Get an HPV Vaccine

I still like to run. So, every now and then I will sign up to run a race. It’s usually only a 5K. During Tulip Time in our town, there is a Tulip Time Run. I signed up, I ran, and I took first place in my division. Yes, there were more runners than just me in the division. For a week now I have been subtly savoring what might be the last time this happens.

But what about the person who came in second? I ran a faster 5K by 4 seconds. Four seconds. One thousand one, one thousand two, one thousand three, four. Only that much difference over the course of 30 minutes. How is she feeling? Probably not subtly savoring the effort. She is saying, “if only.” If only I hadn’t stopped to help the little boy with his untied shoelaces, if only I hadn’t taken that extra water stop, if only I had made a stronger push and sprinted harder at the finish. If only. The way that races are set up today, you simply don’t know where your competition is. You may be in the start corral in front, they may be in the back. It’s really all about the chip time. You are not in lanes next to each other capable of seeing the longest shot come from back of the pack to cross the line in front of you. Four seconds.

In Daniel Pink’s latest book, The Power of Regret he includes a chapter on Anticipating Regret. To my great surprise these words popped on the page. “A pile of studies over the last fifteen years has demonstrated that anticipating regret can prompt us to:….get an HPV vaccine…” I contacted him immediately to say thank you.

We need more people to prompt parents, grandparents, and young people today that down the road, they may regret not getting that vaccine. Here is what I shared, “Thank you, Mr. Pink, for including ‘get an HPV vaccine’ in your Anticipating Regret chapter. While we are now at about 54% vaccination rate for adolescents, we still have two generations who have to get through this window, and then the other ‘46%’ who have not been vaccinated. My husband was diagnosed with Stage Four throat cancer in 2013 and made it through alive. I wrote a book (Come Home Alive) chronicling this journey that came at us like a 2 x 4 across the forehead. Just when we thought he had made it through, a second diagnosis from a recurrence came in 2020. He needed his larynx removed in order to attain clear margins. He now lives without a voice. A big price to pay. So, Thank You for including ‘get an HPV vaccine in your book. Any and all ways to get this message out to young people and their parents is greatly appreciated.”

This vaccine is the only one developed that can guard against potential cancer later in life. If you knew there was a vaccine that could guard against this form of cancer, wouldn’t you want to get it for your kids? If only.

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