The Double-Edged Sword Of Hope

Photo: Albion Europe ApS

I’ve taken care of many patients with cancer throughout my career, but one in particular stands out in my mind, a forty-year-old journalist who came to me with a diagnosis of a grade IV glioblastoma—a malignant brain tumor with an almost uniformly fatal prognosis. The reason I remember him so […]

Crazy Makers

Photo: Maks Karochkin

“The Buddha’s compassion is perfectly equal and impartial. The Buddha views all beings as his own children and strives to elevate them to attain his same enlightened state of life. It’s not that there are no differences among people. Rather, it’s that the Buddha, while fully recognizing people’s differences, does […]

Celebrating Birthdays

Photo: Aih

One week ago, my family and I celebrated my father’s 75th birthday. Even writing that number I find shocking (probably almost as shocking as my father finds reading it). Birthdays have always represented the most important of all celebrations in my family—more important certainly than any local or national holidays. What, after […]

How To Comfort Yourself

Photo: pipitdapo

The other week, a patient of mine told me he’d recently come to the realization that he has a tendency to become almost embarrassingly needy in certain situations, something he attributed to several early childhood experiences. When he was three, he told me, his five-year-old sister died of cancer. He doesn’t specifically […]

The Rippling Effect

Photo: A6U571N

Several years ago, a graduating medical school class invited me to be a guest at their graduation dinner. A resident with whom I’d worked previously had also been invited and was scheduled to speak. When the time came for her to make her remarks, she began by telling a story of a […]

The Joy Of Not Hurrying

Photo: Autistic Psycho

The other day I found myself standing in a long line to buy breakfast in my hospital’s cafeteria when I noticed something that surprised me: I wasn’t feeling annoyed at having to wait. In the past, such a delay to the start of my day—to any part of my day, really—would […]


Photo: Ms. Phoenix

Over a decade ago, I did something about which I remain ashamed to this day: I broke a promise to someone in a way that hurt her terribly. I rationalized my decision by arguing that I hadn’t wanted to make the promise in the first place but had been pressured into […]

When The Love Of Your Life Doesn’t Love You

Photo: Lance Shields

A few weeks ago, a friend of mine told me about a particularly painful breakup he’d gone through recently. His girlfriend had decided she no longer wanted to be with him and had summarily cut him out of her life. Naturally, he yearned for an explanation and some closure, so he […]

How Touching Saves Lives

Photo: Josep Ma. Rosell

When I was a fourth-year medical student, I once did a month-long rotation in the ER. One night a woman came in who we decided needed some lab work. When I let her know we needed to draw her blood, she began to tremble visibly. “I’m scared of needles,” she […]

When You Don't Like Yourself

Photo: erix!

Some people have the misfortune to have been born to abusive parents who belittled them and prevented them from developing a healthy self-esteem. Others are born predisposed to view themselves in a negative light because of their physical appearance, a disability, or for no reason anyone, including themselves, knows. Research has consistently […]