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Education  |   March 2016
Doctor Patient
Author Notes
  • From the Naval Medical Center, Portsmouth, Virginia. snellrose2000@msn.com
  • The views expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Department of the Navy, Department of Defense, or the United States Government. The author is an employee of the U.S. Government, and this work was prepared as part of the author’s official duties. Therefore, copyright protection is not available for this work.
    The views expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Department of the Navy, Department of Defense, or the United States Government. The author is an employee of the U.S. Government, and this work was prepared as part of the author’s official duties. Therefore, copyright protection is not available for this work.×
  • Accepted for publication July 29, 2015.
    Accepted for publication July 29, 2015.×
Article Information
Education / Mind to Mind / Ophthalmologic Anesthesia / Pain Medicine / Pediatric Anesthesia / Pharmacology
Education   |   March 2016
Doctor Patient
Anesthesiology 3 2016, Vol.124, 731-732. doi:10.1097/ALN.0000000000000866
Anesthesiology 3 2016, Vol.124, 731-732. doi:10.1097/ALN.0000000000000866
I was a physician, double boarded, groomed at some of the top schools in the country,
teacher of the year as an anesthesiology attending,
mother to two perfect children,
podium triathlete, runner and skier.
Shattered by breast cancer diagnosed at the young age of 43,
with no genetic predisposition, no family history, no deleterious habits or toxic diet to blame.
And humbled by my now singularly focused anesthetic medical knowledge,
which would be broadened to include all things cancer
for my own self-preservation.
But I was not angry, rather empowered, to research my illness,
and proactively reclaim every 1% reduction in breast cancer recurrence risk in my favor.
Each 1% is immeasurably grand when you look into the eyes of your children, ages 9 and 11,
and want to be able to say “Mommy did everything she could so I could stay with you here....”
15-year survival rates seem a cruel joke when you are 43 years old
and live your life as if you will live until the age of 90.
Now I have crafted my medical course to include the best surgeons, oncologist,
healthy diet and exercise habits, and of course, anesthesia.
Why yes, Dr. Surgeon, my anesthetic management is key
and has been shown to be in many an article—
So I get blocked, avoid all narcotics, which would slow my cellular defenses,
and wake up from my propofol slumber ravenous and quite lucid within a few short hours.
No nausea, no drug induced haze, and almost pain free,
while I weave in anti-inflammatories.
I am a success story which should be written far more frequently in surgical journals and annals.
I am a servant of God,
mother of the year to two perfect children,
tenacious fighter against my cancer,
and a stronger advocate for my patients
who, as we all would, seek every small but still meaningful opportunity
to improve the odds of winning the fight against cancer.