; the text announced a "Level 1 ...

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The call came in the middle of a busy office day; the radiologist had found a suspicious area on the mammogram. I had received similar calls many times in my primary care practice. This time was different; the patient was me. My first thought "thank God I’m insured." My second thought was for all those who are not. It was hard enough waiting the week, until further testing could be performed; ...

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Rarely do people think about medical costs when there is a medical emergency or an urgent need for a test. Recently, I was in such a situation. A few days after a 22-hour international flight, the calf muscle in my right leg began to ache. If it were not for the recent flight, or if I were not a doctor, I would have just let it pass. But long periods of sedentary ...

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I don't like doctors! It was always the same with Ronald. After years of absence, he would appear at my doorstep with some particular problem that had progressed to alarming proportions. Once, it was the abscess that seemed to swallow up his whole back. The next time, it was a hernia that had grown to the size of a grapefruit hanging out of his undergarments. But today was different. In fact, ...

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In the first week of the 5th grade, our class had a special music afternoon. It was our opportunity to try out the different instruments in the school band. We were to make a decision, that very day, about which instrument we would play almost every day for our school music careers.

I was so excited. I had been busy deafening my parents for years by creating high-pitched squawking melodies on ...

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When you ask young medical students why they want to be doctors, you will probably get all sorts of answers. Some may say they like people and want to interact with them and offer them help.  Some students will believe this is their calling. Others still may state they are intrigued by the scientific mysteries the human body is filled with. From my experience, not many medical students just starting ...

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Something difficult has unfolded around here lately and when news got out a dear friend came by with a gift of a story. She told us about a day years ago when one neighbor heard the other had breast cancer. The well neighbor was shocked and saddened. She was at a loss and wanted to help; wanted to do something but, what? In a daze but motivated none the less, ...

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