Conspiracy or Compassion?

As we all know, pharmaceutical companies and the medical establishment have long had the cure for cancer, but they’re suppressing it to make more money. One doctor who’s definitely not in on the conspiracy is Dax Kurbegov. He’s the Medical Director of Memorial Cancer Clinic and my personal oncologist.

I asked Dax for a 1-2 sentence blurb for my new book, Stumbling Toward Heaven. In response he wrote a whole page. Not because he has a ton of time for such things but because he has a lot of passion for what he does. Listen:

CANCER. It’s the big “C” word. We speak of it in whispers, eyes downcast. We’re afraid to probe too deeply into our family histories lest we somehow invite cancer into our lives by the simple act of discovering another family member’s cancer journey. Though most of us know little of what cancer is or how it affects our bodies, we certainly know enough not to want it.

I’m a cancer doc, a medical oncologist. No one wants to meet me … at least professionally. My life’s work revolves around shepherding heroic men and women through their cancer journeys. It involves deconstructing societal perceptions of what it means to be a victim of cancer. It involves replacing ignorance with understanding. It involves transforming the victim into an empowered survivor.

Every once in a while, however, I find myself transformed by those I work with and for. Mike Hamel has been such a figure in my life. Diagnosed with cancer in the prime of life, Mike has had to confront the demons that come with that diagnosis. He has faced his own mortality. …

Mike has ridden the rollercoaster of emotions from the highs of achieving remission to the lows of suffering relapse. He has come to appreciate the wonders of modern medicine and to humbly recognize the limitations of the tools we currently have available. He has had to wrestle with his own faith while his body labored under the duress of chemotherapy.

His is the most human of all journeys. Through the retelling of his cancer journey, Mike offers us remarkable insights into the human condition and into the capacity of the human spirit to triumph in the face of incredible adversity.

Does this sound like a man who’s in it for the money or someone who’s devoted his life to helping people who are losing theirs? Most of us have great difficulty facing the Grim Reaper once; imagine a vocation where he’s your daily sparring partner! That’s an emotional burden few can shoulder.

I’ve come to have a deep respect for those who choose oncology as a profession. Their commitment is one reason I’m still alive.

(Check out the interview I did with Dr. Dax on YouTube. He’s the one with hair.)

4 thoughts on “Conspiracy or Compassion?

  1. This essay by Dr. Kurbegov is creative and insightful. I applaud him, and his amazing patient, Mike Hamel. Mike’s attitude and spirit is a shining example of God’s presence in a suffering human being. I am proud to call him my friend

  2. Dax sounds like a great guy! Would love to meet him–unprofessionally, of course. I have a brother in law who initially was interested in specializing in Oncology, but later opted for Cardiology. His explanation to me at the time: “Oncology is too depressing”.

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