Thursday, 29 March 2007

Death and Suffering Keeps Me Motivated

These last few weeks I got little closer to the number 1 motivating factor behind MedWorm. Illness. I've been spending my time collecting blogs to enter into MedWorm. Initially I was just going to focus on blogs from medical professionals - but after stumbling across several very moving patient blogs I realised that it was essential to add those too.

Reading personal accounts of how people are living with illnesses reminds you just how precious life is. If you haven't got any, why not add a few patient blogs to your reading list. Here's a few from people either living with or trying to fight against cancer:

I know that a lot of physicians will often try and detach themselves from the human side of their patients - I can't imagine how anyone could cope with so much suffering without doing this to a certain extent - but surely it is when a doctor, or nurse, or someone in medical research, allows themselves to get in touch with their patients' feelings, that really wonderful work is done. I have no doubt that it will be patients and medical professionals working together that will see the real advances in medical science and care in the future, and I think MedWorm can play its small part in this revolution.

One thing that really struck me when looking for blogs on particular illnesses is that many links actually led me to blogs from people that had since died - although I might add very much still alive via the words they left in their blogs. Account after account of heart wrenching diaries that you could follow through from first diagnosis, through their ups and downs on various paths of treatment, and always with family and friends that were directly effected by their torment. Of course the most upsetting stories are when children are involved - sometimes they are the ones that are ill, and sometimes they are the ones left without a parent.

Have you ever noticed how its the really nice people that get sick? Or maybe suffering is what makes people really nice? But what a waste! When someone is taken away from their loved ones when they have so much more to give. And why oh why is anyone still suffering with cancer in this day and age?

Here's some facts that infuriate me:
- Over $400 billion was spent on the American military last year:
- The AAAS predicts that the Department of Defense could have a budget exceeding $600 billion in 2008
- Only about $28 billion was spent on medical research (NIH) in 2006, of which less than $5 billion was spent on cancer research.
- The Department of Defence research and development budget is set to increase to a record $79 billion in 2008, which includes more than a 5% increase in the development of weapons (an all time high of over $68 billion) and also includes a slash in the DOD spending on general science and technology (basic research, applied research, medical research, and technology development) by more than 20 percent down to less than $11 billion, just over 2% of their total R&D budget
-Whilst budgets for R&D in defense are rising, the budget for R&D in health is falling - down 1% from 2007 to 2008, set at less than $28.8 billion.
- To summarise, America spends more than one and a half times more developing weapons than it does on medical research.

OK, so I'm not American, but if I was, I would definitely want my taxes spent on medical research much more than I would weaponry research. Lets just look at this selfishly for a moment - there's a much greater chance that someone in my family will develop cancer, in fact of developing cancer myself, than being attacked by any terrorist in any way. American statistics for 2001 to 2003 say I have a 1 in 3 chance of developing some kind of invasive cancer before I die - if I was male this would rise to a 1 in 2 chance

Sad fact is, most of us never really consider the importance of medical research, until we are directly effected by illness - and then we might be so exhausted from our suffering, that we don't have much energy left for campaigning - or we might die and fall silent altogether.

I suggest everyone who is not yet effected by illness start reading some blogs from people who are living with illness on a daily basis to get in touch with reality. After spending just one day reading I was touched - I shared a few of the stories with my husband, who is a doctor. He looked at me with his medical insight and said "You have no idea - you just don't know what is going on - what people are facing every day..."

This is all the motivation I need to persevere in making MedWorm the best it can be. If I can help just a few of these people get better information, either for themselves, or to treat a patient, then it has got to be worthwhile. When I look at my precious 2 year old son and delightful daughter, I can't imagine how I would handle any serious illness touching them - I go to pieces when he my baby has a common cold - please God protect them - it's more than my life is worth. MedWorm for me is like health insurance - I work hard on it now, and Heaven forbid I should ever need some good medical research, at least I won't have a sudden panic trying to get my hands on the information I need.

I was going to blog about all the projects I have worked on previously - things I have started with great enthusiasm, but for which the taste has gone stale after a while as I ask myself what is the purpose of the project. All seems a little trivial after reading blogs that really matter.

So just one tip for you, to get me back on the topic of success - if you want to really succeed in life, find a higher purpose. Something that will motivate you to keep working hard after the initial excitement has passed. Something good, that will satisfy your soul.

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