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Cancer, responsibility and politics

I was feeling a little overwhelmed today. It was non-stop meetings from the minute I got in this morning until the minute I left this afternoon. I couldn’t close my door for a minute before someone else was banging on it, asking for something. I even got stopped on the way out the door by someone who managed to squeeze another meeting into my calendar tomorrow. “Damn”, I thought, “You start to look a little bit competent and before you know it, everyone wants something.”

But the grim reality is, this morning, I was sitting two chairs away from someone who had cancer. In the past year, he had undergone two surgeries and emaciating chemotherapy. And although I don’t work on the kind of cancer he has, it is my job to find a cure for people like him.

And sometimes I forget.

Too often it seems routine. Just something I do to keep a roof over my head. Or I come out of the gym at dusk pleasantly buzzed that I *have* a gym on my worksite and I can wear jeans to work everyday and it’s just so damn cool to be able to be a student at work. It’s like being in college, forever. I am so damn lucky in that smug creative class kind of way. Or sometimes the stuff I actually do is like a set of tricky games and I think that the whole thing would be a whole lot more entertaining if the application I am using would make noises when I did something wrong or right. And wouldn’t it be great if I got some extra lives so that I could get to the next level.

And then it hits me that there are people out there desperately waiting for me to stop playing games and do something or they will run out of the life they have. Maybe it would be better if there was a little bar at the top of my screen that indicated the amount of life left on one of the patients who is waiting for this cure that is still years away.

It’s a lot of responsibility. Oh, it’s not *all* mine. I have to share that with all of my colleagues. And I have to persuade them to try my ideas and show them what I’ve done and get them to make it and test it and tell me what worked and didn’t work and sometimes, I just ask them to trust me, it is worth the extra work, there will be a reward. It is hard work and there are many failures but every once in awhile, that trust pays off and we get a little further down the road. We understand the problem a little more. But time is never on our side and we tend to forget that there are people in pain, people who are scared and their beloveds who are scared for them.

It it too easy to disconnect from your goal. To think you can get away with a pretty presentation. And it is much harder to work diligently and put that extra level of commitment into it. And our country is like an ailing patient but the symptoms are only now beginning to present themselves. And it isn’t a game. This is real people’s lives.

Ok, I’m done moralizing.

15 Responses

  1. You must be a really caring person. this post proves that you really care about your patients. My uncle in his own way kind of got this message just as you did. He was a doctor for many years and then one day he just got cancer. It just totally changed his life. I guess it was a major awakening moment for him. It made him realize what it meant to have cancer.

  2. I have been diagnosed with beginning stages of multiple myeloma…..no insurance…..which is why I support Hillary…

  3. I’m not a doctor. I don’t know the people I’m working for. But it shouldn’t matter. And my point is that I care far less than I should. It’s not just a job or the next rung up the ladder. There is a reason why I do what I do. Sometimes I forget.

  4. Athyrio: There are people working on these illnesses all over the world. The pace of the science and technology is accelerating. We learn new things everyday. Hang in there.

  5. Wow. My mom is a 3 time cancer survivor. 20 30! years ago her colon cancer which had been in remission metastasized in her liver & at the time no one had survived that.

    She was VERY lucky to be one of the first to get the treatment where they ran a tube right into her liver to flood it directly with chemo therapy.

    So my family has directly benefited from the brave new ideas in cancer treatment. Thank you and everyone you work with. You do save lives.

  6. My sister is battling mouth cancer, caused by the HPV virus. Make sure your daughters and SONS get the new vaccine. It is brutal to watch her, I don’t understand Obama. We all need National Health Care. We need it to cover everyone.

  7. Two down here in just the recent past. Yeah, there’s a reason we went to school til we were 30 and work til late at night.
    Nice post.
    No new laptop for me — must custom order 😦

  8. BFF: What are you going to custom order? Are you getting a Mac or a PC?

  9. 15″ Mac. I want non-default harddisk.

  10. BFF: You are very high maintenance.

  11. But *so* worth it 😉

  12. Another long day tomorrow. Night, night.

  13. Thanks Riverdaughter am hanging and praying for health care as I have maxed out of mine so am out of luck without UHC

  14. ciao, caro

  15. Ciao, bella

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