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A Piece of My Mind
July 16, 2014

The M&M Game

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Population Health, New York University School of Medicine, New York, New York

Copyright 2014 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved. Applicable FARS/DFARS Restrictions Apply to Government Use.

JAMA. 2014;312(3):233-234. doi:10.1001/jama.2014.6509

I pour 20 M&M’s from the economy size bag into my left hand. As usual, today I’ve decided the bad color will be red. I make sure only one of the 20 M&M’s in my hand is red. I put the bag aside, cupping my hands together around the candy.

I am a physician who specializes in neonatology. There are few specialties more grounded in pure physiology.

I am also a cancer patient. In the summer of 2010 I was diagnosed with a locally advanced rectal carcinoma. I received the best care medicine has to offer, from skilled and compassionate physicians: preoperative radiochemotherapy, a low anterior resection, a temporary ileostomy, and 12 cycles of chemotherapy. I worked throughout the entire ordeal and am told I “sailed through” chemo. I’ve made the mistake of reading tales of ghastly complications, misdiagnoses, and treatment failures on Internet chats devoted to my disease, and I know how lucky I am.

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