2 Minutes

I have been in practice now for 10 years, not counting my training and medical schooling. My practice and approach to patient care has evolved over time. I started blogging 1 year ago, and this has uncovered emotions in me that I did not know existed, and has proved to be an amazing way to communicate with my patients. Comments from readers, friends and family have opened my eyes to a side of cancer care that I had not been before. Through this I have interacted with so many people at different levels in their own inner struggles.

I think of eyes as cameras capturing moments, faces, and emotions with ears recording snippets of conversations, laughs shaking voices and silence when words do not come out. My brain stores memorable events, in short spurts I connect the events, the decisions, the emotions that they stirred, the results they brought about and this hard drive contributes to my thought processes, my experience, my memories, my regrets and my pride. My life story and those of my patients constitute a switchboard of things that worked, things that were close calls, and things that caused harm. These are powerful, invaluable, and unforgettable events pushing me to share it as science, knowledge and a voice in a blog.

I am thinking about those interactions tonight with those who I have met. I am considering, what it would be like if I was granted 2 minutes to talk to each person again. My excitement builds up as I think who and where? In clinic? Or maybe over dinner, in a speed date format? Or better still in the park or at a party? 2 minutes with each: the dead, the living, the survivors, the fighters, the families and the learners. Would I pitch my thoughts or would I share the many things I have learned? Would I start with those I disappointed, or those I had the most success? What would I say?

Tick tock goes the clock and we all know it goes only one way. At the end of my clinic day, looking back at the many hours spent counseling my patients and making decisions, I believe if I did have the “2 minute” stage with each human I have interacted with I would want to say:

“My decisions were empowered by your choices in life and what were important to you given the knowledge I shared. Please know you have added to my experience that goes forward to help someone else and it is never idle. There is no event that you have faced that goes unnoticed and that I remain in your debt for the knowledge that you have kindly shared.”

Thank you.

2 words that capture much more than 2 minutes could ever have.




8 thoughts on “2 Minutes

  1. Hi Mo,

    I think you’ve already visited my blog and liked a post, “Power is Quiet”. A previous post I wrote was on Leiomyosarcoma. You might find it of interest in the way of sharing experiences around cancer, in this case it involves my sister.

    I’m enjoying your blog, seeing a personal side of an M.D.

    Brenda Usher-Carpino

  2. Mo
    I thank you for everything you have done for me. The University of Iowa is blessed to have you here on staff with them. I could not have a better person helping me with my Melanoma.

    Craig Ireland

  3. Mo,
    Your #1 fan here. I remember my first visit with you very clearly. It was a Friday late afternoon at 2:00 and I had just seen Dr. Bayon for a consult on surgery and you wanted to see me that day. We didn’t even know anything about you and the will of god brought us to you. ( now really what doctor especially a specialist would see a new patient on a Friday of all days) There’s a reason that happened. I am so blessed that I was able to see you that day and my life changed big time that day. I remember you saying with surgery you have a 50% chance that the melanoma could come back. There was something about you Mo that just impressed John and I and it is that down to earth honesty and caring that you have about you that we love. When we first started to come up there I was so scared of doctors and nurses and (needles and I still am) and my blood pressure always goes up but it’s getting better and I will take those 2 minutes anytime my amazing doctor of science.
    Thank you,
    Claire and John Barnhouse

  4. I think the single most important comment Mo made to me during my first visit after my second melanoma surgery, took only a moment in time. I mentioned my odds of getting it again had just jumped from 5% to 40%, and he simply said “choose to live in the 60 percent”. I hope I would have anyway, but to have it said so succinctly and so matter-of-factly, made an impact. It was such a clear and positive directive, from someone who obviously, had been down this road before. This was finally something I could do! So, much can be expressed in a very short period of time. Thank you to you as well sir, and to all those other teacher-patients we’ve become partners with during this journey.

  5. I thank you Mo for sharing a doctor’s point of view, the side of a doctor we patients never really see. I have tried to remember you as I go to all the various appointments over the past two weeks and remember the doctors are just as human as I am and just as vested in seeing me on my way to healing. So thank you for continuing to post and express your own thoughts.

    1. It was a year ago when you first met my dad, John Reper. I feel like you began this “blogging journey” right about the first time you met my brother, father and myself.
      I have followed every post but this one speaks in VOLUMES.
      Thank you for who you are Mo.

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