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In pain, she remembered her books

My sixty-something patient is an articulate woman who speaks excellent English, like schoolteachers of old. The excruciating pain in her low back has been keeping her up all night. The cancer has spread in the sacroiliac spine, announcing its presence as lytic lesions on her scan. On Sunday morning, she smiled at me for the first time—this, despite the recent finding that the cancer has reacher her brain, liver, and lungs. "I had very good sleep," she said. 

"That's life-changing in a good way, isn't it?" I said, smiling beneath my mask and face shield. 

“Doc, I already talked with my pastor."

"That's good."

"I also spoke to the person to whom I will donate my books.”

A reader—my patient is a reader. 

Later, I will ask her what books she reads, and I hope that she smiles again.

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