Thursday, October 7, 2010

What's It All About...Alfie?

How many times do we ask the same question?  Maybe not to Alfie...who really didn't seem to have it all together and is not someone who really had any kind of answers to give anyone; but it is a question we have all asked ourselves at some point in our lives.  I figure....for me...this is another good time to explore this question.

I don't expect to have a full answer, but I sometimes feel that I have maybe just a clue...a hint...a  foreshadowing....a whisper.  And I guess that has to suffice.  Otherwise, I'm just reaching too high and seriously, maybe don't want the whole answer anyway.

But besides wondering about answers pertaining to universal truths (wow...deep...and actually...I don't do universal truths)....well, actually, what I am wondering is why every time I turn around I am meeting someone who knows someone who had breast cancer, who is related to someone who has breast cancer, or someone who has breast cancer or is a survivor of breast cancer.  Just how pervasive is this disease?  And why, with all the attention and funding, is it still on the increase?  I keep reading about the effect of hormones on breast cancer and think of all the hormones we are pumping into our bodies during our lives....hormones put in dairy products...hormones we take in pill form or vitamin form or herbal supplements.  And the birth control pills that women of my generation took only to find out there were just too many problems after long term use.  Or what about that hormone replacement therapy that was supposed to help us during menopause, but instead just increased the likelihood of our breast cancer.  What's with all this?  What are we doing to ourselves?  And even sadder, I saw on the news this morning two "20 somethings" who have already decided to have a double mastectomy even before being diagnosed because genetic testing showed them to be at great risk for the disease.  Are we eventually going to be a "boob-less" society? And I don't mean the "idiot" variety, I mean the body part.

Yeah, deep thoughts today.  And I think this can be attributed to the fact that tomorrow is my MUGA scan (to look at heart muscle function before chemo) and the next day is the PET scan (to search my body for floating cancer buddies) and Tuesday I have the stitches coming out from the last surgery, and then the port inserted for the chemo cocktails on the 19th.  It is just a lot of serious stuff that lends itself to serious thought.  And I have also been doing some careful thinking about having a double mastectomy myself.  I'm not sure I want to wait around for the other shoe to fall (or other breast to give in to fairy dust) and I am thinking this might be a comforting...choice.

But, getting back to the question....what's it all about?  Well, as I keep telling you I am finding that it is not about cancer or good health or OK or not OK...but about US...our relationship with each other and caring for each other as God cares for us.  And not one...or two...but four recent events in my life brought this to my attention:

1)  A couple weeks ago, when this journey was just beginning, my mastectomy friend gave me this bible passage to put on my fridge, "God is faithful, and he will not let you be tested beyond your strength, but with the testing he will also provide the way out so that you may be able to endure it."  I count on that "way out" part, as she did, and I am slowly finding it.  2) Yesterday I received a note from a neighbor friend which was incredibly eloquent and included the beginning of the 121st Psalm...which just happens to be my "very best favorite" psalm to repeat in times of stress...and she couldn't have known that!  3) Last night, there was a healing service at my church and I again was moved by the people there and the hugs received and the message of hope.  4) Then, today, I get a package in the mail from my sister-in-law and brother-in-law.  It was this amazing, beautiful plaque in a wooden picture frame that said, "If God brings you to it, He will bring you through it".  Well, I don't need God to hit me on the head or anything (really, God, you don't), but I do think He is giving me a pretty clear message on "what's it all about?"....and I am listening.

I can listen now because I have turned down the sound on the world around me.  I guess these messages were around me all along, but the noise was just too loud...and I took too much for granted.  Take a lesson from me, and look around you for something or someone speaking to your heart.  Even Glee (my favorite show) explored "what's it all about?" this week in their "Grilled Cheesus" episode!  So I guess it's a question that we all need to ask ourselves every now and then.  As Mercedes said to Kurt:  "You have to believe in something!"  And that's where "the way out" mentioned above comes in and where I leave off for today.

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