Battling Life’s Demons
The symbol of
The Pink Ninja Supporters
During chemo, you’re more tired than you’ve ever been. It’s like a cloud passing over the sun, and suddenly you’re out. You don’t know how you’ll answer the door when your groceries are delivered. But you also find that you’re stronger than you’ve ever been. You’re clear. Your mortality is at optimal distance, not up so close that it obscures everything else, but close enough to give you depth perception. Previously, it has taken you weeks, months, or years to discover the meaning of an experience. Now it’s instantaneous.
It is October once more and with the turning of the calendar page comes not just a change in the seasons but the month also asks of us to change our mindset about some things that we might just take for granted the other 11 months of the year. One thing October trumpets in is our reminder that we continue to battle the demons of disease even today….and especially one demon that continues to defy cure…..Breast Cancer! Did you know that Breast cancer was described 1800 years BC on what is referred to as the Edwin Smith Papyrus and that the Mastectomy was performed as early as 548 AD when the court physician proposed it as a treatment to Empress Theodora, wife of Roman Emperor Justinian I?
Breast cancer throughout history was always discussed in hushed tones by people who were ashamed of the sexual connotation it brought out into the open, and because it was primarily a disease of women, history found women suffering in silence rather than seeking treatment. There were also many who, through ignorance, held that diseases such as this were the hand of God punishing women for some imagined sin because they were considered to be second class citizens and as such, had their physical as well as emotional concerns given short shrift to those of the male in society as it existed! But no more, thanks to education and an increasing in awareness of the true nature of the disease. In fact, the “Women’s Field Army”, run by the American Society for the Control of Cancer (which evolved into the American Cancer Society) was in fact, one of the first organized health awareness campaigns.
Did you know that just under 2,000 men are also diagnosed with breast cancer every year versus the approximately 400,000 women who will be given the same news? And of those men, approximately 500 will die versus 20,000 women. Now while breast cancer in men is a rare disease that accounts for less than 1% of all cancers in men and less than 1% of all diagnosed breast cancers, still male deaths are nearly 25% versus 5% of women. So perhaps this might just serve as a wakeup call to us all, male and female alike, that the time is now for us all to do something about this disease.
So what, you ask, does this have to do with faith and my travels through this beautiful world God has gifted us all with? Well I lived with this disease up close and personal. Two women that I loved very much suffered and died from the consequences of this insidious disease. The first was the woman who was my very first teacher about God and His love for all of us. She gave me my life and set my feet on the path that I began my journey on 58 years ago and it is the very same path, albeit with a few twists and turns along the way, that I travel today! The second was the woman who was my husband’s very first teacher about God and His love for all of us. She gave my husband his life, growing him in her heart, if not her body, and set his feet on the path that he began his journey on 62 years ago. Two women as different as night and day but two women of strength, character and filled with the Holy Spirit! Two women worth emulating and admiring for passing along all of those life lessons that we need to navigate this maze that is our world. And it is because I choose to follow one of God’s greatest commandments, part of the Decalogue which are the biblical principles and standards which define the principle of faith for those of us who believe, that I share this with you. Number 5, as found in Exodus 20:12 (NLT), Honor your father and mother. Then you will live a long, full life in the land the LORD your God is giving you. And it is to honor these brave women that I share what I do today!
Those I have lost:
my mother Elaine
my mother-in-law Margaret
my friend Jane
Those who have fought and have won:
my friend Jennifer
Those who continue to fight today:
my friend Bernadette
my friend Dawn
The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
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