“Good morning baby,” she said to me each morning I when I came into her room. Ms. K was an educated woman in her early 50s with three children. She loved drinking tea in the morning. She also had a very advanced case of lobular carcinoma of the breast that had extended into her abdomen. A cluster of cancer cells was obstructing her small intestine, causing her to have nausea, vomiting, ...

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This past week I spoke with a patient who noted that since his wife’s death six months ago, he had lost 40 pounds, slept a maximum of four hours nightly, and stopped enjoying activities he used to take pleasure in. He found it difficult to concentrate at work, and getting out of bed each morning was described as his greatest struggle. While relaying this story, the man was on the ...

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Alzheimer’s disease is the uninvited guest that crashes all of my family gatherings. It relentlessly pursues my grandfather’s brain, unraveling more threads from the tapestry of his memory each year. Although it causes him no physical pain, it sows guilt, sorrow, frustration, and a sense of deep loss in all of us. Like all diseases, this one seems entirely unfair. My grandfather was a sharp attorney, a witty, silly champion of ...

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“Well I don’t know why I came here tonight, I got the feeling that something ain’t right,” the song hummed through the speakers of the DC medical examiner’s office. Something definitely is not right, I thought as I watched the pathologist and his assistant begin the first autopsy of the morning. With rough strokes, the assistant dissembled the body before us. Unlike the cadavers we had dissected one year previously, this ...

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I don’t have time for this, I thought as I attempted to walk the twenty minutes from home to my Mind-Body Medicine class at a ten minute pace. I felt a sharp cramp in my abdomen, reminding me that I had just wolfed down dinner without taking a break for enjoyment or digestion. By the time I reached the medical school building the sky was dark, my face glistened with ...

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The presence of strong, independent women has been a constant throughout my life. Friends, teachers, mentors, aunts, cousins, and grandmothers have all helped shape my firm belief that gender need not be a hindrance and can indeed become a source of pride. Yet the most influential and compelling woman will always be my mom, and for me, no story of admirable females can go without mention of her. On a rainy ...

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