Thursday, May 20, 2010

If only it were that easy . . .

I've been Facebooking a lot lately and one of the people on my friend list, Brad Stephens, had a very thought-provoking question on his status the other day:

Q: You are sitting in a room on the table in front of you is a red button. You have 60 seconds, push the button and a cure to cancer will be found BUT you will die. Don't push and life continues as is. Do you push the button or not and why?

I answered it quickly. Yes, I would push the button.

As I went about my day after answering that question, it troubled me. Troubled me to the point that I was actually in tears some of the time, thinking about the question and my answer. I wondered why it bothered me so much and what kept coming to my mind was "If only it were that easy."

On this day, the lives of more than 30 families were forever changed when they found out one of their children - or their only child, or their grandchild, neice, nephew - has cancer. Great strides have been made in cancer research. Even so, at least 5 of those children will die from the illness or the treatment for it. Those children who do survive may battle new issues for the rest of their lives - lost limbs, decreased immunities, complications from the chemo drugs, insurance battles. Even if there are no lasting effects, they will forever be changed by having had to fight for their lives at such a young age.

If only it were as easy as pushing a button.

I'd push the button for the children who didn't make it.

I'd push the button for the ones who are missing an arm or a leg or both.

I'd push the button for the children who can no longer see because both of their eyes had to be removed to save their lives.

I'd push the button for the children who can no longer speak because their vocal chords had to be removed.

I'd push the button for the children who develop leukemia because of the chemotherapy drugs they are given to fight rhabdomyosarcoma.

I'd push the button for the little 2-year-old girl who died from a respiratory virus two months after she finished her last chemotherapy treatment for a brain tumor that was successfully removed. The same respiratory virus that my then 14-month-old baby was in the same hospital for after his first chemotherapy treatment.

I'd push the button because my son shouldn't have one leg shorter than the other. He shouldn't have tattoos (used to mark his skin for radiation treatments). He shouldn't need a prosthesis so that he can sit on two buttocks like everyone else. I'd push it because I shouldn't have a memory like the one I described in an earlier blog post (click here).

To me, it doesn't matter how small the inconvenience is for a child who has survived cancer - he or she shouldn't have to deal with it.

I'd push the button way before the 60 seconds was up.