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January 16, 2005 Internship Journal

I am doing hematology/oncology this month. All of my patients have been cancer patients. I have learned a lot about cancer. I have learned that cancer does not care how old you are. Cancer does not care that you are a single mother with small children at home. Cancer does not care that one type of it attacked you earlier in life and you cured it with surgery because another type of cancer can come back and finish you off. Cancer does not care how much pain you have already suffered through, or how much pain medicine your doctor gives you, it will continue to hurt you. Cancer does not care if you are serving our country, teaching school, fighting crime, or serving the community in any other way. Cancer does not care how strong your spirit is; it will wait out its time, and get you in the end.

As you can see, this month has taken a lot out of me emotionally. As a resident working on the inpatient service, we don't usually see the successful cancer stories. Almost everyone I've seen has come in very sick and has gone home with hospice. I have met some incredibly strong people though who have not let their disease slow them down. I have also met some people who have been slowed down by their disease, but they have not let the cancer touch their spirit. I think their memories will forever be with me.

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