I was invited to speak about locating quality health information on the Internet at a conference for brain tumor patients and their caregivers. The last session of the conference was open questions to a panel made up of all speakers, including me. I sat next to my very own radiation oncologist (the one that worked so hard with me in 2006 for 6 weeks to eliminate any growing tendencies in my residual ACC cells!) and other experts on surgery, neurology, social work, and psychology. No one asked me any questions--that was ok. I knew I was witnessing something very special as I heard the questions and answers start flying. It was an honor to see the care flow in tangible ways, especially after the last couple of weeks when health care discussions have stalled our entire Nation. The care that the health professionals included in their answers to some very, very hard questions was wonderful to see, as was the relaxation, relief, and determination in the faces of the patients and caregivers when they heard the answers.
I meet with health professionals daily at work as a fellow faculty member and part of the larger organization that is our medical center. I get to visit a handful of them as a patient, when I have a different relationship with them, very personal and vital to my life. What I witnessed yesterday was something even greater. I watched as other patients and caregivers, walking paths similar or much more difficult than my own, interacted with dedicated health professionals, together working towards solving chronic or returning conditions with the goal of improving or maintaining the ever precious quality of life. Health is personal and requires a lot of care. I am so proud to work at a place that hires professionals that know that and practice it as a way of life. And I am even more awed at the strength of my fellow humans who are living gloriously, casting shadows daily.