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Archive for February, 2015

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Protect those hands, RIP Coach , Katy and brother David

Tuesday, February 24th, 2015

I take care of a lot of actinic keratoses, skin cancers and brown spots/loose skin on the hands. We all pummel our hand skin with sun while driving. Glove-wise it has been hard to find a great comfortable and decent looking alternative. Bloxsun is a new brand of fingertip-less gloves which fit really well and come in a handy sack. It retails for $40 and we are one of the first dermatologist offices to carry them in the state. They come in Small (which is really small) and Medium/Large. I think they are marketed just to women (I think the pink ribbon gives it away) but any man with smaller hands may fit.

If you are interested in them, please call my assistants and they can run it down to your car at our building curbside. How’s that for service?

These would have come in handy for one of my late patients who succumbed to a large hand squamous cell carcinoma. He was a high school baseball coach and had had his lesions treated by another dermatologist with lots of laser and liquid nitrogen. One of his cancers,which took up the entire back of his hand got away from us (according to Dr. Bennett it went between the tendons of the hand). I was the one to put his skin graft on. I had taught him how to check his own lymph nodes after his surgery, he caught his own metastasis and put up a good fight for quite a while. Not to scare you or anything, but Coach M is probably looking down and hoping someone will start to use these! RIP Coach. I miss your fighting spirit and positive attitude.

On another personal note, I found out my college roommate Katy Roth (Dr. Katharine Kellond Roth) died in December. She was my year-long roommate at Oxford. Her parents are the late Senator William Roth of Delaware and The Honorable Jane Richards Roth, a federal judge. She was the first person I met when I stepped onto campus, and I quickly found out how important of a family she came from. This actually embarrassed her. But what I loved most about Katy, despite making her debut in Paris, is that she was humble and kind. She liked to talk about her family’s beat up American cars and how she liked to hatch plans to “rebel” against them, unsuccessfully. She tried to play the rebel, but clearly couldn’t quite do it. What we did have in common was a need to keep up appearances and not embarrass the family. I think we both did OK in that department! I thought about her several times in the past few years but failed to reach out-I couldn’t find her address. It turns out she was a hospice/palliative care doctor and probably didn’t really have an office. She pursued medicine long after we left and apparently was suffering with Behcet’s syndrome all throughout. I just reconnected with another friend of mine from Oxford and she told me that despite being really sick a few months ago, she was still making her laugh.

I am also honoring my late brother, David Shim, MD today. It is his birthday today and he would have been 50.

I challenge all of you to think about someone that you haven’t contacted in a while, but meant a lot to you at one point in your life, and try to just say “Hi!” Stop thinking it might not be a good idea, because chances are they’d be glad to hear from you. Unless you owe them money…

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Efudex and pets

Saturday, February 7th, 2015

For patients with extensive precancers (actinic keratoses) we often prescribe a topical chemotherapy cream called Efudex (5-Flourouracil). It is little known, even amongst dermatologists, that this medicine is fatal to pets. It has been around for ages, though many dermatologists do not know about this. I learned this from attending a grand rounds lecture. Spread the word!

On a more pleasant note, looking forward to Valentine’s Day!

Lovely and Amazing!

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