Once a week we are all cognizant of taking out our garbage and filling our recycling bins. It’s an active act on our part that requires the patience to collect, sort and remove waste from our homes. But it is not all us. There is a dedicated service that comes and removes it from in front of our homes every day whether it is raining, snowing or just plain humid. It appears to be important for each one of us weekly. Some of us look forward to it; some of us actually dread it. What is clear is that the service runs daily with a dedicated staff that makes sure that this is done consistently throughout the year. It is amazing, noble, and often forgotten.
I was born in a small town called Ahmadi in Kuwait, where I lived until the Iraqi invasion in 1990. While this moment in my life is filled with many stories, I will choose one that I truly feel has touched me more than anything else I know about how communities thrive. During the occupation of Kuwait in the beginning several months, all public services ceased to exist. The one service that was sorely missed was the garbage truck that took the trash from in front of the people’s homes. As days went by, I watched as piles of waste increased on the streets, in alley ways and in front of large mansions. It was filthy, smelly and nauseating to walk amongst these streets. Flies and rats became plentiful feeding off what people threw out. It was a frightening vision of the importance of not forgetting how vital this service was to the community it served.
Once a year, we are pleasantly reminded that it is “Melanoma Awareness Month” and through the commotion of our lives we attempt to do our best to make visible that which needs to remain constant throughout the year. Three of my friends shared with you stories that spoke of their struggles with this deadly disease. There are many more that go untold that are held in the hearts of the dedicated staff that work diligently all year long to provide the care that my patients need. Today I sat in clinic and watched each one of them do their work. Their work may feel inconsequential, my nurse answering a patient phone call, my medical assistant “rooming” the patients and my physician assistant telling me the latest troubles of the patient she had just seen. In my eyes, each played on their instrument strumming almost perfectly. I can only imagine the amount of chaos, just like in Kuwait, if I did not have my team. What an honor to be a part of them!
In this month with my heart, I take a moment, to honor the untold stories of our heroes, those who make their lives a part of others helping them through difficult times, the families that support my patients traveling through these troubled waters.
So the next time you take out your trash, reflect on that which really is taking care of you.
In case you missed my guest bloggers who wrote for Melanoma Awareness Month, here are the links to their stories:
On May 7th, Tom Armitage shared his battle with melanoma in his blog entitled “I’ve Got You Under My Skin”.
On May 14th, Molly Menard shared the story of her husband’s fight with melanoma in her blog entitled “Melanoma? That’s it?”
On May 21st, Brett Yates shared his father’s journey with melanoma in his blog entitled “Cheers and Have a Wonderful Life”.
Thanks to all of my guest bloggers who shared their stories this month!