Mirth is God's Medicine: Coping with Cancer as a Physician

Mirth is God's Medicine: Coping with Cancer as a Physician

by M.D. Heather Thompson Buum


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As a primary care physician in her mid-forties, Dr. Heather Thompson Buum is diagnosed with breast cancer; she is now facing multiple medical decisions, this time about her own health. Experiencing the system firsthand informs her future approach in unanticipated ways; what initially seems like a negative event becomes a process of growth and transformation. The story illustrates how a doctor, as both informed medical professional and human being, copes with a new diagnosis and disease. She falls back on what sustained her previously: music, faith, exercise. Along the way, she discovers new coping mechanisms: writing and sharing her story. Opening up to others, finding common ground, allowing authenticity and vulnerability to permeate teaching, mentoring, even patient relationships—this is almost an opposing view to how doctors are trained, to value privacy above all else. The book is filled with stories and scenarios from academic medicine, both humorous and poignant, that illustrate the humanity of us all. Cancer survivors will resonate with many themes, including the emotional roller coaster that accompanies the entire ordeal. Readers will appreciate how she finds humor even in tough situations, sharing amusing anecdotes not only from her cancer journey but also her training and career as a physician.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781941049525
Publisher: Joshua Tree Publishing
Publication date: 04/01/2019
Series: Mirth in Medicine , #1
Pages: 242
Product dimensions: 5.98(w) x 9.02(h) x 0.55(d)

Table of Contents



The Roller Coaster

The Search for a Surgeon

Breaking Bad (Part I)

Breaking Bad (Part II)


The Mentor (Part I)

Meeting the Surgeon

Meeting (Again) the Oncologist

The MRI Saga

The Surgery Date

The OR

Recovery Time

A New Song Gets Stuck in My Head

The Post-Op Appointment

The Mentor (Part II)

Back to Work

More Test Results

Baltimore (Part I)

Baltimore (Part II)

Baltimore (Part III)

You’ve Got Mail

The Mentor (Part III)

The First Run

The Oncology Follow-Up

The Mentor (Part IV)

Tony Appreciation Day

Please Remain Seated

Telemedicine (Part II)

The Driving Range


Physical Therapy

Back to Oratorio

Epilogue: What the Future May Hold

About the Author


Coming Soon: With Mirth and Laughter

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