resect (/rəˈsekt/, v.)
to excise a segment of a part

from Latin resectus, “to cut off, cut loose, curtail;” from re- + secare “to cut”

I meet her the morning after her tumor is resected and she receives us lying in bed, thin, bony-shouldered but bright, and says when they told me I had a brain tumor I lay awake all night and walked outside into the morning where it was cool and I swear I could taste little changes in the humidity.

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Out of the Chaos

In medical school we are taught the secrets of life. With our first steps into the anatomy lab, we are christened by the formaldehyde-thick air into an order devoted to unraveling the mysteries of human existence. We learn physiology, biochemistry, neuroscience – how our bodies run and breathe and feel. Under the bright surgical lamps, the mundane acts of living are illuminated to a new depth: walking becomes a complex example of synchronous muscle activation, looking at a painting is a neural exercise in extracting images from light and shadow, and eating a sandwich is enchanted by layers and layers of molecular wizardry that turns our PB&J into us. There is a simultaneous bigness and smallness to this: the humility in the awe of nature, and the powerful thrill of knowing we’ll learn to command it.

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