Monday, November 23, 2009

No pain, no gain

Last month I attended a women's health conference at the local university. I attended because as a part of my job, I coach women about healthy eating and making good food choices. I also attended because good health is something I often take for granted.

While I was there, I talked to a woman at a booth where they were recruiting volunteers for a number of medical studies for the prevention of breast cancer. The lady seemed quite interested in me. You see, I do not have any breast cancer in my family for at least three generations. None. In fact, the only cancer at all in my family has been of the skin variety--all small, all treatable.

I made it through several screenings and ended up going in last week for blood tests. Then on Thursday I went in for two painful procedures. They mentioned "moderate discomfort," but to be honest? If I'd known it would hurt so much and for so long afterward, I don't know if I'd have continued. (I'm a pain wimp.) I still have bruising, too.

I am taking 2 pills a day for a month. I don't know what I'm taking, but the study is studying the effects of Vitamin D and Celebrex. So I am either taking Vitamin D and Celebrex, Vitamin D and a placebo, or 2 placebos. I will never know.

In a month, I'll be repeating the above, and the only advantage I'll have is that I should be able to take ibuprofen then. I can't now, because it will interfere with the study . . . which is too bad, because it always works for me.

So, the first question people ask me is "How much are you getting paid for this?" The answer is nothing. I am doing this just because I want to help people. It's what I do. It's who I am, really. Who God made me to be.

Would I do it again? I'm not sure, knowing what I know now, and how much I still ache four days later. But I'm in now. "In for a penny, in for a pound." I will continue taking my two mysterious white capsules each day, and next month go through it all again, hopeful that it won't be quite as painful the second time around. Then it's over, other than a phone call each year for life (it's a longitudinal study).

Which brings me to my title: No pain, no gain. Without some pain, there would be no bio-markers for the scientists to study. No concrete data from which to determine which course of treatment might, in fact, prevent breast cancer. Yes, it's invasive. Yes, it hurts. But the potential gain? Priceless.

Isn't that also how God works sometimes? He prunes the branches, He puts us through the fires of purification, He disciplines those He loves. But it all turns out for His good, for His purpose, for such a time as this. And in the end, what we gain is so worth it.

No pain, no gain.

1 comment:

Janet Spaeth said...

Every time I come to your blog I want a cup of coffee--I mean, I REALLY want a cup of coffee! But it's almost time to tuck this brain in bed and let it wander through dreamland, so no caffeine.

One of my friends was going to do that study but ended up not being able to. I'm proud of you for doing it, despite the pain and discomfort.

Pattie, ALL women thank you!