Ideas & blogs

Friday, December 14, 2012

The BwoB Chronicles: Another more and most meaningful moment, London, December 6th

It is hard to find a magical sunset in soggy, grey London, especially in December.  Yet, Julio and I were badly in need of a sunset to celebrate on one of the only days we had taken off together this year.

Only the day prior, I had read that second last paragraph of the Chapter of Beginnings from BwoB to the group at LSHTM in a closed-in space and felt the need to be outside walking on sand and seeing only open space in front of me:

I am walking between the sky, the water, and the sand, in front of one of the most stunning scenes that exist in nature: the sunset.  But this is a special sunset. As Julio says, it is a symphony of colors and a theatre of light.

I longed for another walk along the beach with Julio, open beach, waves, sand, only ocean and sky in my field of vision.

After a long day – including an introduction to an exhibit about death at the Wellcome Trust (which I highly recommend especially because of several innovative approaches to communicating knowledge including a David McCandless graphic canvas describing a century of causes of death that capture Julio and I for almost an hour and convinced us to buy his book Information is Beautiful) and a visit to the many classic works of art at the National Gallery - we finally found ourselves at the impressionists.

I lotus-walked over to the Monets. I was almost too tired to appreciate what I was seeing. And the pain in my toes – this has not gotten better – was nearly unbearable after a day of walking. Yet, I was stuck. Staring at me was the perfect sunset in a frame. Water Lilies, Setting Sun – a painting new to the collection – Only Monet could have done it this way – between water and plants the work captures the exact moment that no one ever wants to loose and always does at the end of the day.  I realised that somehow I had found that magical sunset in London in December and added another meaningful moment to my treasure chest, just as I suggest in the last paragraph of the Chapter of Beginnings:

Life gives to me and I return to life. Now I feel that life is a collection of more meaningful moments.

This is indeed one of my favorite parts of BwoB, yet I nearly changed and I still might at some point. I wonder if the collection is of more or of most meaningful moments. When I first wrote this I was comparing my good moments to the bad ones – the times when I felt sick to those when I appreciated the joys of life. Now, I see each good experience as a collection of most meaningful moments rather than relative to a past. Perhaps this an other stage of survivorship?

Thursday, December 13, 2012

The BwoB Chronicles: Notes from Launch at LSHTM, London, December 5th

This event was a composite of three star components. First, being hosted and interviewed byDr. Peter Piot was incredible – I know that Peter is one of the most knowledgeable people on the planet around engaging advocacy and voice around a disease – as he helped accomplish with HIV/AIDs. Second, a great group of students came to this presentation and posed excellent questions. And third, I was really pleased that Sir Andy Haines stayed for the entire event.

I got excellent questions, but the best was a Mexican man, and economist, who had studied at ITAM and is doing a PhD in economics. He asked me my opinion on the message it sends to have a Mexican who can afford it leave Mexico to get care. Does this mean that Mexicans get second-rate care if they stay in Mexico? I was very proud to share that I chose to have most of my care in Mexico. I also explained the benefit of having a sub-specialist participate in the design of care. We started a discussion around innovative delivery and tele-medicine: solutions of the future where geography is transcended and patients have access to experts regardless of where they live.

After the talk, I took a very special 30 minutes to be with a group of students and sign books.


  1. Estoy conmovida. Yo también tuve cáncer. Linfoma non Hodgkin en 2004-2005 tuve 22 quimioterapias. Gracias a la Ciencia, a Dios, y a mi hija Nira (quien por cierto nació en Toronto) sigo en remisión.

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