My relationship with the Sarcoma department here has been a very good one, and one that has transcended simply training and patient care. Immediately before I left for Oxford, my neighbor and friend +Ray Paul came to my house and asked me to feel a lump on his side...
It turned out that Ray had a myxofibrosarcoma, and a nasty one at that. Honestly, things looked pretty bleak for a while, but now, after 4 surgeries (flank, thigh, and two in the lung), two bouts of radiation therapy (flank and thigh), two clinical trials (immunotherapy and a novel tyrosine kinase inhibitor) he is NED - nearly 4 years later. Incredible, and wonderful.
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Much of Ray's story can be read on a previous post of mine on the +TEDMED blog that discusses the healing power that Ray's own art had for him (updated here). A project he began, called My Sarcoma, during which Ray painted over the top of his OWN histology images, transformed Ray from a sick and dying patient back into a living and vibrant artist. Watching and participating was a real honor. This culminated in a beautiful opening of his art at Moffitt which received both local news attention and a national story shared with another Moffitt patient Michelle Boyd DeJong on the healing power of creativity.
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Each of the paintings that Ray has made during this journey has had more than just Ray's hands involved. Indeed, to make the paintings as you see them, a surgeon had to cut out his tumor, a pathologist had to stain and mount the tissue and a screen printer had to prepare the canvas. As an offshoot of this collaboration, our Sarcoma pathologist, Marilyn Bui, and Ray continued to talk and brainstorm, and a new project was born, a book entitled Healing Art of Pathology.
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Sponsored by the College of American Pathologists, this book will be a compilation of art derived from, or inspired by, pathology - the study of disease. They are seeking submissions now, with a deadline of September 1st from the art and medical world (including patients) the world over. More details can be found in the attached letter.
"Please send all submissions and/or address any questions to Caryn Tursky, CAP Press Acquisitions and Development Editor, at firstname.lastname@example.org by September 1, 2015. Please make the subject of the email “Healing Art Submission.”"
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Ray's project, My Sarcoma, featured here can be seen as well on his website raypaulart.com