Voices

08  Feb  13 b-j-rimel category B.J. Rimel

‘Is my chemotherapy vegan?’ | B.J. Rimel, MD

BJ Rimel_headshot 2“Is my chemotherapy vegan?”

Despite my 12 years of post-graduate training, I was completely floored by this question.  To be honest, my initial response was not what it could have been.

“I have no earthly idea,” I said, in my best doctor voice.  I left the clinic feeling completely incredulous that anyone with a life-threatening cancer would care if their chemo was in any way associated with animal products.  As a new attending, I initially felt righteous that I had not given in to a long discussion about non-evidence based treatments, and instead steered our conversation back to symptom management, dosing schedule and a review of the side effects she was likely to experience.

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Voices

02  Jan  13 b-j-rimel category B.J. Rimel

New Year’s Resolutions | B.J. Rimel, MD

This New Year, 2013, marks the year of the snake, the Jewish year 5773-5774 and my second year in practice.  Gynecologic oncology is a career that thrills me with the promise of exciting days in the OR.  Performing surgery is one of the most fulfilling things we get to do in our practice and it is often the start of the long relationship we have with our patients. Our cases tend to be complex, even when the pathology is benign, leading to long operative times and missed evening plans.

Time in clinic is also rewarding; seeing patients who are doing well is one of my favorite activities.  However, when patients are struggling it can be exhausting.  Frequently, there is too much to say and too little time.  This leaves me with a sense of unfinished business that tugs at my conscience in the early hours of the morning.  Sleep is already a luxury destroyed by my 10 month old who keeps strictly New York hours in my Los Angeles home.

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