A Medical Humanist's Notes

A Vehicle for Hope

She was diagnosed with ovarian cancer 2 years ago. Surgery and countless infusions of chemotherapy, with no sustained remissions, have not deterred her from continuing to work in her studio. Options for treatment are now limited as is her energy level.

Her doctor has requested a medical humanist consult to assess this patient’s understanding of treatment options and prognosis. “I was not prepared,” she tells me, “to hear my doctor say ‘I hoped I would not have to have this conversation with you.’”

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Finding Our Strength

 “In times of crisis we summon our strength…
call on every resource…every forgotten image…
every memory that can make us know our power.”
– Muriel Rukeyser

How does one live with uncertainty when facing a life-threatening illness? Where does one find inner strength? Where does one look for supportive resources? Most patients will tell you that they frequently ask themselves these questions.

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