Tag: cancer

Ashten Duncan Ashten Duncan (5 Posts)

Medical Student Editor and Former Managing Editor (2017-2018)

OU-TU School of Community Medicine


Ashten Duncan is a MD/MPH student at the OU-TU School of Community Medicine located in Tulsa, Oklahoma. A 2018-2019 Albert Schweitzer Fellow, he is currently in the public health stage of his training. He is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma, where he completed a B.S. in Microbiology alongside minors in Chemistry and French. An aspiring family physician, Ashten is currently on a National Health Service Corps scholarship, which entails a four-year term of service in an underserved community following residency training in primary care. His research interests include hope theory, burnout in medical education, and positive psychology in vulnerable populations. Ashten is passionate about creative writing and what it represents. He has published pieces on KevinMD.com and in-Training.org and in Blood and Thunder and the upcoming edition of The Practical Playbook.




Her Wardrobe

In high school, I was obsessed with wearing only vintage clothing. After hours of painstakingly searching every clothing rack at Goodwill, I would find a well-worn baseball jersey or an elaborately bejeweled Christmas sweater. I felt a sense of immense pride in reclaiming someone else’s memories — their winning games, their holiday parties – in an attempt to express my “uniqueness”.

A Third Year Opus — Chapter One: Incidental Findings

The white coats and patient gowns that confer the implicit power dynamic of the physician-patient relationship are not to be found here in the operating room. This place has neither the tolerance nor the patience for this subtle symbolism. Here, on the other side of the Rubicon, the rules are stark, the stakes laid bare. The patient lies naked on the table, arms extended on boards, Christ-like, as the surgeon holds the knife handle and plays God.

No Happy Ending

One after the other, day after day it seems, I find myself in a room where the resident is breaking the news of terminal cancer to my patients and I feel an overwhelming sadness belied by numbness. It has only been a week and a half on internal medicine and we have already diagnosed three unsuspecting patients with cancer.

Lost in Translation

In the rest of the house, the noise of the party is deafening: the clink of glasses, the sizzle of burgers on the grill, the excited cries of relatives reunited after long absences. But in the bright light of the kitchen, Mark is talking to me without sound. He presses his right hand over his left then moves up its length, separating his thumb from the rest of his fingers as he goes replicating the open and shut motions of a jaw. “This is the sign for cancer,” he says.

A Patient in Denial: Is the System at Fault?

I’ve come to realize having an automatic word filter is one of my greatest blessings. It becomes quite useful when, in the middle of rounds, a patient’s single, monosyllabic response inspires such a flurry of mismatched curse words that only a properly formed filter can save my dignity. What exactly did this patient say that stunned me so violently? My attending had asked him a straightforward, albeit grim, question. “Do you know you have cancer?” …

The Metaphorization of Cancer

A leading expert on language and the mind, cognitive psychologist Steven Pinker suggests in his book “The Stuff of Thought” that “conceptual metaphors point to an obvious way in which people could learn to reason about new, abstract concepts,” as well as provide the imagery and substrate to help store and share knowledge. The metaphorization of illness allows us to describe it in easily-digestible forms which have relevance and relation to our everyday speech. The …

Treating the Disease and Treating the Illness

Standing at the foot of her hospital bed, it was clear to me — as it was to the attending physician — that my grandmother was suffering from a disease: an obvious structural disorder identified by scientific medicine as negatively impacting her health. Hilar mass, cavitation, hypercalcemia. Keratin pearls, intercellular bridges. Hemoptysis, dyspnea, edema. It was also apparent to this eight year-old, however, that she was burdened by an illness, or an impaired sense of well-being. …

Trisha

How can doctors-in-training honor the voices of their patients, especially children’s voices? Trisha, a first-year medical student who aspires to become a pediatric oncologist, discusses her mission to give children with cancer the opportunity to be heard. She describes a project she developed inviting children to tell the stories of their illness, which she compiled into her book, “Chronicling Childhood Cancer: A Collection of Personal Stories by Children and Teens with Cancer,” that was published this month in honor of National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.

Annie Robinson Annie Robinson (52 Posts)

Curator of Inside Stories and in-Training Staff Member

Columbia University


Annie Robinson completed a Master of Science in Narrative Medicine at Columbia University in 2014. She previously studied the healing power of stories as an undergraduate at NYU’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study. Annie works as Narrative Coaching Specialist with Eating Disorder Recovery Specialists, helping individuals in the early stages of eating disorder recovery through mindfulness, meditation, yoga, and narrative practices. She is also the Program Officer at Health Story Collaborative, a non-profit that creates forums for individuals to tell their stories of personal health challenges, and curates another oral narratives projects called On the Road to Recovered: Voices from the Eating Disorder Recovery Community. Annie is a coordinator and full-spectrum doula for The Doula Project in New York City, providing compassionate care for women during experiences of abortion, miscarriage, and fetal loss. As a yoga teacher, writer, educator, and co-founder of NYC-based wellness community Pause, Breathe, and Connect, Annie shares her passion for integrative approaches to wellbeing. She is dedicated to creating spaces for people to explore the healing potential of interweaving of stories, spirituality, and somatic experience.

Inside Stories

Inside Stories is an oral narratives project which invites medical students to share their experiences in medical school in the form of brief podcasts published and archived on in-Training. The project aims to provide a means of personal healing, self-realization and empowerment through the sharing and receiving of personal stories, as well as to cultivate community among students in the often isolating medical school environment. The title Inside Stories reflects the project's mission to encourage students to go inside themselves and bring forth things that often go unspoken. It also represents the inside look listeners are granted into the sometimes private, challenging and confusing experiences students may have. Made possible in part by a grant from the Arnold P. Gold Foundation and FJC.