Kudos to my newest doctor, a dermatologist whom I met yesterday for evaluation of a small, benign-appearing mole I recently noted on my right leg. What she did right:
1. She saw me promptly, at the time of my scheduled appointment.
(Thank you, you seem to value my time, as I do yours.)
2. In her initial clipboard-bound paperwork, along with the usual forms about my history (always with insufficient space for my case and, unfortunately, still non-electronic) she asked not only for emergency contact information, a standard, but for the name and relationship of someone besides me – such as a family member or close friend — with whom she might discuss my condition, if I permitted.
(Thank you for asking this and really, I’d prefer that you not speak with my parents about my results. I’ll be turning 50 next month.)
3. In the same short set of
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Yesterday my husband and I took a short tour of Jericho, one of the world’s most ancient cities. I’d been there once before, sometime around 1972. My firmest memory of the place, stronger than my recollection of the ruins, is of drinking warm soda straight from the bottle with a plastic straw. It was hot then, like yesterday. While we poked around the remnants of a curved, tall stone tower said to stem from the Natufian period (~ 9,000 BCE), our driver took a seat in a nearby cafe. He ordered a pitcher of lemonade. “It’s the best here,” he said as we reached the shaded table. He poured some of the slightly-sweetened, fresh juice into each of our glasses. This was a familiar dilemna…
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A prominent article in yesterday’s New York Times considers some troubling problems regarding inaccuracy in breast cancer diagnosis and pathology. The main point is that some women get needless, disfiguring and toxic treatments after being told they have breast cancer when, it turns out, their condition was benign.
My main take on this situation – which doesn’t just apply to breast cancer – is that, whenever possible, patients should get a second opinion on biopsy results before undergoing major treatment. The costs of a second pathology review is sometimes covered by insurance, but sometimes it’s not; either way, that’s money well-spent, especially if the opinion is rendered by an appropriately-credentialed, expert pathologist who works in a state-of-the-art facility.
From the doctor’s perspective there’s responsibility, too. Surgeons shouldn’t lop off a woman’s breast without knowing that the pathology is real. Well-trained oncologists know they’re supposed to review the pathology, to make
See more Suggestions to Reduce Errors in Breast Cancer Pathology
Hiking, or even just walking, in the hot summer heat to see ancient ruins, national monuments or spectacular vistas can sap the energy of healthy people. For someone who’s got a health issue – like chronic lung disease, reduced heart function or anemia – or anyone who’s pregnant, elderly or just frail, summer travel can knock you out in the wrong sort of way.…Don’t plan
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A few years ago my family took a trip to China. Even before we arrived, I learned something about an unfamiliar health care culture. What I observed en route was that many of the older passengers on that long flight to Beijing were getting up from their seats and stretching. Not just once, but regularly and systematically – they were doing slow motion, isometric calisthenics on the airplane.
I took notice of their behavior first because it seemed a simple and inexpensive, albeit strange example of preventive medicine. Second, as a hematologist who cared for patients with blood clots upon traveling, I pondered the risks and benefits of their on-board exercises. Third, as a patient who’s had a blood clot, or deep venous thrombosis (DVT), I thought maybe I should follow their example.
Thrombophlebitis — the old term for DVT – happens when a vein (as opposed to an artery)
See more Avoiding Blood Clots During Long-Distance Travel
Exotic cuisines, sun-lit visits to ancient ruins and long airplane flights — these all provide health challenges, especially to the elderly and others with chronic illnesses. So I thought I’d take these weeks as an opportunity to review some of the ways I’ve learned to take care of myself while exploring places far from home. Because I’m a hematologist…
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…This goes well beyond a new approach to finding a cure for Parkinson’s disease. This story, largely based in genomics and computational advances, reflects the power of the human mind, how the gifted son of two mathematicians who fell into a particular medical situation, can use his brains, intellectual and financial resources, and creativity, to at least try to make a difference.
See more On Sergey’s Search (for a Cure for Parkinson’s Disease)
I had the pleasure of seeing and hearing Carole King and James Taylor in concert on Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden. Some highlights — Carole King picking up the guitar for a dueling rendition of Smack Water Jack, a surprise and rollicking re-take of Little Eva’s Locomotion, and her dancing like a happy teenager to I Feel the Earth Move. Taylor played well and graciously, with wit to boot. They made me feel like life gets better with age. Who knows? This
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