I weave the ball through an intimidating defense,
An elite player, striving to improve my game,
I perceive, I predict, and I react – effortlessly
One tournament: suddenly
Grounded – concussed.
But I am strong, invincible, and bounce back quickly: ready to play. ...continue reading →
Peggy Cumming, is a wife, mother, grandmother of 6, sister, niece, cousin and friend, as well as a teacher - retired after 34 years in the classroom - and an athlete. This is her last blog, a year on from her diagnosis of lung cancer.
My last CMAJ blog was written and posted in April, 2015, when I was anxiously waiting the results from a CT scan of my lungs, following surgical and oncology treatment for non-smokers’ lung cancer. I’m overjoyed and relieved to write that the CT scan shows that my lungs are clear, that there is no evidence of disease. Now, I am emotionally free to get on with my life, to try to overcome the residual side effects of chemotherapy, and to regain some of the strength and fitness that I have lost.
I wish it were just that easy! As happened thirty years ago, following treatment for breast cancer, I now find myself asking, “Why me?’ not the unanswerable Why Me? that one asks when first diagnosed, but the Why Me? that follows successful treatment ...continue reading →
Patricia Lightfoot is Associate Director, Online Physician Learning, at the new CMA subsidiary "8872147 Canada Inc."
I read Girl in the Dark a few months after escaping from a darkened room, where I had lain blind-folded and ear-plugged, the prisoner of an implacable captor, with whom no negotiation was possible. My time spent in darkness was the consequence of a concussion, sustained following a severe fall when cycling down a hill on my regular Saturday ride. A full recovery eluded me for months, in spite of my intense desire to be well and active. Once I had served my sentence ...continue reading →
Dr. Moneeza Walji, editorial fellow, interviews Dr. Amit Garg, nephrologist at London Health Sciences Centre and Professor of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at Western University. Dr. Garg and colleagues found that nitrofurantoin was less effective than other antibiotics for treatment of UTI in a large cohort study of older women, regardless of the women’s estimated kidney function. ...continue reading →
Peggy Cumming, is a wife, mother, grandmother of 6, sister, niece, cousin and friend, as well as a teacher - retired after 34 years in the classroom - and an athlete. She is now post-surgery and post-chemotherapy.
The waiting room for my Thoracic Surgeon is much like any other. The unspoken, unwritten ‘Waiting Room Rules’ seem to apply: No Eye Contact, No Conversation, Appear Calm. With unfocused eyes, patients flip through outdated, uninteresting magazines, or scroll through previously read emails on smart phones. Outwardly, all is calm, quiet and relaxed. However, a rapidly pulsing crossed leg says otherwise....
In a few weeks, it will be my turn to deal with my stress in this waiting room. I will be trying to follow the rules, but the reality is that my anxiety levels will be off the chart. My appointment will be to receive feedback/results/information from my most recent CT scan. ...continue reading →
Graeme Rocker is a professor at Dalhousie University in Halifax
Editor’s note: Part I of this series appeared as a Humanities article in CMAJ; parts II and III appeared on CMAJ Blogs.
Extending the range
At week 2, my family doc gently removed staples and catheter. Her opinion was that, with good health, no diabetes and age on my side, I might avoid the spectre of incontinence. As my D-day approached (Depend underwear day), I was a willing participant in some surgical gallows humour. Fellow aficionados of international rugby posited whole new ways to escape the half-time line-up of thousands of men going for a pee. With the right under-clothing, friends could sit and enjoy another pint. One might empty a leg bag over the shoes of the opposing side’s supporters at English Premier League soccer matches. Such impure thoughts brought levity to an existence ruled by distances to nearby bathrooms and sleep fractured by contorted positions imposed by the catheter and leg bag. As it happens, my family doc was right and the box of Depend was stored away quite early. ...continue reading →
Peggy Cumming, is a wife, mother, grandmother of 6, sister, niece, cousin and friend, as well as a teacher - retired after 34 years in the classroom - and an athlete. She will be going for surgery this week.
The date: August 6, 2014. The place: Montreal...
Grasping for air and my heart beating out of my chest, I grip the pool gutter for a minute before I can drag my depleted body out of the pool after completing the 200m Individual Medley* at the World Masters Swimming competition. Then I swim down in the warm-up pool, to flush the lactic acid build-up in my body. (That’s a lot of ups and downs in swimmers’ jargon!)
After two days' rest, I will reset my goals and decide what I’m training for next. My "next" events might be another swim meet, dragon boat races, cross country ski loppet, a bike trip, a triathlon or open water swimming season. Thankfully, there’s always the next great event to anticipate!
Flash forward to today.... ...and my next event is Lung Surgery, scheduled for Nov. 12, so I reset my goals accordingly.
Since August 6, I have been ‘in training for surgery’. I have been determined to be as strong, healthy and fit as I can be, before going into the operating room. I think there are many commonalities, and stages, between training for a 200m IM swimming race and training for lung surgery. ...continue reading →
People sometimes ask me whether doctors are any different from other people when it comes to their mental health. Do they suffer more or less? Do they have different disorders and distress? The truthful answer (as with so many human questions) is a bit like, “Yes and No”.
Of course doctors can have physical and mental health issues, but this fact is often hidden from public view. Mental suffering in particular is a clandestine experience, and disclosure is especially hazardous for doctors, since it adds professional jeopardy to their burden of shame and guilt.
Awareness of doctors as human beings with real personal problems and stresses is not widespread ...continue reading →
Trisha Greenhalgh is Professor of Primary Health Care and Dean for Research Impact at Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry, London, UK
The Professor of Trauma Surgery texted me: “Can I come and see you today please?”
I had started work at 8 am and it was already 4.30 pm. I had four more meetings in my diary. But he had never asked before, so I decided it must be important. I texted back: “6.30 in my office, if you’re still around.”
He was early. I buzzed him in, and asked wearily, “How can I help?”. We overlapped on a committee so I assumed he wanted to talk business.