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A Piece of My Mind
December 13, 2006

Taking My Poison

Author Affiliations

A Piece of My Mind Section Editor: Roxanne K. Young, Associate Editor.

JAMA. 2006;296(22):2657-2658. doi:10.1001/jama.296.22.2657

The gentle health professionals met with me one by one to discuss the harsh chemicals that would soon find a home in my veins. These individuals would become my medical team for the next six months. They explained their roles in my care, pausing at each step for questions that might have difficulty rising to the surface. My anxiety was not shy. “I’m afraid of human error. Afraid I’ll accidentally be overdosed on chemotherapy and die from the cure.” There, I’d said it, and they weren't insulted. Polite social chatter is the domain of people with a certain future, and I couldn't afford not to express my fear.

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