Friday, January 27, 2012

Random tears with random people

I just spent the past week at a scientific conference that was 100% biochemistry 99% of the time. I walked in late to one of the talks and looked for a seat where I could discretely open my Mac and get a little work done while the big people talked about their big initiatives. There happened to be a woman who had her Mac and mind opened to the same ideas, so I grabbed the seat next to her. We whispered hello's and turned back to our respective screens. Between talks, we chatted briefly and it turned out that we had very similar research interests. It took about 6 words for us to both realize that we needed to talk more after the conference. Cancer immunology. Tumor microenvironment. Cytokine signaling. And so we talked research, until we talked cancer. Not the cancer that was on her slides or in my grant, but the cancer that took her loved one and my friends....the cancer that touches every single person on this planet. We came to realize that the great promise that time will erase pain is a lie. The pain never subsides, it just gets packaged differently. There we were, complete strangers in the middle of the mountains with no intention what so ever of being moved in any other way than intellectually, shedding tears together. I'm so very grateful for that meeting. That last 1% let me walk away with a smaller package.

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