Noa Biran (NB): When I first started learning about blood cancers and I had a rotation where every day I had to do a different blood cancer. Monday was leukemia, Tuesday, I’ll never forget this, was my myeloma day, Wednesday I had to do transplant, and so on. I used to dread my Tuesday myeloma day, because it was so hard and I had a very tough time getting a grasp on it.
Bryan Rudolph (BR): Yeah, you didn’t want to like it I remember.
NB: Yeah, patients were sick, the hours were long. But, at the end of the day, I ended up really getting involved in a research project with a mentor that gave me such an interest in the field, and by the end of my fellowship that’s all I wanted to do. Why did you go into pediatrics?
BR: For lots of reasons. Part of it’s the kids, part of it is my personality, a lot of it’s culture, right? I always wanted to be a pediatrician. I’ve always had that in my head when I was little, right? When I was 4, 5 – even with our own children. Elior wants to be an eye surgeon. Dan has talked about being a – I don’t know, what does he want to be? A pediatrician?
NB: I’m surprised that they say that.
BR: Why are you surprised?
NB: Because we take a lot of time away from them and devote it to our work.
BR: When our kids get older who knows how they’re going to feel about that. I mean, how are you going to feel if one day our kids, when they’re grown up and out of college, come back to you and say, “You know, I really resented you for being away so much when I was little”.
NB: If you are secure in what you do and you show your children that you’re a role model and you do the best that you can to be a good parent and they see that you are struggling, they’ll appreciate what you’re doing. And I think it’s a constant struggle – it’s not just in medicine, it’s in every career. You know, the balance between work and taking care of kids.
BR: But, there are days when we both come home and we are physically and emotionally exhausted, right? There’s things that stay with me – I’ve seen children die and you’ve been with patients that have died, and those thing weigh on you. Those are not parts of other jobs and careers.
NB: You would think that after a while it gets easier to separate and put it aside and just close the door at work and open the new one at home and come with a fresh face, but it doesn’t get easier. It gets harder.
BR: I am constantly amazed by just how unbelievably strong you are in so many ways. I’ve heard you on the phone late at night with people, and remember when there was some guy that you were speaking with when you were on call one night – it was late at night –
NB: He had a blood culture that was positive for–
BR: Oh, we needed –
NB: And he had a child in the house and he didn’t want to leave her and go to the hospital (laughs). So, I had offered to take the child and babysit.
NB: But, you know, more than a physician, you’re a human being.
BR: I generally feel like you have done all that you can do as a – as a doctor, but as a person.
NB: Yeah, I do feel that. There’s always hope and it’s different for everybody. Some people will say, “I hope I can make it to my daughter’s wedding” or “I just want to get up out of bed and go to the beach” or whatever that is. If you just listen to what that person wants or hopes for it’s often achievable to them, and in that sense I feel as though I do everything possible.