This week, I have been posting several articles about former president Jimmy Carter’s announcement of his cancer, that the cancer has already spread to his brain, and reaction of the public to those announcements. Clearly, prognosis is not good – but even in this situation, President Carter seems able to teach us a great deal about grace and living with gratitude.
This week, I am posting several articles about former president Jimmy Carter, his cancer announcement, and the reaction of the public to that situation. Today’s article is about a beautiful step taken by several people down in Georgia – printing and posting yard signs similar to the political yard signs used by everyone running for office, from running for city council to running for president. The signs simply read “Jimmy Carter for Cancer Survivor.”
I’ll say the obvious right up front: I have been very impressed with Jimmy Carter as a former president. In fact, I would go so far as to say that he is probably the most effective former president that the US has ever had. Through his work with the Carter Center to fight disease and to promote democracy, he has accomplished much for the world rather than simply sitting on boards of directors and becoming wealthy.
I am very excited about how healthcare is about to change dramatically with applications of new technologies. Cancer will be directly addressed by medications tailored specifically to attack it on the genetic level. The world’s experts will expand their reach via better telecommunications and telemedicine. A new symbiotic relationship between surgeon and surgical robot will allow precision in surgery to grow by leaps and bounds. Constant monitoring will allow health professionals to know about and treat conditions before they become emergencies.
I was incredibly fortunate today. A friend, who is an attending surgeon at Stanford, arranged a training session for his residents at Intuitive Surgical today, and he very generously invited my wife, my younger daughter and me to come and participate. He knew that my cancer surgery last fall was performed with Intuitive’s da Vinci robotic surgery system and was giving me and my family the opportunity to learn more about that system. Plus, he knew that my younger daughter is thinking about going to medical school and was providing for her a glimpse behind the scenes into a training session for budding young surgeons.
Inertia can be very helpful – get a good habit started and it keeps itself going. But it can also be a royal pain. In April and May, I was making good progress turning my Daily Cancer Journal into a book. Then I set it aside as my daughter graduated from high school and the family vacationed in Spain and Morocco. Even though I have been back home for about three weeks, I have not yet gotten back to working on the book every day. It is time for that to change!