I found this post lingering around in my drafts, originally written while I was on OB/GYN. I still remember this patient like I saw her yesterday... I hope she's doing well.
Today I saw a 65 year old woman who was referred to our clinic for an uncomfortable feeling of fullness after eating. She's a fitness nut - she's worked out at least once a day, every day, her whole life. Her family has a nasty history of coronary artery disease, so she took it into her own hands to stay healthy early on.
She eats better than anyone I've ever talked to - green, leafy veggies, nuts, fruits, the occasional grilled chicken. She looks fantastic - I'd peg her at 49, max, if I had to guess. She loves to run, gets up at 5 AM to savor the sunrise. Healthy, healthy, healthy. Huge smile, sparkling blue eyes, perfect teeth. Not a single prior illness listed in her chart.
Her CT scan revealed frank, corrosive, highly metastatic ovarian cancer.
3 of her equally beautiful daughters were in the room with her to receive the news. The four held hands and cried, heads bowed together in a circle of love and grief. One daughter, tears coursing down her face, hugged the doctor and thanked her for her compassion.
It was a beautiful moment, but this is no Hollywood movie. There will be no happy ending - but it's comforting to know that there will be so many people there for her, loving and supporting her to the end.