My cancer has been knocked into oblivion From the beginning, there were so many signs that my cancer didn’t have a chance. First, there was the rock-hard lymph node above my collarbone that disappeared with one night of steroids, even before I started chemotherapy. Then, there was the chest x-ray done only a few days after starting my first round of chemo. It’s not pretty, and you can see that the ...

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I feel … Much better than I did after my last chemo cycle. I feel tired, but not bad. I feel really glad that using a smaller needle for the lumbar punctures spared me the headache. I feel thrilled to have a port and have that PICC line out. There’s nothing like having medical tubes dangling out of your arm to make you feel extremely cancery. Plus, with the port buried under my skin, water ...

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I was recently readmitted to the hospital for my second round of chemotherapy. I’m doing a regimen called Hyper-CVAD, which involves four rounds of two alternating cycles of treatment, for a total of eight rounds of chemo. For my first cycle I got cyclophosphamide, doxyrubicin, and vincristine, along with an intrathecal injection of a drug whose name I’ve since forgotten. This round I’m getting intravenous methotrexate and cytarabine and TWO (insert frowny ...

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When I was first diagnosed with cancer several weeks ago, I didn’t have much time to think. I was just trying to survive after getting punch to the gut after punch to the gut of bad news. First I went to the ER thinking I had pneumonia, and was told that no, I had cancer. Then I was told instead of it being a more common, more relatively easy-to-treat ...

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My cancer shows how our world is ruled by love I recently wrote about how our world is ruled by love, and circumstances conspired to show me just how true that really is. Love is when I go to the ER at UCLA, where I work, for a cough and feeling that “something isn’t right,” and even though my complaints are mild, I’m brought right in and ...

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Before medical school I worked in a research lab investigating the relationship between stress and memory. As a research assistant, I dutifully administered memory test and collected saliva samples to test for cortisol levels. My boss sent the data to her statistician for analysis, and was thrilled to find that despite the lack of connection between most of the variables of stress and memory studied, there was one positive finding -- a ...

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As a psychiatrist who is passionate about integrative mental health treatments, I was excited to spend five days recently in St. Petersburg, Florida for the annual conference of the American Board of Integrative and Holistic Medicine. At the conference, I learned that even more than I previously realized, our ecosystem and environment have a profound effect on our happiness and wellness, and can either give us easy access to good food ...

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It seems to be trendy these days to say we’re all overmedicated. People say we  swallow a pill to try to escape any fleeting negative feeling, or that we throw them at our kids for any bad behavior. To be honest, there are times I agree. However, sometimes people take the anti-medication thing way, way too far. They say antidepressants are a conspiracy of the drug companies to make us all ...

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7 life lessons I learned from surfing Sometimes I’m surprised I wasn’t born with gills. It’s like I was meant to spend more time in water than on land. I didn’t discover this until I was thirteen or so, when I started high school and had to join a sports team because of a school requirement. I arbitrarily chose water polo, because it was a fall sport. I sucked at ...

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When I was in middle school, I went to Lake Tahoe with my best friend on a ski trip. I had only been skiing a few times before, and even though my friend was only twelve, she was already a talented and experienced skier. She was patient with me, but I became increasingly frustrated as I had trouble going down even the most basic runs without falling. At one point, after falling ...

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