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As patients, more and more of us have much to be thankful for. In the most pronounced cases, we are actually living with a formerly terminal illness. Medical progress has made a difference for us or a loved one.
Often I hear people gripe about complications and side effects. They can be disabling. But here too, the medical people are learning how to limit the risk of complications and ameliorate side effects.
However, we have to keep in mind how powerful some medicines are, like for MS, or rheumatoid arthritis, or cancer. While we wish we had medicines that have no side effects, in the vast majority of illnesses, we are just not there yet.
But can’t we be thankful? As I like to say to fellow cancer survivors, “It sure beats the alternative.” Or as one told me, “I’m just thankful I am on the top side of the grass!” You have to think about that one.
So who do we thank for our survival or our recovery? Do we thank God, if we are religious? Do we thank ourselves for courage to move forward, often through difficult treatments? Yes and yes. But there are others too.
We need to thank medical researchers. These are the folks in white lab coats in labs around the world trying to answer difficult science questions. These are the folks who have now divided cancer, for example, into a thousand different diseases and are trying to develop targeted treatments for each.
They are people like Alana Welma, PhD, at the Huntsman Cancer Institute in Salt Lake City. She has led a team that uses mice to unlock more secrets of why and where breast cancers spread.
When I interviewed her recently, I decided to be a surrogate for all of the patients, including possibly you, who benefit from the research that she and her colleagues do. Patients rarely get to meet a scientist and they rarely get to meet us. It’s time for a BIG thank you to them.
You can hear me thank her for all of us, and see the program, “Exciting Research to Predict if Your Cancer Might Spread” here: http://goo.gl/LtVjL
We also need to thank pioneering patients.