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Polymerase chain reaction is a cornerstone of molecular biology research. Using short pieces of single-stranded DNA called primers the previously invisible becomes tangible.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Where Knowledge Leaves Off

Children light up a room. When we see them exploring, playing or regrouping even the most jaded among us are hard pressed not to be softened. Is it because we see ourselves or remember our more innocent selves in their joy? Is it because we anticipate and hope for all the potential that their lives promise? Will he inspire others with song, deed or ideas? Will she find cures or mediate grave conflicts? Will they show us in original and imaginative ways the seemingly endless capacity for human creativity and care? Or is it because their heads are disproportionately large compared to the rest of their bodies? Whatever the case, kids make me smile.

My cousin’s almost four year old son was diagnosed with leukemia yesterday. As I am writing this through tears, doctors are inserting an aspirating needle through his lower back. They hope the cerebrospinal fluid they acquire will reveal if this type of white blood cell cancer has infiltrated this brave little man's central nervous system. I know the biology, but I swear I can’t make any sense of this. I am comforted by the fact that treatment of pediatric leukemia is one of the astounding success stories of medicine in the past four decades. Survival rates have improved from a dismal five percent in the 1960’s to the high eighty to ninety percent today. However, WTF?!? He’s facing chemotherapy, blood transfusions and possibly bone marrow transplants for the next two to three years.

A quote on a friend’s wedding website reads:

“Love takes up where knowledge leaves off.”
The context is different, but the sentiment is somehow fitting. His parents, barely older sister, grandparents and a host of cousins, titos and titas, lolos and lolas are all sending our love and praying for him. For now, it’s about all we can do.

1 comment:

Bill Braine said...

I of course wish you all the best.