10 minutes before I was to give a speech on living with breast cancer this week, my text went off. It was my dear friend from far away. “My best friend just found out she has breast cancer.”
The irony was ridiculous.
This was the same day I’d been told that a teacher at school had been diagnosed 2 weeks ago with–yet again–breast cancer.
This first friend–the one who texted me moments to my speech–and I spoke later on when I’d done my inspirational talk on “if I can get through this, so can you,” and my pal asked incredulously,
“What IS it? That’s like the 5th friend of mine–all within our 40’s–diagnosed with this disease. What is going on?”
I shrugged my shoulders across the miles and asked myself the same question. But I’ve been asking it for years–ever since my out-of-the-blue diagnosis back at age 38 years old–and of course I have no answer still. I used to wonder why the world was after a cure for cancer and not wondering about the cause–until I got the disease and lived through the many years of learning how different we all are–how each of our systems is the same but very different–and how pinpointing the reasons why my body got breast cancer and yours didn’t would be beyond needle-in-haystack-land. Try needle in cornfield. Searching for a cure is certainly no easy job either, but it at least brings the needle back to the haystack.
Now I know we have better data gathering: I know we have made tremendous strides in finding the reasons why some people get cancers and some people don’t. But look no further than your local oncology waiting room to realize that this freaking disease is out there ruining people’s futures on a weekly, daily and hourly basis–and we are not all surviving. Some of us are dying–not me, but others. And it’s terrifying.
I was talking with my husband about it all and I repeated the opinion I’ve come to so far–the one that may change, mind you–just as the news about breakthroughs and discoveries in cancer cures change all the time–
but 8 years and counting battling this disease I’ve come to a place where I truly believe this one thing:
we humans can’t change the world so much and so fast–power lines and genetically engineered food, wifis and cell phones, lost rainforests and another housing development, more construction while older strip malls stand empty, without having the world change something back about us. Whether that’s increased disease, lack of healthy air, loss of potable water or what, I don’t know–
but we’d be ignorant if we didn’t realize that we as a race can’t just march on and on and on all over this earth and not expect something out there at some point and in some way–in some way I don’t understand but in some way nonetheless–
to march back on top of us.