Thursday, September 29, 2011

Why Cancer Can Be Sweet - #4 Medical Science and the Foot Soldiers

For my final post for Childhood Cancer Awareness, I would like to do a shout out for Medicine. And more importantly, those who make it magical.

I used to think medicine was a more exact science. You get sick, they make it better. Problem. Medicine. Healing. Voila.

In truth, that's not how it works.

Over the last 9 years, I have been up to my eyeballs in medicine. Whether I wanted to be or not. I had the pleasure of volunteering and shadowing in the medicine community throughout high school and college, but I did not fully appreciate what "science" really meant.

Science really only promises a clear problem solving pathway while searching for an answer. Wikipedia defines it: "(from Latin: scientia meaning "knowledge") is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe."

TONS of medical break-throughs have come about by accident. Penicillin. Chemotherapy, itself, was a by-product of World War I's Mustard Gas. No Lie.

But the sweet part of cancer that I wanted to highlight are the doctors, nurses, and techs. Anybody can hand out miracles. Joe on the street can pass out drugs. The magnificence of the Oncology profession is that they aren't miracle workers. They will lose kids. They may not win every time. But they come back to work every day. Most of them with a smile and a hug for all those they care for. They constantly steep themselves in loss and illness, sadness and side effects; yet they constantly hand out hope. They are the heroes in the medical world, not because because Oncology is more important, but because they are the Foot Soldiers that unfailingly fight. Day after day, after day.

"Foot Soldiers are those specifically trained for the role of fighting on foot to engage the enemy face to face and have historically borne the brunt of the casualties of combat in wars." - Wikipedia

Is that not the most heroic??

The nurses and techs are the same way. They love their kids and make sure their little bodies are fighting valiantly. They support the parents, they smile, and share normalcy. They fight the cancer dragon face-to-face every day. And come back to fight another day.

The Medal of Honor is given for the "conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his or her life above and beyond the call of duty while engaged in an action against an enemy".

Perhaps they aren't risking their physical life to battle cancer, but I am sure that they face a significant emotional toll. If it was my call, I'd award every last one of those on the floor with Elise with the medical equivalent of the Medal of Honor.

And so, on the final day of Why Cancer is Sweet, I'd like to raise a cheer for Elise's Doctors, Fellows, Nurse Practitioners, Nurses, and Techs. Thank you for fighting with an indomitable spirit for my child's life. Thank you for weathering all the storms. Thank you for wielding the science as a weapon to produce a miracle. Thank you for bringing joy. Thank you for caring. Deeply. Over and over. Every time. Equally.

You are Protectors. Defenders. Warriors. Heroes.

Thank you.

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