May 26, 2011

Cancer, Determination, and Librarianship

Lately I’ve been reading The emperor of all maladies: a biography of cancer by Siddhartha Mukherjee. It’s been a fascinating read, especially in light of my mother’s current battle with cancer.
Mukherjee‘s broad treatment of the history of cancer includes a few chapters of Sidney Farber, who championed the research of the use of chemicals to treat cancer, especially leukemia. The use of chemicals, now referred to as chemotherapy, was unheard of in the 1940s. In 1948 Farber published a paper which described his use of chemicals to treat leukemia. His paper was received by the medical world “with skepticism, disbelief, and outrage.”

I write this blog post not as a book review. I don’t review books. I'm writing this post because Farber was a practitioner who believed in his work with every fiber in his body. With the publication of his findings, Farber …."was throwing down a gauntlet for cancer medicine. It was then up to an entire generation of doctors and scientist to pick it up.”

He was one brave and very determined man. It’s not hard to imagine the sneers and jeers he must have received. He not only stood up to doctors and scientists (they can be a feisty lot), but he challenged everyone with his amazing discovery.

His determination and strength impress me enough to post on my dusty blog. As school librarians, we have to push ahead with strength and determination…in spite of some teachers’ eye-rolling and resistance.

I’m not sure what next year’s budget axe will bring. I might not even have a job.

But I’m going to do my best to remember Farber’s willpower in the coming months. And if do still have a school librarian position next year, I’m going to remember Farber’s fearless determination. I hope you will too.

Thanks for stopping by my blog.

May 24, 2011

Ugh. Here we go again...

My mother's reaction to her chemotherapy has taken a sudden nose dive. On Mother's Day she had to be hosptialized due to the ill-effects of the chemo.
Instead of killing the little bit of cancer left in her body, it was killing her.
It was then that I had to make the very tough decision to withdraw from the 2011 Seminar.
I want someone else to be selected to go in my place. 
*big sigh

Now I'm starting to see similarities with family cancer-care and with my dream to someday visit India on a Fulbright-Hays Seminar.
They are both long journeys, in a way...
And with ANY long journey, I have to:
  • stay organized;
  • stay informed;
  • accept the fact that there is no straight and simple path;
  • never ever assume anything; and
  • always expect the unexpected.
I want to thank my friends and colleagues for your prayers and kind wishes.
When the world says, "Give up,"
Hope whispers, "Try it one more time."
~Author Unknown