I have always marveled at how the word imagination
takes its origin from the word image
. We are visual creatures with, unfortunately, limited eyes. But that hasn’t stopped us from challenging the bounds of human sight with clever and imaginative ways to extend our vision through imagery.
Our best discoveries were made when we could actually “see” something in more detail - the joy of your baby’s first sonogram, a seemingly infinite number of galaxies in the universe, menacing microbes, the structure and subsequent understanding of how DNA replicates, the awful pain of war, stress cracks in metal, the warming of our oceans, a pending hurricane, what killed the 5,000 year old mummy, the location of an iron-age village, what’s inside the smallest unit of matter, and a malignant tumor.
The other day I saw a television advertisement about advancements and future hopes in cancer treatments. It showed a woman looking over the shoulder of her doctor viewing a monitor showing the destruction of cancer cells. I remember saying to myself – yeah, I wish it were that easy.
Today I discovered that the technology does exist – perhaps not quite to the extent of a 30-second sound bite of a TV ad, but apparently it is possible to see the results of some treatment in a colored-enhanced computer image of dead cancer cells among living diseased cells.
Imagine the psychological benefits of such an image to a patient who is not only suffering the anxiety and medical consequences of cancer, but who may also be coping with the challenging side effects of treatment. To actually see
progress in the form of more dead purple cells than the previous treatment must surely translate to hope. HOPE!