This past February, I was diagnosed with cancer. The cancer I have, leiomyosarcoma, is rare and can be particularly aggressive, so in response I was aggressive about seeking information and treatment options. I also joined a leiomyosarcoma support group on Facebook to learn from other patients. As this is such an unusual disease, I wanted to know what kind of treatments were being used as well as what to expect when I settled on a plan.
You can imagine – and many of you know from first-hand experience – this kind of diagnosis is life-changing in so many ways. You learn very quickly what matters. For me, faith and family became my only priorities. What I did not expect was a newfound appreciation for being American. As I move forward with my treatment, I find myself pausing often to be thankful I am in the greatest country in the history of the world. It may seem odd to factor that into my cancer journey, so allow me to explain.
The Facebook group I joined has about 2600 patients from all over the world. We share all kinds of information – it’s been a valuable resource. One thing that immediately struck me was the difference between Americans receiving treatment and everyone else. Americans spoke about going to different sarcoma centers to get a variety of opinions and consider a variety of treatment options. We could talk to many doctors and had the freedom to see who we think is the best fit for us. Not so with others; in fact, I am shocked by some of the horror stories. One woman from Poland commented, ”We can only dream of access to the care you can get so quickly, choosing the doctors. Lucky you.”
That really hit me. We ARE lucky. Even though our system isn’t perfect, it sure is better than the single payer cartels others must deal with. I really felt for the people who were coping with this disease and had, quite literally, a death sentence because their government oversaw their medical decisions.
I am blessed. I am receiving the very best care in the world from top specialists. I’m also fortunate that my cancer is low-grade and manageable. I’m able to come back to work during my treatment, and I do so with a renewed vigor because I was reminded why we fight – for freedom.
Americans have had to battle for freedom since the inception of our country. We think of men and women who sacrificed their lives as the ones who fought – but there are other, more subdued skirmishes that conservatives fight daily – from obstructing the Left’s pursuit of socialism to entitlement reform that will free our fellow Americans from the “soft tyranny of low expectations.”
Our 2018 Bradley Prize recipients are terrific examples of those who are leading the battle to preserve freedom in their fields - in the media, on college campuses, and in public debate. For more on their work and an excerpt of Dr. Allen Guelzo’s Prize acceptance remarks, please read our current issue of the Bradley Impact Brief or watch the archived ceremony footage here.
This Memorial Day, while remembering those who fought on battlefields, I’ll also think of those who keep up the good fight for liberty as best they can.