Apr 30, 2020 3:00 PM

Greetings everyone at HCI. I hope you are all well. This has been — and continues to be — an extraordinary time — unprecedented in our lifetimes.

We have lived in a charmed time in history. Other generations have lived through plagues, world wars, the great depression. We have been blessed to live during a time of relative world harmony, prosperity, and freedom.  

Today is different. We continue to face a very serious global health challenge that is wreaking havoc with the world economy and compromising the individual freedom that we have become accustomed to.   

To address this challenge we have taken action across the world, across our nation, across our state, and here at HCI.

We have reduced the traffic in our hospital and clinics in order to protect our pateints and providers.

We have learned to work from home which for some has been isolating and for others has been challenging with kids and pets in the office with us. 

We have been physical distancing — which means our normal rhythm of dinners with friends and families, church and community gatherings, movies and sporting events — has been severely curtailed. 

We have done all of this in order to protect our patients and community. 

Although we will not be able to save everyone until there is an effective therapy and a widely accessible vaccine — Make no mistake: we have saved lives through the interventions we have taken. We have flattened the curve. 

The challenge we face today is that we are likely to be living with that flattened curve for some time.  Living with a flattened curve means that we are able to “manage” the level of COVID-19 infections in our community without having a major health crisis that overwhelms our capacity to care for patients.  It does not mean that COVID 19 has gone away. So, today’s message is about fortitude: 

When an individual or an organization has fortitude, it means we have:

Mental and emotional strength  in the face of adversity. We have staying power

Fortitude is something we have shown at HCI throughout our history and it has served us well through this first phase of the coronavirus pandemic. And it is something we are going to need in abundance in the coming weeks and months.

We all want our lives to go back to normal. I love doing rounds in the hospital with Lawrence Marsco and miss meeting with our patients and providers. I love to cook and I miss having friends over for dinner; I love traveling all over the world and I feel super constrained that I can’t hop on a plane. I love spending time with our son, but he is in Philadelphia and I am not sure when we will next see each other in person. I love planning things and I hate that I can’t plan things because I don’t know what to expect from the future. 

We all need to accept that our lives will not be going back to  the old normal for some time. This is not a sprint, this is not even a marathon, this is going to be the new normal for some time. 

As we move as a state from a RED, high risk status—to ORANGE, moderate risk status, let’s not get too excited. We need to think of this as a very slight change in our thermostat — turning down the heat from 100 degrees to 90 degrees — significant but still quite warm. 

We need fortitude at this time — we cannot let our guard down or we risk all the progress we have made. In the coming weeks, as we slowly ramp up our clinical services and our on site research activities. We must continue physical distancing, hand washing, and wearing a mask in public. We must continue these practices when we are at home as well.

I am trying new recipes; I am planting flowers in my garden; I am riding my bike and hiking in our hills; I am spending time with my husband, and I am working harder than ever in leading HCI toward its destiny of delivering a cancer free frontier. I am grateful for the many gifts in my life.

For all of us at HCI we always focus on excellence in all we do. Today, excellence in all we do means FORTITUDE. 

So, until I see you next time with physical distancing and wearing our masks: FORTITUDE.

covid-19 coronavirus

Cancer touches all of us.

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