Dr. Kwak, M.D., Rockstar   1 comment

About a month ago, my sister and I traveled to Houston with my mother who is battling Lymphoma. If you don’t know, Houston houses the leading MD Anderson cancer research center in the world. Even better, my mom was going to see the leading Lymphoma specialist in the world to potentially become part of a trial for a vaccine he developed. He is so well-recognized for his work that we were willing to forget the fact that his name is Dr. Kwak. Thankfully, most folks pronounce it “kwok” rather than the more likely pronunciation, for obvious reasons.

Our trip to this colossal medical center will certainly come up repeatedly as I read, research, and discuss for this class. Building after building after building reflects the profound epidemic that seeps into so many unsuspecting lives, changing everything for those involved. Cancer is a culture unto itself, as anyone who spends some time at MD Anderson Houston quickly learns. Each floor houses patients with a different type of cancer, so everyone on the fourth floor is united by Lymphoma of one kind or another–eye contact is different there and usually involves more than acknowledgement…understanding, empathy, support–so much exchanged in a short time. One might wonder, with all those buildings, labs, pharmacies, and jobs…will they ever find a cure? And what’s at stake if they do? More importantly, what’s at stake if they don’t?

The article I’m sharing here, “The Secret Life of a Medical Celebrity,” addresses an interesting angle of cancer (and more general medical) research: the doctor as celebrity, or in Kwak’s case, full on rockstar. The article is interesting in its juxtaposition of Kwak and Lady Gaga, Kwak and Taylor Swift (Kwak and Sarah Palin, etc.). As I read, I pictured the humble, soft-spoken man whose promise could be the key to saving my mother’s life, sitting in a room surrounded by superstars. And while their fame rests on entertaining, his rests on saving lives.

I know whose autograph I want.

Every logo in Houston has “cancer” crossed out…we liked that:)

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Posted August 27, 2010 by Lela in Uncategorized

One response to “Dr. Kwak, M.D., Rockstar

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  1. Great response that captures, among other things, the cultural pressure on doctors to save us.

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