Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Bumping into Reality

Things lately have had a busy, surreal quality to them, which has allowed me to hop, skip and jump away from reality for the time being. Well, today reality came slithering in.

Given that it's Breast Cancer Awareness month, it's something of a pink elephant in the room that no one's talking about. I'm being bombarded with the usual messages of caution and public service reminders to perform self examinations (which I do), and still it occurs to me that I wouldn't know the difference anyways. My breasts are fiberous and filled with lumps to begin with, and they are in a state of flux, so to speak. I have a general idea of where the lumps are, but they like to move around a bit to confuse me.

My Gramma (Paternal) had breast cancer, and just weeks after my birth, she went in for a mastectomy on one side. She had the other breast removed just a couple of months before she died, 23 years after the first operation. And as a general rule of thumb, as scary a prospect as this is, I tend to develop many of the health problems that plagued her. So, as you can imagine, I'm not very keen on the idea of someday being faced with the heart-wrenching prospect of developing Breast Cancer, and it has less to do with the idea of vanity than it does the chance that I could die.

Well, because my mind works in mysterious ways, immediately after the thought of losing my breast(s), I thought about my hair. Weird, I know, but stay with me, it will make sense. See, at this point, my hair is ridiculously long. It's halfway down my back, and it can be such a pain to have to deal with, but I keep it around for one sole purpose...cancer. At this point, I have long enough hair that I can chop off 10 inches safely to donate to an organization that supplies wigs to cancer patients.

Well, then I thought about education programs. As we are all aware, Breast cancer can afflict men as well, so I figure there should be blanket efforts to educate the public about self-exams. Women should know how to do them properly, and should be encouraged to do them regularly, because as we are learning in such unpleasant ways all the time, Ignorance kills.

Which then leads to the idea that people need to take responsibility for their health and wellbeing, and they need to be proactive, not only in prevention methods, but in treatments as well. Doctors and health care providers are certainly highly-trained specialists, but they are human, thus fallible for any number of reasons. I would be scared to death of the idea of leaving my health entirely in the hands of someone else.

And so on.

Anyways, the only reason I'm writing this long, rambling post is to remind everyone that support for the fight against Breast Cancer isn't just about money. All of the money in the world can't save a person who ignores reality. Encouraging self-awareness is what this is about. When we bump into reality, perhaps it will be less painful if we are aware of what we are up against.


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