Inspiration is value because inspiration can save lives. Think about a person standing on a ledge waiting to jump to her death. If someone says something to her that inspires even a glimmer of hope, she will not jump. With severe life-threatening disease, if you think your situation is hopeless, why even try anything more? It’s so easy to give up. Might as well go to Oregon and get euthanizing injections. Or why not just curl up in a fetal position, stop taking meds, think depressing thoughts all day and wait for the inevitable.
Thankfully there are ways to counteract this.
One way is by acquiring knowledge backed by credible science. This is why conferences like Exponential Medicine mean the world to me. I have been following this particular conference and community for 3 years now. In this most elite of cross-disciplinary medicine conferences, I see the solutions that the smartest minds from around the world are working on and I realize that there is, in fact, hope. Some of the solutions I can implement today. For others, I have to wait a few years. They are all food and grist for hope for me. That’s part of why I can be strong despite all sorts of circumstances stacked against me.
That’s why when a doctor tells me “this is your best option” I can say, are you sure about that because I believe there might be a better solution. Have you ever thought about x or y? Most of the time a doctor would not have even thought of an option I put before them. It’s just not in their radar. But it’s in my radar because I make it my business to know what’s out there that can move the needle for me towards getting through stage 4 cancer alive. I will do everything in my power to not just get through this thing alive but be vibrantly healthy, fully functional and strong at the end of it, and thus able to work on my dreams, the dreams God put me on this earth to pursue.
I feel like I got a glimpse of what is at the very heart of Exponential Medicine when I had an encounter with Peter Diamandis on the last day of when Exponential Medicine was still called Futuremed in 2013. I attended the conference just days after the conclusion of a tough 3 months of weekly chemo. Given that I am not a physician or scientist, I had to shore up courage to approach Mr. Diamandis and tell him how I felt so inspired and encouraged and to thank him for the conference. I did get to speak to him and also tell him of my challenge at the time, advanced metastatic breast cancer with an inoperable tumor. I did not go into detail, but oncologists then had told me that finding a cure was highly unlikely if not impossible, and palliation my only recourse. One oncologist went so far as to tell me I was dying.
What Peter Diamandis did next I will never forget. He put his hands on my shoulders and looked at me straight in the eye and with full presence asked “Did this give you hope?” I understood him to mean the conference. I said “yes!” with gratitude and enthusiasm. He then gave me the most compassionate and warm hug. That hug spoke volumes. This man is authentic and truly wants to help people. In that human gesture of shared hope, I understood that ultimately this conference at its heart was not just Disneyland for health and technology geniuses. This is a place where people dream of ways to give people back their lives and create a future for them that just a year or two ago would not have been possible. They don’t just dream this, they make it happen.
This hope and the knowledge, intuition and understanding gleaned from Exponential Medicine absolutely helped me get to N.E.D. No Evidence of Disease status just a few months ago. Believe it or not, I got to N.E.D. after 10 years of fighting the disease without a human caregiver. Exponential Medicine helped give me that gumption. Check out my previous post to watch a video of Dr. George Sledge, Chief of Oncology at the Stanford Cancer Center make the N.E.D. announcement.
If Peter Diamandis asked me the same question after the conclusion of the 2015 conference just hours ago: “Did this give you hope?” I would say yet again “YES, a resounding yes!” Thank you, thank you from the bottom of my heart. Thank you Exponential Medicine! How you have inspired and educated me to be a rockstar** UnPatient is priceless! I shed a few tears at the end of this year’s conference because what you do is such triumph. You helped me get my life back. More power to your amazing efforts to exponentially give people’s lives back.
What is also significant is that as an innovator thinker entrepreneur creator, I believe I may have finally I found my tribe. An ecosystem like no other in the planet. Now I know why I am still here and very much alive.
What I am about to do, may it be exponential.
**what a couple of oncologists at Stanford call me