Uncertainty Principle: A principle in quantum mechanics holding that increasing the accuracy of measurement of one observable quantity increases the uncertainty with which another conjugate quantity may be known. Perhaps it is because I just got back from Albuquerque, a city which has become like a second home to me, that I have Heisenberg on… Continue reading Heisenberg and Your Prostate
I remember when I was a medical student and an elderly patient would be admitted to the surgical service through the emergency room with a bowel obstruction, or a lung cancer, or blockage in the coronary arteries so severe that only a coronary bypass could save him. The students and residents would gather around the… Continue reading When Age is a Relative Thing
At home, I have trouble working the audio-visual system. A few years ago, my husband bought a television set for our family room with a huge screen, for better sports and movie viewing. Gradually components were added on—a surround sound system, the keyboard to stream video from Netflix, the standard DVD player, and, a gift… Continue reading The Techno-Freak in Me
There has been some confusion around the office due to the fact that my partner became suddenly ill, and it was important that the patients on treatment be seen once a week. In addition to my own patients, I had seen all of his three weeks ago while he was on vacation, so I had… Continue reading I Am Easily Charmed
When I was a radiation oncology resident in Boston in the early 80’s, a few brilliant minds in physics and medicine came up with the notion that it would be a good idea to treat certain cancers with a beam of protons. Protons are the positively charged particles which are created with a hydrogen atom… Continue reading Something Old, Something New
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
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
Space is always at a premium in any bustling medical office, and my department is no exception. In the four years that we’ve been open, the patient volume has nearly doubled. We’ve added a second physician, a second nurse and several additional radiation therapists. My office manager does financial counseling in her tiny office that… Continue reading A Room With a View
The year was 1997, and my youngest was having his sixth birthday. What he wanted for his party was for me to take him and his friends to the local amusement park. They would have free access to the rides, swarm the arcade, play on the ersatz beach with its immense man made waves, and… Continue reading What Does Your Mommy Do For a Living?
“Blame It On The Bossa Nova” (Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil) I was at a dance when he caught my eye Standin’ all alone lookin’ sad and shy We began to dance, swaying’ to and fro And soon I knew I’d never let him go Blame it on the bossa nova with its magic… Continue reading Blame it on the radiation!