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A Piece of My Mind
December 9, 2009

Don’t Touch Me

JAMA. 2009;302(22):2409-2410. doi:10.1001/jama.2009.1675

Katie is 2 years old. A little waif, she is barely the size of a 1-year-old. Diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma more than nine months ago, she has endured multiple rounds of chemotherapy and radiation, first in an attempt to cure, then in an effort to palliate the aggressive tumor that had presented in her face, pelvis, and bone marrow. She is a pale little one; her skin almost translucent, her veins visible from across the room. As I look at her there doesn't appear to be an ounce of fat on her body; she has no muscle mass. Her wisps of blonde hair, what there is of it, lie in tiny tufts at seemingly random points on her scalp.