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Physician, Cancer Survivor, Author

Exploring the journey from doctor to patient…and back

As a practicing physician, I was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 44, and abruptly entered the health care system for (almost) the first time as a patient. Despite my medical background, it was still quite a journey, and so I began to write about it.

Soon the story expanded beyond my health situation to include how it changed me as a doctor, a parent, a spouse, a friend, and a teacher of medical students and residents at the University of Minnesota. My writing also contains a fair amount of humor, hence “Mirth” in both titles.

Ultimately, my purpose is to bring hope and encouragement as well as practical advice and perspective to others who find themselves facing a health crisis. I also strive to capture and share the joy in medicine in an era of rising burnout, by including patient stories and teaching scenarios that inspire us all.

Mirth is God’s Medicine. Everyone should bathe in it. Grim care, moroseness, anxiety–all the rust of life–ought to be scoured off with the oil of mirth.

henry ward beecher

“From her own encounter with breast cancer, Dr. Thompson fashions a heartfelt, sharply-observed account of how her life changed for the better. She’s a beacon to her practice, her students, and her family. A vibrant, touching, honest work.”

–Samuel Shem, M.D., Professor of Medicine at NYU and author of The House of God and Man’s Fourth Best Hospital

Latest Blog Posts

To B or Not to B

Last fall, I was invited to give a talk to a group of breast cancer survivors known as the Firefly Sisterhood. Prior to the presentation I met with a very nice woman who was organizing it, also a survivor herself; of course, we got to talking about all things breast cancer related, including the currentContinue reading “To B or Not to B”

We Are Winning

In light of the alarming numbers and news reports regarding the omicron variant, I just had to share highlights of a group conversation in my clinic this morning that I felt would be a welcome note of positivity. In short: we are winning. While cases have spiked to as high as >10,000 per day inContinue reading “We Are Winning”