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A Piece of My Mind
September 5, 2012


Author Affiliations

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

Author Affiliation: Physician Assistant Department, Drexel University College of Nursing and Health Professions, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (edf26@drexel.edu).

JAMA. 2012;308(9):873-874. doi:10.1001/2012.jama.10452

It's the summer of 2009, and the lump that I’ve done my best not to recognize refuses to be ignored any longer. I see a breast surgeon, who biopsies it. When the pathology report reveals a grade II invasive ductal carcinoma, I tell myself that women go through this all the time, women who are far worse off than I am. For healthy me, with a great physician, a loving family, and supportive friends, this should not be a big deal. But somehow it manages to be a very big deal: like the tumor chewing away at my flesh, worries chew away at my psyche. In a variation on my classic anxiety dream (the final exam is tomorrow, but I haven't attended any classes), professors are replaced by physicians, examinations by medical procedures: because I arrive late to a dream-appointment with my gynecologist, she refuses to refer me for dream-chemotherapy.