The Magic Bullet

Why is it we are always looking for the “magic bullet” … “the” Cure?

You see it everywhere. Run, Walk or Race for the Cure; Donate Today for the Cure.

As an ICU nurse, I was always bothered by the word “cure”. And I still am today! It sounds arrogant, like a promise you can’t keep.

The very word set me on edge … but why?

I figured out a long time ago … but wasn’t sure how to articulate it … that “cure” is so limiting. You see, you either achieve it or not. Black or white, period.

In my many years as a nurse, I often saw patients so busy searching and yearning for the Cure, that they missed out on what was right in front of them … family, friends and loved ones who just wanted to be present with them, to enjoy the simple pleasures of life together.

It can be different

On the other hand, “healing” evokes an emotion of “ahhh” … as in, so this is what life is all about. It’s about coming from a place of wholeness; a sense of deep knowing through personal (and often, painful) experience; a transformative learning of one of life’s many lessons.

Kris Carr, the author and director of the film “Crazy Sexy Cancer”, sums it up best in a recent TED-style talk on Oprah Winfrey’s with:

“Curing takes place in the physical; Healing takes place in the spirit.”

I remember a handful of patients that I cared for over the years that seemed to defy the odds. They not only survived, but thrived, often with their disease still present. Some of them got to some level of “better”, but some were no better than when I first met them.

I remember a man in his 60’s living with lymphoma in an arrested state for over 15 years … caring for his disabled grandson. There was the woman in her 40’s living with a low level of AIDS virus for over 10 years so she could raise her young daughter. And there was my dear doctor friend who bravely battled a genetic disease for 17 years because he loved his wife so much.

What set these people apart? Very simply, a Decision. A decision to live life to the fullest for however long they were able and to not only accept their circumstance but to embrace it.

So let’s stop searching and yearning for a Cure. This doesn’t mean we should stop learning and advancing the frontiers of science. Not at all, for we all benefit from this pursuit.

Let’s think bigger … to Healing. Instead of playing small and searching for a cure, strive for healing that transcends the physical and engages the spirit … often sparked by a bold decision to live more, love more, learn more and help as many as you can along the way.

So … would you rather be “cured” or “healed”? Leave me a comment at with your thoughts.

Note: Thanks to Kris Carr for helping me to articulate this deep felt belief that I’ve known for decades. Watch her talk here.