Friday, May 23, 2008

Make It Happen

The Moment is Yours--Define It. I keep this phrase in front of me all the time. This moment is what we have--we can make it count or we can let it slip away. All it takes is one small pebble tossed into the water to create ripples that expand across a waterway. Please, let's take this moment and turn ripples into tidal waves. As a community there are too many of us touched by cancer. I wish I had the magic wand to make it all go away. I know there are answers--I know we are on the edge of winning many of the battles. The war against cancer, to end it, to make it less than nothing, may take some time. What we can do is make it better for those who do have cancer and for those who take care of and love those cancer patients.

We must make the idea of an Urgent Care Cancer Clinic a reality. We need to care for those we love and cherish with the skill and knowledge of the large cancer clinics that dot the world. It is possible to make things better, more comfortable, more efficient, more kind right here in Springfield.

We need this clinic. It makes sense. It is the right thing to do. It will provide a place for urgent care needs of cancer patients; it will provide a place to meditate, pray or just regain focus for patients and caregivers; it will provide a research base that helps cancer patients find clinical trials. When Jeff was diagnosed he and I pored through websites trying to find protocols that would help. We had to go to page after page of websites and then we were stumped by the application process and the medical terminology. Did he qualify or not? This clinic and others like it can provide information that presents all the clinical trials available for a specific cancer diagnosis. This system should allow for information to be taken once and disseminated to every trial that is available. Time is a precious thing when one is trying to find a way through the maze of treatment options. If a single application could be used as the resource for all clinical trial program it would be possible for a patient to qualify for treatments and then decide with his or her oncologist which one makes sense for them. We had great opportunities at MD Anderson, but I was always searching for other break throughs at other clinics. Even when I found things that looked promising there was the paperwork nightmare to be addressed. Getting labs and MRI's in the right hands to see what the options were. Why can't we warehouse this basic information in a database. Jeff had more MRI's in six months than most households have in a lifetime.

Another goal of the foundation is to provide a mobile cancer clinic. It is a necessary treatment option. If hospice can provide end of life services in such a gracious, loving and complete manner, why can't we provide something similar for those who are fighting for their lives? Why shouldn't a clinic be available that can visit the patients who are too sick to get out of bed and wait at the doctor's office just to check oxygen levels or have blood drawn or to pick up prescriptions? When Jeff finished biochemo he was so nauseated that movement sent him into spirals of dizziness and vomiting that would bring a 49er's Linebacker to his knees and in tears. But he was expected to get up, get dressed and go to the doctor's office and wait endlessly so they could check how nauseated he was, what his blood counts were and how well he could breathe.

These ideas just touch the surface of what we could do as a community. Let's take the challenge--let's make it better--let's set the bar. We can show the rest of the country that this can be done. The only urgent care cancer clinics should not just be at an MD Anderson or John Wayne Cancer Clinic or the Mayo Clinic. It should be in our backyard.

Join Jeff's Hope. Help those with cancer focus on becoming well and whole. Help them keep their vision of health. The Urgent Care Cancer Clinic can be a reality. It is within reach--all you have to do is reach a little further, try a little harder, focus more clearly and you will see it too.

Email me at . Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

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