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March 7, 1986


Author Affiliations

Santa Barbara, Calif

JAMA. 1986;255(9):1128. doi:10.1001/jama.1986.03370090046007

With each passing day, it becomes increasingly difficult to think of him as being gone. There is an uncomfortable emptiness in my life that nags at me, pulls me away from other thoughts, and clouds normal pursuits. There was simply too much there to disappear. A physician at 22, a linguist, a student of the Bible and religion, a perfectionist in all that he did, my father. When the errant cells began their unrelenting conquest of his body, he reasoned that a diagnosis would serve only to shorten his life. Instead, he chose to work 60-hour weeks and ignored the weight loss, the fatigue, and the palpable mass growing in his pancreas. When jaundice finally brought the concealed truth into the open and both colleagues and patients began to ask questions, then came the blood work and the CAT scans and a call from his doctor. "Your dad is in