Weekend wrapup

This is refreshing. San Francisco airport’s Continental gate area is a Tmobile hotspot. No roaming, just a regular hotspot. Nice that I’m not paying an additional $4.99–6.99 for access while I sit here and wait for my flight for the next couple of hours. I decided to check out of the hotel early and head for the airport on the hope that I could connect here. I’m even sitting next to an outlet! Wifi and a power outlet…what more could a girl want?

Work-wise, this was a fabulous trip. Our Research Advocates Training program went off without a hitch and the participants raved in their evaluation forms which I still have to catalog. I have a lot of work to do when I get home, but I’m glad this is behind us. We’re a new organization and it’s nice to move our documents from saying “We plan to…” and “We will…” to “We did…”. It’s nice to have lunch with a potential funder and hear them say, “Tell us what you want.”

Most of the meat of the conference was way over my head. I know more about colorectal cancer than the average person, but I’m no oncologist or researcher and I don’t want to be. For me, I’m just glad that I have the alphabet soup straight and I know which pharmaceutical makes which drug and what’s a chemo and what’s a biological agent.

Pharmaceutical companies have a bad “they’re evil” rap but remember this…they want to come up with a cure for cancer. As was explained to me, treating cancer after the fact only gives the drugs to the people who have the disease. The company that comes up with a vaccine is giving the drug to everyone. Not a bad goal. I can live with that. For the most part, the people I’ve met in these companies are compassionate and dedicated. Not at all the stereotype. When my father was diagnosed with Stage IV colon cancer in 1999 there was only one treatment available for him and it had little to no record of success with his cancer. Now people diagnosed with cancer as advanced as my father’s was aren’t typically beating it, but they’re living an average of 2 years or more, not the 9–12 months prognosis my father had. There’s nothing I wouldn’t give to have had another year with him. Doctors are now more interested in colon cancer as a course of study than they ever were before. Still nowhere near the attention that breast cancer gets, but getting there.