By Jonathan Waxman

The Elephant within the Room is a set of brief tales that creatively converse the melanoma patient’s trip. The tales, in accordance with real-life bills, are outfitted round the idiosyncratic relationships among sufferers and their medical professionals. utilizing humor, empathy and knowledge, Jonathan Waxman explores the very human aspect of melanoma in addition to delivering specialist statement at the medical features of prognosis and remedy of this ailment. those tales convenience and entertain, tell and have interaction, and are a deal with to learn for someone whose lifestyles has been laid low with melanoma.

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Extra resources for The Elephant in the Room: Stories About Cancer Patients and their Doctors

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Rick, breathless and swollen looked up at the medical team. ” he panted. ” The professor looked at Rick, looked with a level of anxiety and concern. He noticed that Rick was breathing at a rate that was twice the normal rate and that his colour wasn’t good. Rick had a blue tinge to his lips, which told the medical team that the levels of oxygen in Rick’s blood had fallen far below a healthy level needed to sustain life. The professor turned to the junior doctors. ” This was code for oxygen saturation, an indicator of how well Rick’s lungs were working in providing oxygen to his red blood cells.

Blood is given, and within a few days of the transfusion the patient’s symptoms ease. And so it was with Rick. Meanwhile the weeks passed and Rachel was entering the late stages of her pregnancy. ” The professor inspected Rick’s skin and yes the lumps certainly had shrunk. It was time for a re-assessment scan. The professor was a bit worried about what the scan would show. He was worried because Rick had developed high blood levels of calcium, found by routine blood testing. In cancer patients, high blood calcium can be due to spread of cancer to bone.

Rick’s skin bulged with deposits of cancer that distorted the tissues. These deposits were always seen as a ‘Pre-terminal event’. Medicine is full of names and labels. By giving names to symptoms and signs, by labelling horrible things, the naming process itself takes away some of the horror of the disease, naming and labelling sanitized desperation and misery, suffering and devastation. ‘Subcutaneous metastases’ somehow didn’t seem as ghastly as ‘The cancer has spread to the skin’, which conjured images of ‘The Alien’ and poor Sigourney Weaver’s skin’s writhing infestation by space monsters.

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