People who know there is a god and people who know there isn't live in exactly the same world. Same number of hours in the day, same weather, same football results. They both love their children and die of the same diseases.
We are paying the price for living longer, collecting degenerative diseases along the way. Cancer is only one. Others are heart and brain diseases like Alzheimer's and Parkinsons.
What we need in medical schools is not to teach empathy, as much as to preserve it - the process of learning huge volumes of information about disease, of learning a specialized language, can ironically make one lose sight of the patient one came to serve; empathy can be replaced by cynicism.
When I use the word 'healing,' by that I mean that every disease has a physical element that we're very good at handling, but there's always a sense of the violation. 'Why me?' 'Why is my leg broken on the ski trip and not anyone else's?' And I think that medicine has done a terrible job of addressing that spiritual violation.
As a young physician in the mid-'80s, caring for people who had contracted H.I.V., I lost two of my patients to suicide at a time when the virus was doing very little harm to them. I have always thought of them as having been killed by a metaphor, by the burden of secrecy and shame associated with the disease.
People's genes can say a great deal about their health. There are genes that reveal an increased likelihood of getting cancer, heart disease or Alzheimer's.
You have friends, and they die. You have a disease, someone you care about has a disease, Wall Street people are scamming everyone, the poor get poorer, the rich get richer. That's what we're surrounded by all the time.
Americans are blessed with great plenty; we are a generous people and we have a moral obligation to assist those who are suffering from poverty, disease, war and famine.
I get Tweets every day from people telling me that 'Hey, I'm going to overcome my injury or my illness. Cancer. Different diseases. I can beat it because Adrian Peterson showed me the determination and the willpower to be able to prosper and get through adversity whenever it comes.'
I have learned to hate all traitors, and there is no disease that I spit on more than treachery.