I am sitting next to my sister in the ICU at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center I hate this place. My sister was diagnosed with leukemia three years ago, struggled with host vs. graft disease, and recently relapsed. I hate cancer. Every day I leave here, I feel like I’ve just seen war, to the point where it makes it difficult to sleep or even enjoy life. My sister’s pained face and voice are etched into my memory and it’s hard to think that someone who took care of you growing up is in so much pain. If having a family member with cancer feels this bad, I have no clue how it must feel to actually experience it firsthand.
I have gotten over the part where I blame myself for not doing enough. Now I’m angry at our government. Is our government responsible for cancer? No. Could they be doing a lot more to fund research to prevent it or at least make the treatment seem somewhat humane? Absolutely. We’ve spent more money on the war in Iraq than in over 30 years of fighting cancer. And yet, I am more afraid of terrorism than before it started, and I’m still very much afraid of cancer. How could we let this happen?
To the politicians who falsely led us into this war, you should seriously be ashamed of yourself. From an opportunity cost standpoint, you have caused more suffering in the world than I can possibly imagine.
If you aren’t a politician who got us in this war, please write our current politicians and tell them to quit wasting the money we work so hard to get. If you think they didn’t waste our money, read Imperial Life in the Emerald City and then talk to me. Read this report which shows a 14% decrease in NIH funding since the start of the Iraq war. Or just look at someone in the ICU at M.D. Anderson or meet the families of the 1500 people a day who die of cancer each day in this country. I’m sure you’ll think otherwise.