In the past, I have always written about breast cancer or research. Today I am going to write something different. I figure maybe readers are interested in me and some of things that I do.
Two and a half years ago, I closed my clinical practice after 35 years as a medical oncologist. I confess I have no regrets. I loved my practice with the many challenges it brought. Helping patients was very rewarding, but it was time for me to move on.
I figured I would transition into retirement. Alas, not so. I continue to do research, leading the Ontario Clinical Oncology Group (OCOG) which is based next door to the JCC. We work with a network of researchers from the JCC, Ontario and Canada to design and conduct cancer clinical trials.
I also am the Scientific Director of the Escarpment Cancer Research Institute (ECRI), which is a joint Research Institute of Hamilton Health Sciences and McMaster University. ECRI has about 15 cancer researchers conducting a broad spectrum of cancer research.
I have also had the time to explore two new areas of research, which has been lots of fun. The first is the use of cannabis in cancer pain. We have almost completed a trial examining how to dose oral cannabis. This is breaking new ground as, in truth, so little is known about medicinal cannabis.
The second is the use of digital technology, e.g. artificial intelligence, to advance cancer care. I also spend much time mentoring young people in cancer research.
What about my personal life?
Early every morning, I go to the Y to swim laps or I go to the Mountain Arena to skate. I do lots of thinking during these moments. Then I come home to have coffee with the Boss (my wife) and next it is time to start the day. I am blessed with three healthy, wonderful grandchildren who give me and my wife so much nachas (Yiddish word for pleasure).
As if I didn’t have enough to do, six months ago I became the co-president of my synagogue. Oh my god! There is never a dull moment and every day there is a new problem that has to be dealt with.
In recent months, I have started to do really goofy things. For example, we went to New York City two weeks ago to visit our daughter.
It was amazing. We went to Frozen on Broadway and I taught our four-year old grandchild to skate. When I got back to Hamilton, I could not find my keys (house and office). Despite looking high and low, I could not find them. That is because I left them in my daughter’s apartment in New York!
Then I could not find my blue wool sweater. I figured I left it in NYC too, but my daughter could not find it. Several days later, it was found in the synagogue where I go to worship.
There are many other examples of goofy things and those close to me were wondering about early dementia? When I described what was happening to BRIGHT Chair Nancy McMillan, she made the diagnosis. It is called “in the moment,” which means I am already off to the next thought before I finish the current one!
Seriously, this is a symptom of a very content doc in pink tights! In my next article, I promise to get back to breast cancer and research.