The couple and the baker have a real exchange. It becomes a way to transcend anger. Doctors hate feeling helpless. But it doesn’t matter that the baker doesn’t have all of the answers. He offers what he can—empathy.
How are you doing now?
My MRIs are showing more cancer and more swelling of the brain. I’ve been on a chemotherapy regimen directed by Dr. Ingo Mellinghoff at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York. Through Mellinghoff, I was also able to get into an experimental trial of a new type of drug at a research institute in Nashville.
I am feeling fatigued. I don’t want to feel like I’ve been cheated by life. It’s my job to have the best possible life. There are some patients who have lived a long time with this, and I hope I’m one of them.
Why are you still teaching medical students?
I want them to know that they should acknowledge patients with serious illness. It is not an admission of fault or hopelessness. I want them to make the human connection. Teaching is a way for me to make that connection and, perhaps, to make a small piece of myself immortal.