I am reminded of her daily. As a surgical oncologist, many of my conversations with patients, students, and colleagues evoke memories of my mother. During my final year of fellowship training, she and my father were planning to drive across the country to visit after the birth of my second child. My mother had just finished sewing her first granddaughter a quilt, bright and cheery, fabric covered with strawberry cupcakes and unicorns.
Instead of embarking on the trip, she was admitted to the local hospital with pneumonia. When bilateral infiltrates were still present on imaging a month later, additional testing eventually concluded that despite being a life-long nonsmoker, she in fact had stage IV lung cancer. I was a surgical oncology fellow at one of the largest cancer centers in the United States, and when my parents called with the news, I was stunned. Things quickly went from bad to worse, as it became apparent that she had metastatic disease.
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Snyder RA. This Quiet Lady. JAMA. 2020;323(3):215–216. doi:10.1001/jama.2019.21664
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