The Boring Patient

The Boring Patient

David Lankes

© 2014 R. David Lankes. All rights reserved.

This book is dedicated to the caregivers, without whom cancer would simply be unbearable. In particular, it is dedicated to my caregivers: my wife Anna Maria, my mother Bet, my on-call microbiologist Joe, and the nurses who chose everyday to face down the plague of cancer.


My editor: Nicole Dittrich

My medical fact checker: Joe DeMasi

My early readers: Katheryn Dies, Joe DeMasi, Bet Stephens, Anna Maria Lankes, Meg Backus, Mia Breitkopf, and Hugh Bonner

Liz Liddy and the entire iSchool of Syracuse who provided unbelievable support to me and my family through this journey.

Readers of my blog who didn’t know they were giving me feedback on this book.



Chapter 1: Getting to Know You
Dear Doctors
Dear Medical Student
Dear Heroic Noble Inspiring Cancer Survivor
Dear Everyone Else

Chapter 2: Sick and Tired in Amsterdam
Wired in Cleveland

Chapter 3: Super Bowl Sunday
Surgeons Cut, Anaesthesiologists Worry
Thomas Hodgkin and His Damn Disease

Chapter 4: Dear Bringer of Doom


Chapter 5: My Cancer is Worse Than Yours
The Black Shroud
The Family
It’s Randomness That Gets You

Chapter 6: Too Much information
1 out of 1,000 Experts Agree
What Doctors Can Learn from Professors

Chapter 7: The ROC
My Wife is Xena the Patient Advocate
Ninja with an X-Ray
Positrons and Greedy Cells

Chapter 8: Your Side Effects Will Vary
Neulasta is a Deal with the Devil

Chapter 9: HemOc
The End of Chemo

Chapter 10: Dear Doctor


Chapter 11: Schrödinger’s Cat
Science Fiction Meets the Dark Ages

Chapter 12: ICE ICE Baby
ICE part 2: This time it’s personal
ICE Part 3: You Get the Point

Chapter 13: PET Scans and Water

Chapter 14: Harvest
Mundane Miracles

Chapter 15: A New Birthday
Day 0
Days +1 to +9
Loss of Hope

Chapter 16: Home

Chapter 17: Dear Fellow Cancer Survivor

Epilogue: A Cancer Free Summer

About the Author