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Simone's OncOpinion

This is a note to say how very much my wife and I have both enjoyed Dr. Joe Simone's column through the years. I am a 70-year-old radiation oncologist, and my wife is a marriage and family therapist. I have spent most of my career in a community hospital setting-25 years as chief of an ever-growing department before semi-retirement, while my wife worked for many years doing grief counseling in our local hospice before moving into working with juveniles in the field of Restorative Justice.

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Often when we take driving trips I find myself reading the column aloud to her while she drives. We find his columns to be insightful, thought-provoking, informative, compassionate, and capable of making us ponder things we had not previously considered, or making us reconsider ideas we have taken for granted. His writing has contributed to our lives, and I'm sure to the lives of many others, in so ways, and we are very grateful for that.


I have often lamented the fact that so many of my teachers will never know the incredible contributions they made to my life as a physician and a human being. This is primarily because I never took the time to tell them, or to even recognize their gift to me until years later. But today, after reading the column on Adapting to Aging (1/10/14 issue), Wendy said, "You should write and tell him how much we enjoy his columns." Sounded like a good idea to me.


It seems unlikely that we will ever meet Joe Simone, but getting to know him through his writing has been a true pleasure.


Richard F. Evans, MD


From Joe Simone:

Thank you so much for your note. Your generosity is appreciated very much. I am grateful to have readers who can connect with some of my personal musings. I am very blessed that I have the freedom here at Oncology Times to write on a broad array of topics, many of which are not specifically connected to oncology or even medicine. I must say that I love writing the columns and I have recently also been talked into also writing a blog about medical careers and such. I have been blessed by having jobs I enjoyed most of my life (not counting three summers working on a construction gang).


I wish both of you all the best as you "adapt to aging." I see that as another career that should be treated as such. Too many people become overly passive in their later years-that is no fun and does not use our intellectual and physical resources, diminished as they may be, that can provide joy and purpose.


Wendy Harpham's 'Other Side of the Stethoscope'

Although I very much enjoy reading all of Wendy Harpham's columns, the one on "Distressing Decisions" (12/25/13 issue) encapsulated the distress of both the patient and the physician and should be read by all med students. It is filled with grace and wisdom and will allow those with such dreadful decisions to have the opportunity to take a deep breath knowing that they and their doctors have done their best. The conclusion is one that is life-saving and enriching for all. It is in the periods of uncertainty when our common humanity is most needed, and she expressed that so well.


Kudos, and keep writing!


Inge Corless, PhD, RN, FAAN




MGH Institute of Health Professions


Boston, Mass.


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