“Vaccination Follow-Up: Part II”
Part 2. On the Shoulders
When I experienced my cancer scare, one of my strongest supporters was a woman who had been through it herself about 20 years earlier. She went with me to see the surgeon and oncologist. She prayed with me as I faced difficult decisions about treatment. Her previous experience was reassuring to me. I was keenly aware my cancer experience was far different than hers. In that brief span of 20 years, scientists had learned so much about cancer it was amazing! With the advances in medicine and technology, the cancer they found in me was the size of a jelly bean. An observant radiologist noticed it even before it had the opportunity to gain a stronghold in my body.
My friend had not been as lucky. Her cancer was discovered only when it was large enough for the doctor to feel a lump. It had already started to multiply in her body. Her treatment took longer and was much more invasive than what I went through.
I remember having a conversation with several friends that I was “standing on the shoulders of the women that had gone before me.” Were it not for their suffering, and for the diligence of countless researchers, my treatment and outcome might have been far different.
I think of the image of standing on those that have gone before us today as we face a pandemic. Those entrusted with public health decisions can stand on the shoulders of doctors, nurses and researchers on the front lines of past pandemics.
It’s the same with the vaccines. Even though we in the general public only started thinking about vaccines for a pandemic either in early 2020 or in the audience of some sci-fi movie long before that. Ultimately, the vaccines created to fight COVID-19 were not really “invented” in 2020. They are the product of research that has been going on ever since there was a field of medicine. Since the early 1900s there have been great discoveries including the development of penicillin and a vaccine for polio. I was among that generation of children that received the oral polio vaccine when it first became available in 1962. That was nearly 60 years ago and I’m still here!
Each discovery adds to the information already available. And that wealth of information and prior research is what the COVID-19 vaccine developers were able to “stand on the shoulders of” as they did their work.
While I opted in my career for the science of relationships, I am grateful for those willing to spend hours upon hours in a laboratory, skillfully testing and retesting microscopic viruses and the vaccines that will stunt their growth. I am grateful for the hours they put in. I am grateful for their understanding of how viruses work. I am grateful for their understanding of how vaccines work.
I am grateful. And I honor their work.
Keep the focus on the enemy.
Take note of the shoulders we stand on.
Keep fighting and God Bless!