Ed’s Story: The Dragon Chronicles: (Personal reflection on being Ed’s Radiation Oncologist)

By Maureen Holmes May 13, 2019

About 10 years ago I met a spirited young man, Ed, who had a bad bone cancer.  Ed was perhaps the most dynamic and provocative person I have ever treated. It was not easy. His story is both tragic and incredibly inspirational.  After Ed died the Humanities in Medicine program at Dalhousie University’s commissioned a 45-minute play about his life. They interviewed 11 of Ed’s friends and family and 14 Health Care Professionals who knew Ed (the transcriptions of the interviews were used verbatim for the script). The play can be viewed as a three-part YouTube series found at

Part 1 – https://youtu.be/znXC_4Uw_lA

Part 2 – https://youtu.be/RnzVEgCxUVs

Part 3 – https://youtu.be/N0RhdbYh7dU

A couple of days ago I watched the play with a group of second year medical students. (It’s a bit strange to see myself as a character in a play – even if I only had a few lines). I had tears in my eyes.  I told the group afterwards it was cathartic to be interviewed as it’s rare for Health Care Professionals to have an opportunity to express their grief. 

One of the medical students asked what I learned from being Ed’s Radiation Oncologist.  My response: No matter what role we play in life, I think it’s important for all of us to have at least one person in our lives with whom we can sit them down and say “I want you to listen to what I have to say without trying to correct the problem – just hear me out. …. I had a really tough day. I felt really (sad, upset)…… 

Secondly, I told them that it’s best to find a way to be energized by the people they serve each day. Find their greatness, be inspired by their strength and resilience. Walk away from the conversation lighter on their feet, and better able to serve the next person sitting in front of them.   

Thank you, Ed, for continuing to teach us all.

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