The Things They Put on Their Skin

When patients start their radiation therapy, one of the side effects that we tell them to look for is a skin reaction.  Depending on the area of the body treated, and the dose given, the skin reaction at the end of treatment ranges anywhere from a mild sunburned look all the way to what we… Continue reading The Things They Put on Their Skin

Veterans Day

IN FLANDERS FIELDS JOHN McCRAE, PHYSICIAN, WARRIOR, POET In Flanders fields the poppies blow Between the crosses, row on row, That mark our place; and in the sky The larks, still bravely singing, fly Scarce heard amid the guns below. We are the Dead. Short days ago We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow, Loved… Continue reading Veterans Day

Best Dick

In some of my previous entries, I have mentioned how important it is for patients to bring a friend or relative to their first appointment.  Most of the time, we welcome the spouse or best friend who is able to hear and process the information we are giving, especially if the patient herself or himself… Continue reading Best Dick

So It Goes

It was only natural that in a large urban radiation therapy department, such as the one where I did my residency, the residents often turned to black humor in order to escape from the realities of death and dying that we were witnessing.  Despite one of my attending’s iron clad rules—“Never treat a patient on… Continue reading So It Goes

Showing a Little Restraint

 For Jack Oberdorf In 1986, Hybritech released its first commercially available screening test for prostate cancer– the PSA test—triggering a torrent of newly diagnosed cases of this disease, and in turn, a flood of new technology to treat it, including the Da Vinci surgical robot, and proton beam radiation therapy.  In recent years, however, the… Continue reading Showing a Little Restraint

Like a Freight Train

Sometimes, you can see cancer coming.  What I mean is that when we sign up for that mammogram, or that PSA blood test, there has to be some tiny little part of us that says, “Ok, this time it’s my turn.  This time I’m the one who’s going to get the call.”  Sometimes the cancer… Continue reading Like a Freight Train

Hurricane Season

Watching the events of Hurricane Sandy unfold from a safe distance this past week, I was reminded of the great hurricane that occurred in my own youth, Hurricane Carla. At the time the largest hurricane ever recorded in the Atlantic basin, Carla made landfall on the coast of Texas on September 11, 1961. I was… Continue reading Hurricane Season

Just Give Me the Gist of it Please

I recently saw an orthopedic specialist who proposed to operate on my arthritic feet, which have been quite done in by my favorite pastime for thirty five years of jogging miles on pavement combined with the wearing of high heeled shoes to work every day to make my short self taller and thus more powerful.… Continue reading Just Give Me the Gist of it Please