Saturday, June 25, 2011

Special Kids

All of the kids I take care of are special.  Is that cliche?  Maybe so, but it's true.  I truly have learned something from each and every one of them -- though not always what I thought I would learn.

Some kids stand out.

My first "real" patient, who was 13 at the time, and is now, at the advanced age of 27, joining the military.

The patient who got a transplant for her horrible leukemia... who was so sick going into her transplant that I said to her during her "consent conference"... "Well, if your kidneys fail during the transplant, at least your donor can give you one of his, too, and since your immune system will be his, you won't have to worry about rejection."  Not only did her kidneys not fail, but she is alive, well, in remission, and sometimes takes her hormones.

Marta also stands out.  Marta was a teen mother before I met her, though she was finishing her freshman year of college.  That, alone, impressed me.  But as I got to know Marta, first during her initial treatment, and then while we were unsuccessfully treating her relapse, I got to know a warm, caring, wonderful mother.  A young woman who faced adversity with grace, never complaining about her fate.  A young woman who made mature decisions, including continuing college through all of her treatment.  A young woman who accepted hospice care when she needed it, but continued to do what she could to extend the time she would have with her child.

From some kids, I learn about a disease.  From some kids, I learn compassion.  From some kids, I learn grace.  From Marta I learned how to face life, no matter what life has in store.

I'll miss her.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for continuing to post on this website. When I first came across your blog a few weeks ago, I was so excited to read a real and refreshing account of the life of a pediatric oncologist. I have seen many kids, most recently my sister, fight cancer. I hope to become a pediatric oncologist one day and this blog is a great reminder of what I am working towards.


Dawn said...

I'd never thought about childhood cancer leaving orphans. Another heartbreaking angle on this. Thanks for the post -

Anonymous said...

I, too, am so happy that you're still posting on this blog. I'm about to start my third year of medical school and have had 6 months of clinics but I really feel like I'm hitting a wall. I want to be a pediatric oncologist, but sometimes I feel totally burnt out in medicine and I don't know if I can continue. Your blog gives me so much hope and reminds me why I went to medical school in the first place.

Thank You,
Future Kids' Cancer Doctor!

Juvie3 said...

Dr. I decided I want to be a pediatric oncologist and that's what led me to find your blog. It is so informative and well written. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and stories. I'll periodically come visit as I take this journey into this amazing specialty =)

Anonymous said...

I always enjoy reading your blog Dr. Loeb. You'll always be my favorite doctor! Love, your favorite patient!

online doctor said...

It is good to be like Marta. Complaining about life will never do any good. It is better to take life as light as possible

Thanks for sharing that. Really awesome.

bliu94 said...

Dr. Loeb, this post was heartbreaking yet encouraging. I observed you a few times in peds onc clinic and it is very inspirational to read about the emotional approach behind your care that complements the scientific aspect of being a physician.

Lee lomoljo said...

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On behalf of the Physician Nexus Team

Kathy Garolsky said...

Good post here.Thanks for sharing this info.

Paul said...

I have read just a small part of your blog so far - it is a bit close to the knuckle right now, but incredibly helpful too. My baby boy has just started treatment for an undifferentiated spinal sarcoma, and I have started my own blog of our experiences, I would be extremely grateful if you might find the time to add it to your list of relevant blogs, and maybe even have a look at it yourself from time to time.

I will read the rest of your blog as I find the courage to do so

Many thanks


Mrsmumi said...

You're such an inspiration doctor!

Unknown said...

I hope to become a pediatric oncologist one day and this blog is a great reminder of what I am working towards.

Sally said...

I have so much respect for what you do. It must be an insanely difficult job that requires an incredible amount of fortitude, I look forward to reading more and wish you the best.